Excuse me if I get a little personal this month. Writing the feature on boomers (I am one) reminded me of my dad (a mature) who I lost last July. This will be my first Father’s Day without him.

It’s also coming up on a year since I started editing this magazine, and I can’t help wishing I’d known what I’ve learned this year back when his health began to fail. My dad was just shy of his 82nd birthday when he passed. An athlete who had always held an active job, he was in great shape until he stopped working after major bypass surgery made him eligible for early retirement. He beat his family’s curse and never had a heart attack, but it was a mixed blessing.

As it is for many of us, work and the socialization it entailed was a fundamental pleasure and purpose in my dad’s life. His decline began the day he stopped and while he always bragged about his fabulous union health insurance plan, it enabled the prescriptions that grew and grew and grew on the kitchen table.

My parents were the type who listened to everything the doctor said. They questioned nothing when it was clear no one should be taking the volumes of medication he was. As his daughter, I only started paying attention when it was way too late. I tried fruitlessly to get him to a naturopath or chiropractor to sort through his medications. It was not his way.

James Petersen’s death wound up coming from a cause that had nothing to do with afflictions that crept up on him over the years — diabetes, a stroke, depression. In a strange twist of fate, he developed a case of pre-leukemia requiring blood platelet transfusions twice a week and removing any quality of life he’d had left. We were all ready for him to go.

As my father’s daughter, and like many of my boomer peers, I have always recoiled from medication with no desire to start on a downward spiral or dependence on pharmaceuticals. Besides, it would interfere with one of my bucket list items – to work in the Peace Corps! Still, knowing it and doing it are two different things. I’m grateful for the access I have to a whole new world of expertise. Thank you for indulging me.

Laurie Petersen

Photo by Gi Pamperien
Photo by Gi Pamperien