The Best Week of His Life

The Best Week of His Life

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Disclosure: This is authored by Influence Central with assistance from Bayer® Aspirin.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. As a teen, I looked forward to becoming an adult. In my early twenties, all I wanted to do was start a family and be established. I never imagined that at 44, I’d still feel like a 20-something in my head. I totally thought becoming a “grown up” would come with a distinct sense that I had arrived, newfound maturity and wisdom of experience cloaking me like a sensible blanket.

Based on when I was born, I lived half my life before cell phones, social media, and the immediacy of the Internet. When I joined Facebook in 2007, catching up with high school friends felt like such a rush that I couldn’t “friend” people fast enough.

Those early days were quite a trip! I loved learning where all my old chums had netted out – whether they were also now married with children, and what kinds of jobs they held. And the funny thing is, I still viewed us all as “kids”, because in all my memories of us, we were young.

That is until last month, when one of us died.

My friend Geoff was a jovial guy in high school, friendly to everyone, so it came as no surprise that he grew up to be a man of substance, loved by all who knew him. After he was done with school, Geoff got married, took over the family business, and he and his wife had a set of twin boys, now 14.

I loved catching Geoff’s Facebook posts. An avid athlete, Geoff’s passion for baseball held fast his whole life, with him playing well into adulthood, and coaching his sons’ teams. Never without a smile, it was clear to me that Geoff was an amazing dad, devoting much of his free time to his two boys.

Geoff looked so healthy and full of life, that when a mutual friend texted and asked if I had heard of Geoff’s passing, I told her she must be mistaken – I had just seen his vacation photos, and his comment that it was “the best week of his life”. No, my friend said, there was no mistake: Geoff died the day after he returned from vacation, suffering a massive heart attack. Four days before his 44th birthday.

I know tragedy like this can strike without warning, so I shouldn’t have been shocked. But the news hit me like a ton of bricks. All of a sudden, I felt old. People my age can die.

Sudden heart attacks happen to people even younger than Geoff. It can happen to your brother, your mom, the lady sitting beside you at your kid’s ballet. A heart attack occurs every 42 seconds in the U.S. and can catch even the best of us off guard, just like it did with my friend Geoff.

Not everyone knows that taking aspirin during a suspected heart attack can lower the chance of dying and help save a life, but it’s true. I feel a little more prepared, a little less lost, and a little more in control, by carrying aspirin just in case. The thought of my family living through the grief, the loss, and the devastation feels too much to bear. I can be my own hero, or I can act as a hero to someone around me, thanks simply to the little bottle of aspirin I keep in my purse.

You, too, can be a hero. You, too, can feel a little more in control. No matter how old you are, no matter how old you feel. A heart attack can strike with no warning. Let’s make saving lives something common.

Join me in helping to save lives by carrying Bayer Aspirin.

To learn more, visit the Hero Smith website for more information.

In the event of a suspected heart attack, immediately call 9-1-1 and chew or crush and swallow aspirin as directed by a doctor.

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Natalie Rea
Natalie Rea
Mom to two amazing daughters - a feisty teen in middle school, and an ambitious young adult in university. Originally from Montréal's West Island, I now explore the beautiful trails of Hamilton, Ontario. Proud Canadian, vegetarian, dog-adopter, & bleeding-heart liberal. I smile a lot because I have Resting Bitch Face.
Author: Natalie Rea