26 April 2010

Saying good-bye

Tomorrow I will travel to Kentucky, see my family and say goodbye to my grandfather. I so wish I could have gotten there while he was still alive. I feel like my heart has been broken so many times these past few months, I have no heart left inside me. Maybe numbness is a good thing.

I am trying to eat more, because my sister said the other day the family doesn't want me to die and have to go to two funerals. Deep in my heart, I do care I am hurting them by having anorexia and that my mother feels she is watching her daughter die. It's just that the feeling is so deep, it can't really touch me.

But I realize I have to find strength within me. Strength to face family members who haven't seen me since I developed anorexia and now look like a shadow of my former, vibrant self. Strength to answer questions about why I can't eat. Strength to face the food that will be served and the expectations I cannot meet. I need to be there for my family and I need to say good-bye to my grandpa. I don't need to be a worry or a problem right now, and I'm afraid my presence will only make things worse.

Strength to stop thinking about all the things which have broken my heart this year — probable miscarriage and the death of my dream to have a child, losing a position because of my illness, the complete explosion of my eating disorder symptoms from rampant laxative abuse to carving so deep into my flesh I still feel uncomfortable wearing short-sleeve shirts to counting every single calorie which enters my mouth.

But the hardest thing will saying good-bye to my grandfather; I will never again be anybody's grandchild. Seeing him laid out in the coffin will frighten me, and Southern funerals are just different; it is a different world I will be traveling to tomorrow and anything outside the small zone created by anorexia frightens me.

Maybe that is the hardest thing, knowing my present and past will collide during the next few days and I'm not sure I am ready for it. I have tried to run from my Southern roots for decades for various reasons, and have failed and tomorrow I will be in two worlds, with my anorexia swirling all around me, gnawing at me, just waiting for a way to make things worse.

It is so easy to use grief as a reason not to eat; it is so easy to use anything as a reason not to eat.

And in the end, perhaps the hardest thing — saying good-bye to my anorexia. I want to hold onto the only constant in my life; my ability to restrict and lose weight. Part of me wants to stay anorexic forever, then I won't have to feel grief and pain. 

But I also won't feel joy and happiness, and I miss feeling those emotions. Being thin is a poor consolation, and flatness and apathy are poor substitutes.

My grandpa led a full life, one with joy and pain mixed in. He loved his children and grandchildren, never quite got over my beautiful Mamaw (although he had a long and happy marriage with my step-grandmother, Dean) and was interested in many things until he recently got sick.

I don't know what I'm trying to say. It's late and I'm tired and I'm grieving. I want to get better and live a full life, but I'm afraid. That's all I can manage to say right now.

2 comments:

Eating Alone said...

Loved the pics on the side, except the one with the snow. Too cold!

Your grandfather lives on through you and your family. That's the way that it works.

I hope you are not still abusing the laxatives or doing the carving. Just think someone loves you a lot, your mom and sister love you. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE!

sarahlynn said...

I'm sorry you've lost your granddad. When I think of losing my Papaw... it hurts too much. Sometimes I think I love him more than anyone else in my family.
It is important to let yourself grieve. It would be easy to spend the time there agonizing about how people see you, how things are different - but they are an escape from your true grief. Don't use it as an excuse to engage in the ED - use it as a motivation to keep going. Love for someone and their memories are sometimes powerful reminders that we want to LIVE - not half-live in the place EDs put us!
It sounds, though, as though this year has been v. hard for you. I sincerely hope that this is the last heartache the world sends your way for a good long time - but we never know. I just hope you start to feel some relief soon. *hug*