Broken heart

When patrons hear that Jeff died of a heart attack just 7 weeks after his wife died, they often comment that “He died of a broken heart.”

No, he died because he didn’t take care of himself. He died because he spent his time taking care of everybody else and not himself.

He ate meat-laden breakfast sandwiches every morning. He got fast food for lunch. Sometimes he didn’t eat supper at all. He ate cookies and drank tea all day long. Everything had sugar or caffeine or both, and lots of it.

He knew his blood pressure was high, but he didn’t do anything about it. He had unusual pains and didn’t feel well, but didn’t go to the doctor.

I suspect he thought that if he took time off to go to the doctor, then he would be taking time away from us, his coworkers. He didn’t want to inconvenience us and make us even more short-handed.

You can’t make us more short-handed than being dead.

He had OCD. Constantly trying to fix things, to control things. The one thing he could control, his health, he didn’t.

Maybe if he had taken the time to take care of what he could take care of, he’d still be here.

He had a lot of stress, what with having two kids to deal with – children that weren’t even his legally. His wife had two children from a previous marriage, and they’d never gotten around to having him adopt them. They were worried about dealing with the kids’ deadbeat dad.

He drove an hour one way every day to go to work. His wife liked where they lived, but he couldn’t find work there. He put his needs aside. That was a long drive, and a lot of stress.

It was always about other people. He just liked to make people happy, he said. His dad was the same way, and he died young too.

What would make us happy would be for him to still be here, and well, and balanced, and happy.

Now is the time.

A coworker just died. His wife died about a month ago. He was young. They were both young.

He had been not taking care of himself for the past year, ever since she got sick. His blood pressure was high. He drank a lot of sodas and ate a lot of breakfast sandwiches. He ate fast food. He never took time to exercise.

He said that he used to take care of himself, but that he just didn’t have time now.

Now it is too late.

Pointless. Pointless. Pointless.

Such a waste of a life.

Jeff Russell was a good man. He was kind, caring, and funny. He could do any impression. He brought cookies and snacks for us all the time. He was good with the patrons. He was easygoing. He didn’t gossip or badmouth anybody.

And he suffered. He was quiet about his pain and his loss. He didn’t know how to handle life after his wife died.

He laid down because he wasn’t feeling well, and he didn’t wake up. His family thinks it was a heart attack.

His heart stopped. It was broken. His sadness filled him up and drowned him, and he died.

Now is the time. There is no other time to eat well, to exercise, to take care of yourself. There is no other time to rest, relax, and process your feelings. Now. Or never.

You have to build up your flame, or it will go out. You, and nobody else, can do this. You must do this.

Tomorrow doesn’t exist. Today is all you have. Use it well.