Blue Zones is Family

Blue Zones Principle #8 — Loved Ones First, starts out: “Successful centenarians in the blue zones put their families first….”

28 DAYS WITH NO BACKUP, computer warned while I sat in airport on way home from extended trip to help family.

First 12 days were completely devoid of yoga or exercise or aerobics. I managed to add daily yoga and some exercise and aerobics back into schedule on day 13, but wonder if this blows my grand experiment, as none of the 4 weeks included a day of Intermittent Fasting and there were more than a few days with unhealthy fast-food meals.

Finally relieved to be home, even though I’m isolating upstairs and double-masked when coming down since spent hours on flights and in airports. No loosening of caution at this house where husband and I both qualify as high-risk due to age; although he says may be protected since having Hong Kong flu in 1968; I think best not to take chances.

I’m really loving outdoor time when free from suffocating masks! During snail-mail jog up trail with appreciative big dog, I reassure self that getting back to good healthy habits, even little at time is valuable.

I’d gone in early May to help youngest sister prepare house and find caregiver so her husband could come home from Acute Rehab; after 5 days we had all needed items in place. Next morning, phone rang early, hospital calling. Kind nurse told sister she was so sorry, but sudden cardiac arrest had taken her husband while he slept peacefully.

Sister devastated, as husband only age 55; then faced daily difficulty with shutdown limiting services in making arrangements; he had a large loving family and only 7 of his family would be allowed in chapel, even for viewing.

My flight was scheduled home 5 days later, so went to mortuary with sister and supported her each day in dealing with unexpected things. Then decided suddenly on night before flight home to cancel and extend trip; instead of going home would drive 2 hrs northeast to stay with parents.

Believe I felt like it might be last time to see them; they both towards late 80s and they not being careful enough, in my opinion, to avoid Covid-19 (still going to Home Depot, still grocery shopping, still having visitors with kids in house, still not feeling masks important).

On way there we got call and learned my mother went to hospital with seizure, possibly stroke, so it was fortunate that I had stayed and could help when four days later we brought her home. We set in place some safety measures, but, luckily, she was normal quickly.

The days went by while taking both parents to doctor’s appointments and waiting in various offices; those seem to be what life is comprised of both after hospitalization and simply when approaching age 90. One specialist calls another and each day we’d go out to more appointments.

Otherwise, I enjoyed morning yoga in front of world map on living room wall (see photo) and hearing occasional sounds of piano as mother played, reminding me of childhood, but now “to help memory,” she said had read.

Since leaving home almost 50 years ago and moving far away, I’ve only gone for short visits, never more than 4 nights. This longer time gave me a relaxing chance to sit and chat on outside patios with both parents and closer-living brothers; to find out more about what others’ lives had been like since I’d left so long ago and what daily lives were like now.

I appreciated that greatly and hope gained a better adult understanding of both parents and siblings. Even though at times I was critical of differing lifestyles, I hope they know it meant a great deal to me to be with them and help in the ways I could.

I admire that they are still very independent, but appreciate that brothers stop by often and am happy that a strong young grandson lives there who can help when needed.

I will trust that Blue Zones Principle #8 means Family Time definitely counts greater towards healthy longevity than missing some days of fitness and better eating. Am happy now to be completely back on track towards Healthy2aHundred.

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