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Your health: It's more than you

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jenay Randolph
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
On an October night in 1997, I was calmly awakened by my cousin in the middle of the night with some news....

She had received a call saying that we needed to come to the hospital.  She didn't express to me why, but when we arrived, there lie my best friend... my mother.

She had tubes coming out of different parts of her body; hooked up to all types of machines that I had no clue about, and family gathered around the bed.

I stood there watching, unaware of the severity of the moment while others present attempted to fight their tears and be strong. 

We all held hands and said a prayer.

I went to lie in the bed with her, carefully. She gave me a kiss and said "mommy loves you, you know that right?" I responded "yes I know that and I love you too."

Little did I know, that would be the last time I saw my mother and those would be the last words I would ever hear from her.

So what was I to do now? The person I looked up to, took care of me and taught me all of life's important lessons up to this point... was gone.  It was a tough pill to swallow and it changed my life forever.

On January 30, 1998, at the mere age of eight years old, my mother passed away from lung cancer, today's first leading cause of death in American women.

At that age, the concept was hard to grasp and I didn't quite understand what was going on. All I remember is one day having my mother there and the next day she was gone.

It wasn't until I became a mother in 2012 that I completely understood the importance of a mother's health. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be if my mother had decided to practice a healthier lifestyle.

As a single mother, she always worked to provide for me and any spare time she had was spent with me. As a result, she did little exercising and rarely attended health check-ups. My mother had been a smoker for many years, as well. While she did achieve her goal of becoming a non-smoker, she wasn't able to celebrate for long.

Unlike my mother, I do everything possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle because it is not only important to myself, but to my children, family and friends. The decisions concerning her health not only affected her life, but the lives of the people around her. 

I am determined to be around for my children and share in all of the important events in their lives that my mother wasn't able to experience with me. She missed out on big awards, graduation, prom, and most importantly the birth of her two grandchildren.

Take it from me, staying healthy is important. There are people that depend on you to see them walk across the stage and receive their awards or diplomas; to help them get ready to attend their first prom; to attend their sporting events or even just to talk.

Try and make every effort to be around for your family because when they know that you're not there, it creates a void in their lives. So I challenge all of the women to be healthy not just for yourselves, but for the ones who love you.