I've had a week to process the death of Ralphie May. It hit me like a freight train. Not because I was such a fan of his work (I was, and am, a fan), but because he was the same age as I am. And he died. Of cardiac arrest. I know he made a living making fat jokes and laughing at himself, but I wish that someone had been there to encourage him to live a healthier lifestyle, like I was lucky enough to have. He probably surrounded himself with enablers, those who would rather give him what he asks for rather than what he needs. Those who would tell him what he wanted to hear, rather than help him face a tough reality. From personal experience, it’s not a fun conversation to endure, but seeing a loved one end up in the hospital with oxygen tubes (if you’re lucky) or in a casket (if you’re not) is even less fun to endure.
In the weeks leading up to his death, he was suffering from pneumonia and at his last performance, he couldn't walk up the steps leading to the stage. When you have to exert that much energy to do so little activity, there will be difficult times on the road ahead. I know. I remember those trips to the mailbox that had me short of breath. Life is tough enough as it is, why must we make it harder on ourselves by not taking care of the one thing that will be with us through our entire lives: our bodies?
Contrary to what society tells us, we don't have to be skinny, but we should be healthy (BTW, skinny people can be unhealthy, too!). Please, all that I ask of you, my friends and family, is to take care of yourselves. Drink water, move throughout the day, do other things that help you stay in my life longer. It really hit home when I thought about where I could be if I hadn't been encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle. If Ralphie May's death can cause just one person to live healthier, than his sudden loss will not be in vain. His fans, friends and family will feel that loss, but I hope we will all learn from it, as well.
I've included a picture of me in 2011 and him in 2015 (I claim no rights to this image). It's scary that we really weren't that different.