Glimpse Into Anorexia

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss (or lack of appropriate weight gain in growing children); difficulties maintaining a healthy body weight for height, age, and stature; and in many individuals distorted body image”

The definition does not come adequately close to showing the pure hell the disease can wreak on an individual or their family.

20180312_215730People develop anorexia for a variety of reasons.  One of the disturbing aspects across the board is the distorted body image. I witnessed this in my mom

At the end, anorexia won in my mom’s case. She developed terminal stomach cancer. Nothing could be done. She battled this hateful disease that can affect anyone almost her entire life. When she was a young child, my grandma had my mom put on diet pills. Between the effects from that experience and horrific abuse during childhood, anorexia was a demon she could not shake.

The National Eating Disorders Association have listed some of the signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Some of the signs are a preoccupation with counting calories, excessive exercise, and layering clothing just to name a few. My mom definitely had the counting calories part down. I vividly remember her telling me how many calories and fat grams were in oatmeal. My mom was famous for her walking and working like a horse. She worked harder on manual labor around the house than anyone I knew. I think she could have a degree in layering clothing and still look presentable.

I hope a day come where body image distortion is no longer a thing. I also hope people of both sexes and different backgrounds can happily accept themselves as they are.

–Sarah Cobble

 

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Update

Sorry it has been a while.  Mother’s day was difficult to get thru. I know there will be days like that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make it any easier.

I made some calls last week.  My mom wanted her ashes to be spread around some flowers.  It turns out there are some legalities to that.  I thought at one point of putting her ashes around my younger sister who died in childbirth.  Unfortunately, that requires them opening up my sister’s grave to put the ashes there.  I can not scatter them.  It also costs over one grand.  I know my mom would be furious at the thought of my sister’s resting place being disturbed.

There is a park here in town I used to love to walk at.  Has beautiful landscaping and flowers.  I called them and even though technically it’s not supposed to happen, they allow it as long as we aren’t disturbing other park attendees.  Now I just need to coordinate with a few people who wanted to be there and watch the weather as best as I can.

I still needed something to feel close to my mom.  So I found a necklace that I can put a few of her ashes in.  Yes, I know I can go to the park but, it’s not the same as seeing her name on a stone.  I went to this website and found the perfect one.  Unless, I told someone, no one would guess what I would be wearing.  I have collected angels in the past.  An angel pendant is very fitting.  After all, mom is and always was, an angel.

–Sarah Cobble

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Pendant to keep my mom close to my heart

Phone Call to Heaven

Today I got the call my wedding dress is in.  Since I am a big girl it had to be made.  As excited as I am the dress is in.  I am thinking of my mom

I wish I could call my mom and excitedly tell her my dress is in.  I can just imagine her excitement.  Unfortunately I can’t.  My mom isn’t here anymore for me to call her just to hear her voice.

I know she would be happy.  This is one of many moments I will not be able to share directly with her.  At least I know I have an angel in heaven watching over me.

–Sarah Cobbleangel-fig-face-christmas-39014.jpeg

Mom’s Ashes

My mom did not die in her home town.  A few years before she got sick my mom moved to a small town a little over two hours away.  Luckily, she wanted to be cremated.  I thought that was fitting considering how much of a prison her body had been for her.  My mom had asked that I scatter her ashes around some plants, flower, or in a park during a nice spring day.

The problem was getting her ashes.  I refused to make the drive knowing I would be a blubbering mess knowing her remains were in the care with me.  That does not bode well for a long distance drive.  At the time, my fiancé was not able to get off of work.  No one was able to help me.

I had the option of having her ashes mailed to me.  This was a perfect solution for me.  Except that it wasn’t.  I really felt alone after my mom died.  Not even six months prior to that we lost my aunt rather unexpectedly.  The loss of them both tore my family apart.  Certain people seemed to check on others.  I was left in the dark and alone.  My fiancé was wonderful.  I just didn’t understand why my family abandoned me.  Yes, I am an adult.  We all are.  Apparently I just didn’t matter.

It took me a long time to give the written permission for my mom’s ashes to be mailed to me.  I was terrified they would arrive on a day when I had to work that night.  At the time, I worked nights as a nurse.  I just couldn’t deal with that.  So, I waited.  Eventually, I resigned the position knowing I needed a change and not knowing what that change was yet.  I have no regrets there.  Still I did not send for her ashes.

One of my mom’s friends checked with the funeral home about it and the truth was out.  They still had her ashes.  I explained to her I know my mom deserved better but I was having a hard time dealing.  I felt like I had lost almost all of my family and her at the same time.  I finally sent for the ashes.

One day, our doorbell rang.  My fiancé always answers the door.  He is kind of protective.  When I saw the box, I immediately knew what it was.  I backed away and had a small inner panic attack.  I told him what they were and I couldn’t deal with it yet.  I just couldn’t.  For the time being, I placed them in what is my office/art studio.

