Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1, 2009: 241 Pounds

Oh dear... this is not going in the direction I'd like...

Up 2 pounds in June. Brief self-examination:

1) Yikes, I have to stop indulging so much, and get back into a regular exercise routine.
2) Congratulations, self. You have successfully slowed the regain to a near standstill. (I gained NINE pounds last month).
3) I have PMS, with the resultant bloating. Salt cravings are NOT helping. As you know if you've read this blog for any amount of time, during PMS I crave hot dogs and Pringles. Last night I *did* have hot dogs for dinner... low fat ones. But no Pringles. However, even though the low fat hot dogs fit into my calorie count ok, they are loaded with sodium and I am sure contributed to the bloating. Note to self: do not eat a ton of salt on the last day of the month. It screws with your weigh in. I was 237 a couple days ago.
4) I really had to swallow my pride a bit to post this weight today, especially since I know that if I drink a bunch of water and don't eat salt today I will drop about 3 pounds by tomorrow. And that would be a nicer weight to post. I coulda waited and done that but see, this blog is DIFFERENT. This blog is *not* about saving face, looking good, pretending to be something I am not, covering up mistakes, lying about what I ate, or disappearing for weeks and months when I am not doing well with weight loss. If you want a shiny pretty blog that only shows what happens when someone is doing GREAT, there are hundreds out there you can read. This one is ME, good and bad, stuff I am proud of and stuff I regret. All of it. And it's gonna be here whether I am 150 pounds or 350 pounds. It's the journey of my lifetime. And I really, *really* hope it helps me get where I want to be.

Now, about July.

July has been a difficult month for me for a couple of decades. In fact, a couple years ago I almost had an irrational dread of July. Let me explain.

I was born in July. Great month for a birthday! Unless your mother pulls the rug out from under you in Kindergarten by joining a religion that does not celebrate birthdays. Then, not so much. As a small child, July made me sad, as I *had* memories of birthday parties and feeling special on my birthday, which turned into just waiting and watching the day come and go without so much as an acknowledgment that I had come into the world on that day. I felt pretty insignificant on that day. Ignored. I got over it, and I didn't care when I was a teen, but as an adult (when I turned 18) I went into full-fledged "lose the religion, have a birthday party" mode. Then just a year later, something terrible happened.

I was very newly married... just 6 weeks or so... and my life was just wonderful. I was in love with my new husband, we were working the farm together, life was great! And I'd *just* found out I was pregnant (honeymoon baby)! We were over the moon. I was flying high every day, every minute, from the joy I was feeling. Until one morning I got the worst phone call of my life.

I was getting ready to go out to lunch with my husband. As I fastened my watch, the phone rang. I answered it with the usual smile in my voice. "Your father died," said the voice on the phone. "No he didn't!" I said in complete disbelief. "Yes, I'm sorry, but he did." "NO HE DIDN'T!" I screamed... and the voice on the other end started rambling about my father... dead in his sleep... mother found him this morning... must have been a heart attack.... I dropped the phone and crumbled into a heap, screaming, crying, yelling, "No! No! No!" My husband had to grab the phone to find out what had happened. I had no words.

My father had, indeed, died. My father, who I had just recently begun to be very close to. My father, who taught me to love music, who gave me stability when my mother was being irrational. Who loved me no matter what. I was his only child. And he was gone.

My husband and I drove to my parents' home. I wanted to be with my mother. On the way, we passed a black hearse going in the opposite direction. "My Dad is in there" my numbed mind thought. When we got to the house, it was filled with my mother's religious friends. My mother, who had been estranged from me "for religious reasons" for 2 years, had very little to say to me... and didn't want my comfort. I stood there in the kitchen, staring at my father's chair where he had sat through all my childhood, giving me advice, sharing meals together, having his martini after work... when a woman came up to me and handed me a stack of clean sheets. She said, "do something useful to help your Mother. Go change the sheets on the bed where your father died". Still stunned by his death, I silently obeyed. I walked into the room, sickened. I numbly tore the sheets off my parents' bed. My mind could not even take in the fact that my father had *just* died there. I could not process one more bit of pain. I put the clean sheets on. I hugged my mother. I went home.

No, it didn't happen in July... but my father's birthday is in July. And every year in July, when I think about my father, I think about his death. The fact that he is not here. That he never got to see any of his grandchildren. I never even got to tell him I was pregnant. I never remember having a happy birthday celebration with him. He was as ignored as I was. And this year, I realized something especially sad for me. He has been gone from my life for longer than I had him in it.

And then a dozen years later, my mother died in July. She had a sudden, unexpected diagnosis of cancer, I flew in to be with her on the 4th of July, and she died in my arms just a couple of days later. As much as I wished it wasn't so, every time since then that I sit in the grass watching fireworks with my children on Independence Day, I remember looking out the windows of the airplane as we were landing and seeing fireworks from above. How tiny they looked. How I wished I had all my children with me. How I wondered if they were watching fireworks. So in July, my brain goes back a little, and if I am not careful, it not only relives the death of my father, but the death of my mother, as well.

