To the Anorexia That Overtook My Mom
You probably don’t remember me, but I met you through my mom. I was a teenager when you came into our home and changed everything. You started because she had a medical condition that made her cut back on food, but later you became a full force of control. My mom used you as a way of coping with raising four teenage kids and the stresses from her marriage and her job. I bet you remember her.
I watched as her face and body became more skeletal. I remember after a while it got so terribly bad, I had to beg my mom to eat just one bite a day of anything I could find. Her energy was so low, but when she looked in the mirror she was still too fat for you.
You had your way with her when I went to Florida on a short three day trip with my next door neighbors. I was 16. For three days I wasn’t there to force her to eat so you had field day with her. At times causing her to be so weak she woke up on the living room floor wondering how she got there.
Lucky for you everyone was away so no one knew.
The Sunday morning after I got back, we went to church. After helping mom to the second row where we always sat, my sisters and I went to talk to friends before the sermon started. The preacher’s wife, a grim women who no one would dare mess with, came up to us and asked us to come get our mother. She was apparently so delirious from the lack of food she was acting like a drunk woman. My sisters and I looked at each other with complete confusion because my mother did not drink. We went in and got her, but as we were walking out of the church she passed out and hit her head. Were you laughing then? Three teenagers looking at their mom with absolute fear? But you weren’t done yet.
The hit caused a lot of damage. We had to dress her, feed her and shower her. She began having horrible seizers where only her tips of her fingers and the tips of her toes touched the bed. Were you happy then?
Maybe it made you happy when she forgot my birthday, or when she spoke like a small child. “I’m cold,” she would say to me when I was getting her dressed, putting on whatever warm clothes I could find. Then she would remark in childhood wonderment, “Ooh you don’t know how to match…I’m telling.” Did you know my sisters and I missed over 29 days in school in just a couple of months so we could take care of her? My dad worked more to pay the bills, and possibly to avoid seeing his soulmate in your control.
For years I felt guilty for not being there for her. For going to Florida with my neighbors.
For years, the first thing I would ask my mom was what she ate that day. Not anymore. I’m done playing your game. Guess what? She’s better now. It may have taken longer than we would have liked, but we are through with you. We helped her, but she did the work. Now, you can’t have her. You are not welcome in our home, you are not welcome again in my life. If you show your ugly face again, I will keep fighting you until there’s nothing left.
A child of anorexia