If you have read my blog, you know that my dad was/is nuts. There is no doubt about that. There is something wrong. He is a 71 year old boy that has never made it past the age of 8 developmentally.
What about my mother? My mother’s weight was always so painful for me. I carried her pain for most of my life. It was easy to blame my mentally ill father for her problems. It was easy to be angry at him but wasn’t so easy to be angry at her for not protecting us from some of the things he did and said. She was always so sweet. How do you get mad at such a sweet person. So I would cry in secret. I would cry at night not for myself but for her and all the pain she was living. I realize now that this is codependency.
I remember being in a state of depression while having some issues with friends as well as dealing with almost daily sexual assaults in middle school .I never reached out or spoke up to anyone. I just shut down, stayed in the house, starting eating, and started to follow her example. I clearly remember gaining weight and my saddlebags starting to dimple and spread out before my eyes. She must have noticed because she started taking me out to eat more. I guess she was trying to teach me the only method of coping she knew.
At some point the burden became too much. I moved out at 17 and at 18 I married a man 10 years older than me. My daughter was born at 19. I moved as far away as I could hoping that I could move on from the problems of my childhood home. But I still felt so sorry for her and was still so angry at my father. Now I realize that theirs is a relationship that works for them. He can blame her for his childish antics and she can blame him for her weight. I thought I could just run away and hide. She was like a secret that I tried to keep hidden. I am pretty sure that’s where my humor came from. I always tried to make others laugh before they could laugh at me for having a huge mother and crazy father. Now I realize that if they made a comment of laughed at her it wasn’t me they were talking about yet somehow I made it about me. I think I have kept a lot of people at arm’s length because of this.
All of those problems that I had hoped to leave behind surface each time she’s get so ill. I used to see those people on TV that were stuck in a bedroom and they had to break down a wall or bring in a crane to get them out and that was my biggest fear. You would think I was the morbidly obese person by the way I worried about that kind of stuff.
The last time she collapsed on the way to the car and we had to call 911.I was terrified. My secret was out. I explained to the 911 operator that she was morbidly obese thinking maybe they have a special unit that deals with morbidly obese or maybe they send extra men. They must have a special unit cause 6 of the biggest hunkiest firefighter/paramedics showed up. They struggled a bit but got her onto the stretcher which was robotic so it lifted her right into the ambulance. All this time, we struggled each time she got sick to get her into the car. She can’t lift her legs herself they are too heavy and she doesn’t fit in the seat and forget trying to get the seat belt on her. I had feared asking for help yet the help turned out to be just what I needed. We have since had to call them 2 more times. The first time was the night she got home from the nursing home, she slipped and fell and my dad couldn’t lift her so he called 911 to come lift her and put her back in bed. The next time she was sick again and needed to go back to the hospital.
I started thinking a few days ago that I needed to share this story so that I can move on from this childhood pain. I need to break down this wall that I had built to keep others from learning my secret. Below is a picture of my mother’s legs which are not as swollen as usual since she has been basically bedridden. This was taken during her recent stay in the nursing home.
Would you stare? Would you care? Would you laugh? Would you point? It’s okay if you do, I probably would have too.