HB and I are in Hawaii. It seems as if February is the one time each year that it’s just us – no dogs, no responsibilities, no dishes, etc. It’s an enigma wrapped in a conundrum of three weeks of no’s wrapped in the glorious yes of doing nothing.
Our mornings are spent with two cups of Kona coffee and conversation, conversations that lead back to what the next 5 to 10 will years look like. He’s beginning to experience some of the subtle changes that begin at 60. The most interesting change for me the last year has been my decreasing interest in eating any kind of meat. Even with the great fortune of our neighbor raising a cow and pig for us, the purest meat in the world, I have lost the taste for it. I can’t call myself a vegetarian because I occasionally dip my fork into someone’s tasty looking meat dish but a taste is all I need.
I discovered a book “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger a couple of months ago and it pretty much changed my perspective on meat. His website nutrition facts.org is fascinating as he breaks down the nutritional components in plants through science to reap their healing effects. He posts daily videos that have become part of our morning routine. For example, broccoli is one of the strongest cancer fighting vegetables – but – you have to chop it up and let it sit for about 40 minutes before cooking it so that its enzymes can be activated to their full potential. OR, and this is really amazing, you can cook it (not over cook it) with a ¾ teaspoon of dry mustard which releases the enzymes and you will have a nutritional powerhouse fighting cancer cells. He claims that science studies of various kinds have dipped their activated broccoli enzymes into Petri dishes with active cancer cells from humans and watched them deactivate those demons.
I am interested in feeling better. My Milroys disease, which is just a genetic defect that makes me swell and need diuretics, has become more pronounced with age. My gum disease, which has claimed 3 teeth in the last 10 years and thousands of dollars, seemed to have been something I needed to accept as part of aging. My arthritic knee and my glorious arthritic middle finger, I was told, was part of aging – things break down and wear out like our cars and appliances. However, I have found that within the last couple of months that by eating primarily vegetables everything is working better.
The biggest “suck” of getting older for me has been the thought of giving up meat, alcohol (which was many years ago), milk products( I became allergic for some godforsaken reason) and, too much sugar. I was getting pretty pissy about the list of “I can’t have’s” but recently it all seems to be worth it. I feel pretty damn good, so in regard to what my next 5-10 years will look like, I am on a dietary quest to cook vegetables and make vegetarian recipes that even children will eat and HB will want. He’s quite adamant that I not try to convert him or proselytize. What he hasn’t figured out in 20 years is that he slowly comes around to my thinking.
How do I go from vegetarianism to suicide. Not easily, but it happened here this year. About a week ago as the Trade Winds were howling their 25-35 mph gusts through our house, we were awakened by the sound of helicopters. Having lived in LA many years ago, I was accustomed to the police flying through neighborhoods shining the the plane light into alleys and yards looking for criminals; thus, I thought Hawiian police were searching for someone. Indeed they were but it wasn’t a criminal. The strength of the winds ended their late night search but the morning brought their return and stronger winds. We were told at the General Store down the road that a scuba diver had gone out for a cave dive and didn’t come back. I used to scuba dive and I did night dives so my initial reaction was disbelief. Nobody in their right mind goes for a dive off a reef at dusk in pounding surf and gale force winds. The helicopters returned for a couple of days. We saw Coast Guard planes flying low but still no word of a body. We were on the beach yesterday and I started talking to a wonderful young man with his year old daughter. Captivated by his demeanor with her, I struck up a parent conversation. He was a native islander, lived near us on Puako Bay so I asked him if he had heard the choppers and if he knew what had happened. He said that an older woman – – my age — had gone out for a snorkel and didn’t come back. And I thought no accident. As it turns out it was a woman scuba diver wearing a weight belt, no buoyancy vest and diving alone – certainly no accident.
We learned today, now 5 days later, that the day before her dive, she had been told she had terminal cancer. She mixed up the gases in her tank so she would be euphoric when she released the tank. Now, she lies somewhere off the Puako reef weighted at the bottom by her belt. It may have been a wonderful way to go but the aftermath’s turmoil of planes flying and boats searching and a family trying to understand is too hurtful for those left behind. I understand that families don’t heal from suicides – time is useless. I do wish her soul well. I always hope that a person can eventually find their way through depression or bad news without taking their lives but I also understand that there are extenuating circumstances and reasons for one taking his or her life.
It still haunts me however and I didn’t even know her.