I tend not to live a life of regret. I always say everything happens for a reason (no really; I alwayssay it) because I truly believe that. Every thing that happens to us in life, every experience, is there to serve as a lesson. Unfortunately, sometimes there are situations that exist outside of us, outside our reach, and we have no control over them. Yet their impact on us is undeniable. And these things, sadly, are the ones I regret.
Fanless’ dad passed away on May 26, 2008. We were at his place hanging out, watching movies or something, when he got the phone call from his cousin in Washington. When he relayed the message to me, my heart immediately broke. It broke for my boy, for his loss and the void this loss would surely create. It broke for his mom, who would now have to deal with the pain of losing her high school sweetheart, her "other half" of almost 40 years. And selfishly, it broke for me, as the realization dawned on me that I would never have the opportunity to meet this man, this person that had such a huge part in making the boy I love the person he is today.
His dad was only 58 years old. His death was due to an acute myocardial infarction (or as the boy put it "Those are fancy words for a heart attack.")
A heart attack. At 58. Whaa–?? As it turns out, that’s not so uncommon. According to the American Heart Association’s 2008 statistics, one in three American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Nearly 2,400 Americans die of cardiovascular disease every DAY. Did you catch that? Not every year, not every month… EVERY DAY. That’s an average of one death every 37 seconds. The easiest way to fight heart disease is no big mystery: maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthier foods and exercise. That’s it. Trust me, I know – easier said than done! But I think it’s worth the effort to at least try.
A few weeks ago Tere approached me about forming a team for the American Heart Association’s Miami-Dade Start! Heart Walk. A team in honor of the boy’s father. Although I was very enthusiastic about it, I was nervous about asking him. I didn’t know if he would feel weird about it, about the focus it would put on him and his family. I broached the topic with him cautiously, not sure what his reaction might be. Luckily, he was okay with it. And so a walk team has begun to form.
Thanks to Tere, who took it upon herself to captain the team, emails have been sent and friends have agreed to take part in this event. So on October 11th, the boy and I, along with our friends, will join participants from all over South Florida at Tropical Park in Miami to walk in honor of their friends and family members, to promote and raise awareness of heart disease and its impact on everyones’ lives.
And I will be walking in honor of the most important man I will never meet. And that is one thing I regret greatly.