People craft– taking care of yourself

I learned that my next door neighbor and friend, R., died a few days ago in Japan. Her husband, N., was receiving his third bone marrow transplant there.  She’s been THE CAREGIVER, taking care of her husband, also a great guy, her first grade daughter and seventeen-year-old son who go to school here in Irvine, CA.  R. had high blood pressure but was under great stress, and she died of a stroke at 48 years old. Medical researchers aren’t sure exactly how stress increases the risk of heart disease. Stress makes high blood pressure worse.  If you are under stress, your blood pressure goes up.  R. didn’t feel she had time to exercise and didn’t think much about what she ate.  Chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.  

What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?

When you are exposed to long periods of stress, your body gives warning signs that something is wrong. These physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral signs of stress should not be ignored. They tell you that you need to slow down. If you continue to be stressed and you don’t give your body a break, you are likely to develop health problems. You could also worsen an existing illness.

I am missing my dear friend and wish I had talked with her more about feeling stressful over her husband’s long illness.


10 thoughts on “People craft– taking care of yourself

  1. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    Kathleen, I’m saddened over Reiko passing away. For the last few months she seemed withdrawn. I couldn’t engage her in conversations. Of course she was rushed over all the problems– taking Mia out of school when she took trips to Japan and having to leave her son Shinta here because he couldn’t miss his junior year.

  2. Kathleen Rowland

    Mary Alice, I still can’t believe Reiko died. When Melissa came to my door yesterday and said something about Reiko, I misheard her. I thought she’d said her husband Norio had died. Her last email sent from Japan was on December 21st. She said a Christmas tree was all lighted up in a park. At their home here, the family always had a Christmas tree and strung blue lights outside. Little Mia absolutely loved Christmas decorations which didn’t bother the parents. The family practiced Shinto and Buddhismwhich are Japan’s two major religions. Shinto is as old as the Japanese culture, while Buddhism was imported from the mainland in the 6th century. Since then, the two religions have been co-existing relatively harmoniously and have even complemented each other to a certain degree.

  3. Janessa Breckenridge

    Reiko’s death will have a terrible impact on her husband and the kids. I know they are active in their temple here. Their religion will give them strength. Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like the sutras or the bible. Propaganda and preaching are not common either, because Shinto is deeply rooted in the Japanese people and traditions.

    “Shinto gods” are called kami. They are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility. Humans become kami after they die and are revered by their families as ancestral kami. The kami of extraordinary people are even enshrined at some shrines. The Sun Goddess Amaterasu is considered Shinto’s most important kami

  4. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    Hi Janessa. I know Shinto is not a monotheist religions, and there are no absolutes. There is no absolute right and wrong, and nobody is perfect. Shinto is an optimistic faith, as humans are thought to be fundamentally good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits. Consequently, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings. Like you, Janessa, I am very concerned for the kids and Norio. Reiko was their foundation.

  5. Reba Studebaker

    Hello all. I just learned about Reiko today from Gail. Her conversation was confusing, and I wasn’t getting it for a while. She talks in circles and doesn’t get to the point. The point was that Reiko had died, and yet she was talking about her son’s tennis and the concern that he “needs to get back for winter formal” because he has a date. Okay, I won’t say it.

  6. Reba Studebaker

    Janessa, thank you. Gail’s concern was for her friend’s daughter who was dating Shinta and had bought her dress for the winter formal. Gail also voiced that her friend was Christian and concerned with her daughter dating a non-Christian. I spent zero time talking to her. It’s frustrating with her lack of genuine feeling for Reiko and her family.

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