Beauty of mom

Yes, I miss my mom.  Every. Single. Day.  Ironic considering how we bumped heads.  I also realize that in spite of her demons, she was and incredible woman.  She was not selfish.  My mom was giving.

If there was snow on the ground, she would shovel her driveway and that of her neighbors.  Not all her neighbors were elderly.  She did this to be kind.

My mom volunteered for the food pantry.  She would put donations together and would make deliveries.  She did not look down on people.  My mom brought joy and smiles to all that knew her.

My mom was immensely kind, especially to those less fortunate.  She did not do this for notoriety.  Mom knew what it was like to struggle with demons or in general.  She strived to do what she could to give others hope.

My mom was a quiet beauty.  She did not like pictures being taken.   Barely wore make up and definitely did not have the latest fashion.  Her beauty came from within.

Mama was an amazing cook.  Neighbors and co workers loved getting her home made breads and cookies.  The meals she made were outstanding.  One of her chocolate cakes she would make has been renamed Patty’s Chocolate Cake.

My mom is a hero. She may have had demons to big to conquer.  In spite of that, she made her life, her dash, mean something.  Now she is a beautiful soul who gained her wings.

–Sarah Cobblepexels-photo-187069.jpeg

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Different grief, different deaths

Grief changes and is different for everyone and every death.  When my dad died I was 32.  No one expected it.  We were lucky though.  He collapsed at the doctors office and rushed across the street to the hospital.  That night I knew in my heart he was dying.  First time he ever really complained of a headache.  He did not get migraines like my mom and me.  My dad had a huge glioblastoma.  A very aggressive cancer.  I remember the doctor described the cancer as being so fast growing that it’s like a flower blossoming overnight.  Personally I think that is an insult to the flower–a thing of beauty.

He had surgery and suffered some complications.  Literally, two weeks after he was admitted we were taking him off of the vent.  Nothing more could be done.  I saw no need to keep him alive for my own selfish reasons.  Losing my dad damn near killed me.  No one expected it.  This was pure hell.

My mom on the other hand, at some point we all knew her body would give out.  She had a lot of close calls.  It literally is amazing at how much the body can stand.  Because of her nutritional deficits, she nearly lost a toe and she literally had no body fat.  Mom did not even have the insulating brown fat anymore.  Her doctor cautioned her about being outside in the cold.  The weight got so low and the nutrition so poor that her body basically ate itself.  She developed stomach cancer.  Mom admitted to the doctor she had been having pain for about a year but had just ignored it.  By the time they did surgery, the cancer took over her stomach and the entire abdominal wall.  The surgeon said she had never seen anyone this small.  Ironically at the end, I had to convince her to turn the tube feed off.  It wasn’t doing her any good.  She was hesitant saying, “I don’t want anyone to think I am starving myself”.  How utterly ironic.

When my mom died it was like the other foot finally dropped.  I knew my whole life it would happen just didn’t know when.  I miss her.  I cry.  Her death was different.  Her death was more expected.  I was 41 When she gained her angel wings

Death and grief is different across the board.  I do my best to honor both of my parents in little ways.  Either way, I hope and pray I make them proud.

–Sarah Cobblepexels-photo-592667.jpeg

Missing Mom

I miss my mom immensely.  Oddly enough I almost feel closer to her now than in life.  Strange, I know.

My mom was so much more than her anorexia but, anorexia was a huge part of her.  The insidious disease that helped her cope with the chaos around her, stole so much at the same time.  It is different when you have an addiction related to food.  Alcoholics need to stay away from alcohol.  However, no matter how hard you try you can not run away from food.  Whether a person needs a healthy relationship with food so they can beat obesity (that is me), or they need to realize that food is not the enemy and helps to feed their life.

