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Obesity and It’s Silent Struggle

C and T

Myself and Christina

Christina and I hit it off quickly when I first met my father and his family. She was my sister, not by blood, but by soul. We had a lot in common, including our obesity.

Let me take you back to the 90s.

We tore up the city of Wenatchee, Washington and Dallas, Oregon. I can’t count how many apple orchards we woke up in after a long night of partying.  She quickly became my best friend. We did everything together. She knew secrets about me no one else did and I knew the same about her.

One evening she came home and says, “Tonia, there’s this guy who just broke up with his girlfriend who I know and now he’s single. His name’s Jose.” Now, I’ve always liked my men spicy so of course most of their names were Jose. Ha! I yell from the other room, “Does he have brothers named Pedro and Raul?” Laughter erupted from the both of us. Later, I became pregnant with my first child. Four months in, I lost him. My sister was there the entire way. She always had my back. Always.

I moved back to Montana (a few times) and when I did, Christina and I lost contact. We chatted here and there on Facebook but made no plans to meet up again. The excuses we made were silent but clear; we both had families and not enough time.

I get the text. She’s not doing well. Her kidneys are shutting down. No one knows how much longer she has. I later found out that she had lost her leg, the result of diabetes. She was told, while coherent, that she was dying.  I spoke to her on the phone and all we could do was cry through words. I asked her why she didn’t tell me that complications from her weight were this bad. She cried back, “I didn’t want you to know.” I got that. I really did. Secrets. Nasty secrets. She made it clear that she didn’t want to die and was very worried about her 4 children. I told her I loved her and would be seeing her soon. That night, I packed a suitcase and headed to Oregon. I arrived at the hospital late in the evening. Seeing her in that hospital bed was nearly unbearable until I approached her bedside and saw her grey, soulless eyes. I grabbed her face and wanted to kiss her badly but she had patches of some sort of medicine pasted to her. She was wailing in pain. I have to tell you, the sound of her still haunts my memories. Crying, I told her over and over again that I loved her. That she was my best friend. My only friend. She passed away March 7, 2014.

I went back to the hotel and cried uncontrollably. I was sorry and pissed off at myself for not being there for her. If only we had both been honest about our weight and our struggles. What we were going through was nearly identical. As I watched her dying I thought, “Is this it? Is this what it’s going to take for me to make the change?” Sadly, it was not. I continued to eat. I continued to not treat my diabetes. Being overweight and struggling with your weight is real. Food addiction is more than just overeating. It’s eating away your secrets, your stress, your pain, and worries. Ironically, it’s a way to slowly kill yourself and sometimes nothing, not your kids, not your family or friends, is enough to stop the madness. Rest in peace, my dear sister.

 

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C

2 comments on “Obesity and It’s Silent Struggle

  1. Hi. I just read your story. My niece posted it to her Facebook page as she is really hurting and missing her mom with the upcoming mother’s day. She and I shared our father. MY mom loved her like her own. We didn’t meet until I was older.. When she was with you in Wentachee I think is when dad finally got proof that she was his by blood test. I remember being curious about her and her life. it wouldn’t be until I was a few years older that we talked on the phone. We lost dad to his heart. It was quick. Christina was convinced that my dad was murdered by our stepmother. that was in 2011. He was a big guy too. so I guess it runs in the family. except our brother. I, my dad, our grandfather and my mom are all diabetic. and we really all didn’t/don’t take care of it. yeah it scares me to death that I may end up like that.. and there isn’t a day I don’t think about her. It is difficult. every day.. just wanted to say hello, since you were close to my sis and you, like me, couldn’t help but cry with her. I was on the phone as she didn’t want me to come. I spoke to her 2 days before her passing. Having seen her around Christmas time before her passing. All I could tell her on the phone was that it was ok.. she can let go.. she said that she will get to hold dad and that they will both be watching over all of us. I told her I know and that she can go that she wont be in pain anymore and that I will help with things as I can. She was one of my best friends and I will always have a hole where she was. I still to this day want to pick up the phone or go down there to see her, going out to do something. I do believe I even took the black and white picture that you have here at my dad’s when she was up visiting when blake was baby. I was there when blake was born his tiny feet.. I remember to this day. She passed the day before my birthday. I will always remember it as I was in a bar with a friend celebrating my birthday a day early. My friend upon me telling him that said let’s take a shot in remembrance and I did so. *hugs* I am here if you’d like to make a new friend.

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    • Hi Angie. I remember who you are. 🙂 I am really sorry to hear about your struggle with losing her. I know just how hard it is. Obesity can be heredity for sure. I am the largest in my family so it’s really hard to say. I know I’ve struggled with it all my life and it’s become worse as I’ve got older. I believe, Christina did a lot of hiding behind her food. She struggled through a lot and I think it was easier for her to be happy with food since nothing else in her life gave her that fulfillment. Christina loved everyone. I mean EVERYONE. Those that weren’t accepted in society’s “normal.” Something I loved about her. I am also very sorry to hear about your dad. I know that Christina and I talked about his weight and his health as well.

      I know how hard it is to lose weight. Truly. I can relate to you in regards to… “I don’t want this to happen to me.” It’s almost like I can’t make that connection. Watching Christina die was hard in itself. Watching her kids cry and hug her…..I don’t want mine doing the same thing (Although they are much older) I know it hurts the same. If you ever need a friend, I’m here for you. Struggles are real and it’s always nice to have someone who lives it and who gets it.

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