One day I finally got up the courage to open the box.  Something just told me it was time.  I was afraid of what the inside was going to look like.  I remembered how my dad’s looked and knowing how tiny my mom was…. well it scared me.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  She was in a black box with her name on a gold plate.  She would have hated the gold plate part.  As silly as it sounds, I hugged the box and told mom how much I miss her.

One day, if spring ever does come, I will spread her ashes as she asked me.  Yes I am a couple of years late but heck I was overdue when I was born.  Either way I will still honor my mom.

–Sarah Cobblepexels-photo-208315.jpeg

Wedding Without Mom

This is my second time getting married.  I will be a bride again later this year.  The first marriage ended badly.  Truth be told it was a mistake.  There were no children.

The best part leading up to the first wedding was planning it with my mom.  This is kind of odd considering my mom is not a shopper or the girly type.  She did not have a huge collection of shoes and probably only had one purse.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  My mom enjoyed the experience of planning a simple wedding.  She was there when I went dress shopping.  My mom helped me get and plan a lot.  By wedding standards, it was not elaborate or expensive.  I am not the type.  The bonding and the time we had together was priceless.

I wish with all my heart I had her with me while I plan my second wedding.  This time, I am getting married to the man of my dreams.  He truly is everything I have ever wanted and more.  We have so much fun enjoying the simple things in life together.

This time when I looked at dresses, I was alone.  Everyone that was supposed to come were unable to make it.  They all had valid reasons.  Unfortunately it let me to missing my mom that much more.  She would be happy there isn’t going to be a bridal shower.  Truthfully, I do not need one.   She just did not like all of that attention and getting dressed up much.

I wish I could share with my mom how truly happy I am this time.  I know she would love my fiancé.  I didn’t realize how much harder it would be without her.  I tried to talk myself into being tough.  At times I can fake it.  Other times, I just really miss her.

–Sarah Cobble20180312_220256

Subtle Violation

It’s amazing how hindsight can be 20/20.  With all of the things that I have learned about my mama before and after her death, I understand why she did some of the things she did.

One of the things that always bothered me was how she could stick up for people who had done me wrong.  This bothered me more than words can say.  I felt like as her daughter she should be sticking up for me when I was wronged.

Trigger warning.  The following could be upsetting to some.  I needed to get this truth out. please be warned.

One such incident was when she was asking why I wasn’t visiting a certain family member anymore.  Let me be clear on one thing, none of the inappropriate behavior occurred while I was a child.  I was a fully grown woman.

At first I thought it was just my imagination.  That is how subtle this was.  However, I learned to trust my instincts and realized I was right.  I never spoke up about the sly touching around the bust area.  It was never around others and so subtle normally I thought it was my imagination.  After all, even when I was thin, I was very blessed in that area.  Then one time when his wife was dying, he hugged me and literally palmed the side of my left breast.  I knew then it was intentional and it felt so dirty.  We weren’t family by blood but, we were still family.

I never said anything while my aunt was alive.  They were both so beloved I did not think anyone would believe me.  Also, I did not want to do anything to hurt my beloved aunt.  I do not think she knew what had been going on.  I could not bear to see her hurt.  Later when I was talking to one of my cousins, I found out I was not the only one.  Multiple family members in fact had an encounter with him.  I was floored.  My one cousin told me, “why do you think I only give him side hugs”.

So, when my mom asked me while she was still living in town I told her the truth.  I asked her not to say anything and that I would tell her the real reason I was avoiding him.  To my dismay, my mom defended him.  She reminded me that I had married an older man (a big mistake that choice was) and that my uncle probably thought it was okay.  Besides, he had come from country folk in the hills and probably thought the behavior was okay.  I was floored.  I told my mom it made me uncomfortable and I would not be visiting anytime soon.

Years later, when I discovered my mom had been sexually abused by a close family member for years, I realized why she had the reaction she did.  It wasn’t that she did not care about me or my feelings.  No one had really protected my mama.  I obviously wasn’t there but, maybe excuses were made to her.  Maybe my mama was relieved and making excuses because I wasn’t raped and I was an adult.  Mama did not like confrontations.  Honestly, I don’t know what the reasoning was.  I do know whatever it was, she was not blaming me.  I do remember her hugging me tight and telling me she loved me.

It’s amazing what you can learn and how dysfunctional family practices can affect future generations.  I am not mad at my mom in any way.  I still will not go see my uncle.  Truth is since my mom passed he does not want anything to do with me.  His loss as far as I am concerned.

Thank you for listening to this exert.  Please don’t be angry with my mom.  I know how much she loved me and was proud of me.  I am grateful I have the clarity now to understand.

–Sarah Cobblealone-beautiful-boardwalk-247314