My mom and I battled a lot.  I wanted to scream at the world and wondered how the adults around me didn’t seem to get our family was in crisis.  My mom was terrified of being happy.  She would sabotage things so she wouldn’t be disappointed.  As a young child, my mom would be laughing with her sister, their mom would say if you laugh you are going to cry soon.  People do not realize how damaging these messages are.  My mom would frequently tell me how she was fat, stupid, and the list goes on.  I could not and would not feed into the delusions which infuriated her.

I know my mom loved me.  She always wanted to know I was safe.  She actually blamed herself for my weight issues.  I never did.  She wanted to be there when I was sick.  She would cheer me on in whatever way she could.  She tried.

Unfortunately, the demons my mom would have to face would have probably broken her anyway.  Not because she wasn’t strong.  Some monsters are too scary.  To break the hold of anorexia, she would have to deal with the horrific abuse she suffered and allow herself to be angry at those who were supposed to protect her.  That is a lot to ask and come back the other end not needing a straight jacket.

So, as much as I miss my mom every single day, I am grateful she can finally be at peace.  Kind of messed up I know.  She no longer has to battle anorexia and the self loathing.  She no longer has to suffer.

I tried throughout my life to save her.  I know it was not my job but I tried anyway.  I wanted so desperately for her to see how wonderful she was.  Perhaps that is why I became a nurse.  Oddly enough I know that is not my true calling in life.  Now I am 43 and need to chase my own dreams and goals.  I must break the cycle in our family that destroyed so many, at least for myself.

–Sarah Cobble20180312_215730

Giving

My mom was one of the most giving people I knew, except to herself.  She defied a lot of preconceptions regarding women.  She did not have the latest clothes, coats or shoes.  In fact I remember one time, she was stressing about getting another coat since her current one was starting to fall apart.  I asked her well how long have you had it (yes I know that was immaterial but knowing my mom this was important information).  One coat had been my grandmas which tell you how old that thing was.  Another she had bought and it lasted her ten years.  I was like buy the coat mom you need it and deserve it.  That is just how she was.  She always put herself last

I get my giving nature from my mom.  I am working on starting a completely new career and my fiancé is doing the same.  We help each other out immensely.  This week there are some things we need to do to further his and get to another step so some of mine is taking a back seat.  Not complaining and I am doing this because I want to.  This is just how we work.  We uplift each other.  We take care of each other.

I also like to pay attention in stores and compliment a stranger on a hat (was homemade crochet) or offer to help someone who might be in need.  Yes I know you have to be careful but I refuse to let the criminals win.  Momma would have been the same way.

I get my love for animals from my mom too.  She was a vegetarian.  That will never be me.  I love bacon too much.  But I love animals.  I had a dog that was like a child to me.  I look forward to getting another dog at some point.  I am not a fan of the creepy crawly bugs and you won’t catch me camping but I do understand they play an important part in our ecosystem.

We need more giving people like my mom.  We need more people to give not because of the notoriety, but because it is the right thing to do.  I especially love going on youtube and seeing videos of people across the country on Steve Harvey show that have made a difference.  This warms my heart so much.  All of us individuals can play a key role in making our world a better place.

–Sarah Cobble

Goodness of Mom

I don’t want you all to think things with my mom were all bad.  They weren’t and I know she did her best.  My mom truly was quietly beautiful.  She wasn’t one to have the latest fashions.  She only owned a few pairs of shoes.  My love of shoes came from my dad ironically.

My mom had a beautiful smile, laugh, and singing voice.  Her voice wasn’t loud and boisterous but her singing was beautiful all the same.  She had a gentleness about her.  When many people were judging others, my mom was trying to lift them up.  She would have clothing and other items in her car that she would give to the homeless.  When my mom still lived in her home town, she volunteered with the food pantry.  Many times she would deliver foods to people who many would turn their noses down at.  Not my mama.  I guess in her own struggles, she recognized how much loving we needed in the world.  Unfortunately she did not believe she deserved any of that love herself.  Abuse does that to a person.  As much as I tried, I was unable to help her.

