Sunday, June 28, 2009


One of conflicts (there were many) that Kelsey and I had was her belief that I did not acknowledge how hard she was working often enough and without some prompting. At the time, I thought that was a bad joke. She was right; I didn't often tell her I was proud of what she was doing. She had a half semester of college under her belt. She had a string of food service jobs (and yes, I do see the irony there) that she never managed to be able to keep. She ran through relationships like water, always blaming the men and their short-comings when the end inevitably came. She lived at home and even when she didn't, we paid her rent. Her dad and I covered most of her major expenses, but she was still constantly down to her very last dime. She was working off her probation for a DUI, and wasn't covering her volunteer hours, despite having almost two full years to work off 200 hours at the volunteer job of her choosing. That's without mention of the runaway train that was her eating disorder that caused us to hide certain grocery items to keep her from abusing them, stop buying others because she would abuse them so severely, and forced me to go to the store close to every day to try and maintain some core supplies that we couldn't avoid needing. On the surface, there was nothing that I really saw to indicate that she was working on anything other than ultimate self destruction. And, I would have told you on my worse days that she was hell bent on taking us all down with her. I always secretly thought that she enjoyed the disease because it caused her to be the constant center of attention. Then this all happened and her journal came into my possession.

I won't be able to read it word for word for a long time. Too painful for right now. And I may not ever be able to understand all of it - she wrote in a particularly tight, spidery script that her father and I have a hard time with. But when I was skimming through it to find poetry to use for the funeral service, I learned that I misunderstood her on a fundamental level. I owe her an apology that I can only give to others and hope she's somewhere listening. I learned she was working very hard to disconnect herself from her bulimia, and I think that's the validation she wanted. She would record the number of times she binged and purged in a day with a rant of self disgust. She wrote about the steps she took to try and beat it, and how they were ignored or unsuccessful. Sometimes the pages express the sort of anger and resentment we saw on the surface. Anger at us, anger at life, anger with the men in her life. But, those were the exception. She mainly was angry with herself and her disease, and it was clear how she hated it. But, it was strong and had an iron tight grip on her that none of us could pry loose. Least of all her, despite all her efforts. So, now I get it. Now I understand why she said that to me so often with fierce sincerity, and then looked at me as though I was beyond callous when I could only half-heartedly tell her I was proud. Maybe in the end it's not the shock of having the eating disorder defeat her, it's a shock that she kept going as long as she did.

All I can do now, of course, is to take her life's struggles with me wherever I go and make sure others know how insidious this disease is. It killed her in pieces until there was nothing left. I hope she is back and whole now.

No comments:

Post a Comment