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.