My mom was one of the hardest working people I knew.  As tiny as she was , she could use a rotatiller and even spent an entire day digging a tree stump out of the ground by herself.  This was no small tree stump either.  It had to have been somewhere between one and two feet wide.  I was always in awe of her strength.

One of her many talents was cooking.  She could throw ingredients together without a recipe and the house would smell amazing.  The food would be amazing too.  Always seemed so ironic that for a woman who barely ate, she could cook with the best of them.  Now some of her friends remember a truly homemade chocolate cake she made.  They now have renamed it Patty’s chocolate cake.  That makes me so proud.

My mom was also talented in crafts and had the best green thumb around.  All I can grow is weeds.  She planted daisies just for me.  I always loved the simplistic beauty of daisies.  Before her eyes got too bad, she would do counted cross stitch.  Later on she took up crocheting and made all sorts of scarves and blankets.  They were all beautiful, like her.

I miss her every day.  We butted heads a lot.  I would not listen to her putting herself down and just agree with her.  I couldn’t.  That aggravated her a lot.  Before my mom passed she wanted to find a way to let the world know how horrible anorexia is.  I have racked my brain.  I have no idea how to help anyone.  If I could not get my mom to see how this disease was killing her, how could I get a stranger to see.  Many families like mine are in denial or don’t want to rock the boat.  Neither approach worked.  Also, I wanted her story to be more than about her eating disorder.  To me she survived.  I am sure I shocked you by saying that but think about it.  My mom suffered horrific abuse and developed anorexia in elementary school.  She could have easily been strung out on all sorts of drugs, homeless, or even in prison.  My mom did her best and succeeded in being a contributing member of society.  People loved my mom.  People respected my mom.  In spite of the demons that took her away from us, she succeeded in being better than her circumstances could have created her to be.  Now she is at peace.  Somehow, I hope in writing a memoir or something I can honor her wish of telling the truth.  Eating disorders kill.  More than anything, I also want everyone to know, she was so much more than her anorexia.  She truly is a beautiful soul.

–Sarah Cobble

Beautiful Tragedy

Talked to my cousin today.  Love her dearly.  She is actually older than my mom.  Before we lost my mom to the complications of anorexia (I never thought stomach cancer could be one of them), we lost my beloved aunt a few months prior.  No one knew what my aunt was struggling with and by the time she saw a doctor it was too late.  We all sort of expected at some point my mom would pass.  Either electrolytes being off or her body saying enough is enough.  No one expected my aunt to pass only a few months prior.

Before my mom passed, she asked me to keep the family together.  There are other members but long time ago in the past things happened and some turned their backs on each other.  So, when my mom was sick their weren’t many people left in our little family to stick together.  Unfortunately, this did not happen.  Some were so angry that communication was cut off.  Many just did not know how to handle the immense losses.  Some felt left out in the cold with no one to lean on.

My mom was a quietly beautiful woman who did a lot for so many people.  She would get up early and get her driveway shoveled along with many of her neighbors.  She would help elderly with chores and other odds and ends.  My mom did not do this for money.  She did not do this for notoriety.  Momma knew in her own way how it felt to be nothing, so she did what she could to lift people up.

Many people develop and eating disorder because of all the images we are subjected to as the standard for beauty.  The sad things even these tiny models get airbrushed.  We don’t teach young people they are beautiful in their own way.  This was not the reason my mom became anorexic

Growing up, my momma was horrifically abused.  The little bit I do know is shocking.  The fact she grew up and “normal” as she was is a miracle in itself.  She was physically and mentally abused at home.  She was also sexually abused by a family uncle.  The abuse was so obvious a billboard could have been announced it and it still would have been ignored for ten years.  My mom, not her sister, was the one that had her own room at his house.  If both my mom and my aunt were the uncles, they were fed different meals.  It was clear my mom was the favored one.  At some point, ten years later, my great-aunt told my grandma you know it isn’t right for her to be going over to Tony.  Just like that it stopped.  Nothing was dealt with or said.  Nothing.

