I did it…I survived home! And now I’m back, and hoping for a shift in paradigm
So, I’m happy to say that I survived Christmas at home! It was a good holiday – I saw my family and friends who I really missed quite a bit. The weather was ok – it could have been warmer though, but it was plenty sunny, so no complaints there!
Now, those of you who’ve read the previous post will know that I was worried about seeing my mother. Thankfully she wasn’t there for the first bit of my trip – I got to be in my space all to myself without the stressful feeling I get when she’s around. When she did finally return home she was the same as I remember her from a year earlier – a very tiny woman wearing clothing that is too large for her (she insists on wearing medium-sized clothing even though it doesn‘t fit her – it only just slightly does. This is because she has to wear 4 layers of clothing underneath in order to feel warm). Hugging was nice, but also heartbreaking. Through 5 layers of clothing I can still very easily make out her ribs and spine. I try not to show my worry and concern about her (I’ve developed quite the ‘poker face‘) – but that was lost when she pulled out a new purchase she had bought herself: a new electronic food scale.
So you might be thinking “Why is a scale important or even relevant?” Well, it would be because this scale can measure with startling accuracy to the two decimal places. Before she had to rely on a red arrow pointing her towards the amount of salad or fruit she would eat on the old ‘analogue’ scale. Now she can measure 15.00 grams of sardines for her salad with eerie precision. And I don’t kid you about that – the very first time she used it (the following day at lunch) she weighed a sardine (a single sardine) and then cut away all but 15.00 grams of it. The remainder went into a container for later. The 15.00g sardine was then put on a bed of iceburg lettuce, sprinkled with 2.5 grams of sliced almonds and a random smattering of dried cranberries. This was then drizzled with a zero-calorie vinaigrette.
The visit with her went ok. I spent about 4 days around her and then thankfully was able to return to England. They were stressful days for me because everything for her revolves around food and I just couldn’t understand why she hasn’t gotten over it yet.
I think I’m angry about her illness because she is such a smart woman – I credit her for teaching me my work ethic and for making sure I was always looked after. She was able to raise her children and keep a good home. She was able to be a daughter and sister at the same time. Now she’s just consumed with food. It’s all she thinks about. It’s all she talks about. I’m also angry at myself for not being able to bring it up with her. I know that if I do – no matter how tactful I do it – she’ll explode. So I stop myself to keep the peace.
Since returning to England I’ve spoken with her on the phone. Our relationship is the best there. Sometimes she starts talking about food, but then I can always make up a reason to go. I dunno… I should point out that I do love her to death. I miss having the old mom who was happy, go lucky and used to eat normally. I miss having a mom who only measured during baking when accuracy is key.
But I keep a positive view. One day I know she’ll be more open. I heard from my siblings that she has recognised that she has a problem. This is positive. I’m really hoping that she’ll open up when she’s ready as I will absolutely be there for her.
Comment by Rees posted on Mon, 18/01/2010 23:25
Frankly, this sounds like a terrifying situation for you to be in. I really don’t have any useful advice to give or similar experiences to share, but reading this made me feel both sad for you and your mother and respect towards you for being so honest with us. I hope your mother realises her problem and seeks help with it soon.
Comment by Lucy posted on Mon, 18/01/2010 23:08
I have to admit this brought a tear to my eye. It shows how much you love your mum and miss her. I suppose its like the mum you once knew and loved is gone. She shows her face from time to time and it must be heart breaking to see her consumed by food. I wonder what she would think if she read this and knew how you felt? I’m not saying show her it! But maybe when you feel she is more ready for it approach it carefully, or even just when you are ready. These things are difficult but she needs to come to term with her problem. You seem like you will be a great help and support! The perfect son in fact! To be honest I have no idea on any good advice to give you. I’ve had friends with hospitalising eating disorders but friends are easier to talk to. Such a thing with my mum I would never be able approach! You have my 100% support and I hope she can get help soon. Not only for herself but so you and your siblings can have the mum they love back! All my love, Lucy xxx