I've reduced my diet cola consumption over the past year or so, on the advice of my dentist. Some family members were in disbelief when they heard this news
Then I heard about this study, which found a link between diet soda and stroke or heart attack. I am skeptical about correlation vs. causation, but I think this may be a piece of the puzzle. So now I'm still working on cutting back my diet soda consumption (in earnest). I've found that some lemonade and unsweetened iced tea is an okay substitute. I will continue to consume some diet soda, just in moderation and not as much as before.
As some former smoker family members of mine pointed out, sometimes I think I may be more addicted to the chemicals in the diet soda (in their case, chemicals in the cigarettes) than the caffeine.
This week we also heard the news that a good friend of my in laws passed away from a massive heart attack. Their death was sudden. This person had many health risk factors, which included not getting routine medical care. They may or may not have had diabetes, etc. They were in their sixties, which from my thirties is looking younger and younger.
Such things are baffling and difficult to understand.
At this person's very large funeral, my husband said so many friends were angry. They had tried to tell the friend to go to the doctor, to get help. They had offered to drive the person to the doctor. I find it is very hard not to think of some of the stubborn refusal as selfish.
It is so difficult to make sense of what happened, of why. How this person's spouse of forty years will be able to continue on. But, the person lived the way they wanted to. How does that song by the Who go " I hope I die before I get old".
In the end, death is coming for everyone. I've been attempting to explain this to my kids, and it's difficult. Everything ends. I don't have any answers. I can't even give much in the way of reassurance. There is so much we don't know, and don't understand.
I am also struck, however, that in the end it doesn't matter if we go to the dentist faithfully, or get our medical checkups. Or avoid diet cola.
It behooves everyone to remain in good health for a host of reasons, including remaining active. But in the end, we can't cheat or fool death. It's about finding a balance, being able to enjoy life and our time here. And to give back to those around us, to be aware and mindful of people who care about us.