Fast forward decades later, my mom had moved out-of-town.  I went to stay with her after she had bladder prolapse surgery.  Her bladder literally was out of her body.  The morning of the surgery my mom was so afraid that she had gained weight that she was rolling around and I could hear the liquid from the prep swishing around her.  I had to reassure her.  Not an easy task.  Even the doctor who talked to me after the surgery mentioned how thin she was. I told him she has been battling anorexia her whole life.  Thankfully he was understanding.  The hard part was she had to go home with a foley stitched in to drain her urine.  When we were at her house one morning she wanted to rip it out so bad.  I remember her standing here, the tube hanging down, almost in hysterics wanting to rip the foley out.  Thankfully I convinced her not too.  It was then, just by her reaction, I knew she was sexually abused.  I did not ask her.  That would have been too much.  Tho my suspicions were confirmed by another family member.

If you think about it, there is not wonder my mom turned to something to have some control in her life.  Unfortunately it was not something that was a healthy outlet.  anorexia destroyed her.  She was put on diet pills in elementary school.  My mom even admitted to me that her anorexia started in elementary school.

Despite all of this, she managed to make friend, make a difference in the lives of others, and raise a daughter who knew she was loved.  Sure, she and I had plenty of differences.  The one thing I did do was when she got sick, her decisions were to be honored.  Did I like all of them, no.  I wanted her closer to family and not two hours away.  Two hours may not seem like a lot but it is when you are upset and sad.  However, I decided so much was taken from her in life.  It was the least I could give her at the end of her life.  Not everyone liked what I did.  That did not matter.  I needed to honor my mom this way.

–Sarah Cobble20180312_215730

Part of the journey

 

 

cropped-20180224_105153Too many, the picture you will see of my mom doesn’t look too bad.  She was tiny but it seemed more manageable then.  We were all fools.  My mom has anorexia since elementary school.  Some periods of her life it was easier to manage but, I don’t think she ever truly was in recovery.  This really could be seen after she moved two hours away from home.  After a while, things got much worse.  She was able to hide things from family because we weren’t able to see her as much.  She wouldn’t tell us about her multiple accidents.  She would insist on us not visiting so we would not see the bruises from her falls.

I often felt sorry for her dog.  He was very protective of her and seemed to be at odds with himself.  He wanted to love and protect her from anything.  The problem was she needed protecting from herself the most.  How do you protect the one you love when the one you love is hurting themselves?  This caused her dog to have additional healthy issues.

My mom and I often did not see eye to eye.  I would not just agree when she would put herself down.  I knew how smart, kind, loving, and beautiful she was.  Hers was a quiet beauty.  She was never one to stand out in a crowd.  That was not something she was comfortable with.  She liked to keep things simple and enjoyed the beauty in that.

Later on, once mom was diagnosed with stomach cancer, she got incredibly small.  Her body basically ate itself into cancer.  By the time she sought medical help, the cancer had spread everywhere.  She was so tiny.  At the end I could not help but cry.  I never saw anyone that small.  She could no longer lift even a small cup.  Everything on her was tiny.  The medical staff went out of their way to make mom as comfortable as possible.  She refused to take any pain meds until the end when I begged her too.  In my mom’s eyes she deserved the pain.  I pray she found the peace she needed in the afterlife that she never could find in this life.

Now I am dealing with my own food issues.  Before my mom got sick I was getting to a healthier weight.  Then my emotional eating took over.  I was always so afraid of my mom’s eating disorder that i developed the opposite relationship with food.  My weight steadily went up.  Unfortunately, my mom blamed herself.  I didn’t.  Like I told my mom, she did not force me to eat the way I did.  I was an adult and had to take responsibility for my own choices and actions.  Now I am slowly creating a healthier relationship with food.

–Sarah Cobble

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