It’s 9:30p and I have to be up at 4:30am tomorrow. The last thing on my mind,however, is sleep.
You see, grief has shrouded my bed with it’s hard, cold, not-so-warm-and-fuzzy surface and there is not a single position my body can find that will break that icy exterior…not without facing it head on.
I’ve been struggling for two days now on how to approach this topic but I’ve only come to one conclusion. There isn’t a good way. Its gonna be messy. I’ll be typing through tears. Muscles will clench and the heart will continue to burst with unimaginable pain.
My friend has died.
My 24 year old friend has died.
And she has died of an eating disorder.
These two words alone make so angry I can’t see straight, because I too almost died years ago of anorexia and bulimia. And no, I don’t feel guilty for living. I fought that battle hard. I am grateful for my family, my community,my friends far and wide who saw me through that struggle. And I am grateful for the grace that keeps me here with all of you.
I just wish there was one more beautiful woman still here with us.
When I met Emily she was barely 18. I was in treatment already and she walked in Frightened and apprehensive. Gorgeous but fragile. So disconnected from herself and her own truth that we all wanted to take her under our wings, despite our own needs, and heal her. In the process we saw someone so beautiful and bright that it was almost unfathomable that she couldn’t see it. Extremely intelligent and talented in everything she touched. BEAUTIFUL with porcelain skin and penetrating yet soft green eyes that could see deep into your goodness while accepting your darkness as beauty too. The tragedy was that she never learned to turn that gift of vision back on herself. She was in and out of treatment for what encompassed the span of her brief adulthood.
In the end we are all left stunned. It isn’t that I didn’t know it was extremely likely that Em would leave us young. It is more that one never truly expects to have to face it deep down. It is like seeing your first sunrise in all it’s glory only to realize the sun must set. Hoping you’ll see it again but not quite sure.
It is pure devastation. No sugar coating. All stone and sharp edges; heart in throat, eyes bulging with the ebb and flow of stinging tears. GRIEF.
It is my hope that those who knew Em, those who knew of her, and those who hear her story will act. Find your inner truth. Connect to it. Know it in every cell of your body, mind , soul…no one can take it from you. Nothing can pull it from your grasp. Express gratitude daily that you have all you need, that you are perfect, that you are the only one who can dim that light. Think of my beautiful friend and the grace she so freely gave but couldn’t receive. Know that doesn’t have to be you.
You are glorious.
I love you Em and while I’m angry, grief stricken and I have so many questions I know have no answers…I am also so grateful for you. I will always see knowing you as a great blessing in my life. Peace to you dear light.
If you or someone you know is struggling with food related issued of ANY level get help. Utilize your community resources. Go to http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ to find clinics, doctors, and other support systems around you. We must work together to help our neighbors. For as I am in you, you are in me. We are all connected. What hurts one of us hurts the unity of us all.
And NO being underweight isn’t the only indicator. Many women and men maintain “healthy” bmi ( body mass index) while struggling daily with poor heart function, dangerously low electrolytes, potential organ failure,mental illness and depression and so much more. Trust your instinct if something feels wrong with a friend. And remember addicts and Ed sufferers are great liars to protect the disease. Do your research and stay grounded in your truth as you go through the process. Most importantly take care of yourself.