And then, almost 4 years ago, a blessing within a tragedy. My beautiful, lovely daughter was born, on my father's birthday. Such a gift! Yet July was once again painful for me, as I lingered in the hospital for a week with extremely high blood pressure, watching my tiny daughter (who was not due until late September) suffer... being unable to hold her for over a week, being told she may not survive, and watching a machine breathe for her. I can say now that the worse day of my life was my birthday that year, when I had to go home from the hospital without my baby. I have never felt such utter despair. No one remembered my birthday that year either. I was again forgotten, and worse, my arms were empty. And I spent all of July and most of August without her.

Ahhh, but she *was* a blessing, she *has* gotten better. And just for the past 3 years, July has started to heal me. Her birthday is now a time of great joy for me as I remember how amazing she is. Her birth on my father's birthday took away so much of the pain of his loss. And frankly it even eclipsed the loss of my mother. In fact, now, I look forward to July! I choose to fill it with celebration. The fireworks bring smiles again as I see them through my daughter's eyes... "Wow!!! Look Mommy! All the colors!" she says with absolute wonder. The good memories are now overwriting the bad stuff from the past.

This year July looks wonderful to me! I know this post was extra-long, but I wanted to share how my viewpoint and emotional reaction to this particular time of year has evolved. I am *excited* for it to be July! In fact, I think now it is my favorite month! With all the happiness my children bring, how could it not be?

I'm choosing to bless myself this July. I hope you'll bless yourself, too!

33 comments:

flyingwoman said...

I miss my dad too (Lung/brain cancer, 11 years ago). I miss the way he used to whistle - whole songs, strong and clear. I miss his laugh when something caught him funny on the TV. I miss the smell of him. I'm sad he never got to met my husband.

Wishing you a beautiful July with your birthday girl.

Wendy said...

A lovely, lovely piece of writing. You deserve to have a July filled with smiling children, delicious fresh fruit and vegetables and a renewed sense of promise. The weight loss will follow.
Wendy

missy said...

This post was simply amazing. Beautiful. Thank you for being so open and candid within your blog. :)

beerab said...

Aw Lyn your post was beautiful and brought me to tears- I'm so sorry to hear about your father's passing- even if it was many years ago :(

I'm so glad you have your little girl to brighten up your life. How amazing for her to be born on your father's bday- you have to wonder if it's a sign from him? I truly believe the ones we love still watch over and check on us from time to time!

*hugz* Keep up the good fight girl- I know you can do it!

anne h said...

You are right - how could it not be a great month when you step back and "look at all the colors!"

Stephanie said...

Great post, Lyn. Treat yourself well this month (that's not "treat yourself" - the focus is on the well part!) and make healthy choices. That is the best we can all do for ourselves. When faced with a choice, choose "nice to self." :-) I am glad you get so much pleasure and happiness from your kids.

bbubblyb said...

Hope you have a good July this year.

Saje said...

Thank you for sharing such a moving part of your life with us... your writing is beautiful. I wish you a very happy July for this year and for every year following.

Jennifer said...

This post was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. You deserve to be happy, Lyn. Your dad would want that, and even your mom--even though she seemed to have a hard time expressing that while she was still here. I'm sure if she could've gone back & done things differently, she'd have told you just how much she loved you, and that she was proud of you. Every parent makes mistakes (some mistakes bigger than others), they are human. It doesn't excuse some behavior, but I believe that the love is there through most of the mistakes. I'm sure your mom & dad are both smiling down on the girl you were, and the woman/mom you've become. Happy July to you, Lyn! *Hugs*

F. McButter Pants said...

I don't do good around the holidays. My husband was found dead on Chritmas day and my dad went into the hopital in Jan 2 and was gone within a few days. My mom dies 9 months later. Rough year 1996.

Love your attitude and your blog. I read everday, but am kind of a lurker.

SquirtyB said...

I stumbled upon your blog today...I must say it very brave of you to be so honest with yourself and everyone else about your weight. I have spent many years lying to myself and others.

I have also been on a weight loss journey for a year and a half now. It has been slow, but steady. One thing that I have found that has helped me is being on birth control. I only mention it because of your reference to PMS. I would have severe PMS for a week and then use the excuse of having my period for a week to eat whatever I wanted.

So, 2 weeks a month my eating was out of control. BC has leveled out the emotional roller coaster of PMS for me and as a result I no longer binge eat for 2 weeks out of the month. I also went from dibilitating cramps to no cramps at all.

Sorry for the random comment. But BC really did help me out in alot of ways (other than the whole pregnancy prevention thing). Just thought I would pass along the info..

screwdestiny said...

Oh my gosh, your post made me cry. And blog posts do not make me cry. Thanks for sharing that with us. I hope this July is fabulous.

Coley said...

Ahh, I loved that last line!! Fantastic. My lovely girl's birthday is this month, too. The little girl that I wanted for so long and finally got, that July in 2004.
I'm going to do celebrating and in that mindset, making great wonderful choices for all and myself this month!

NewMe said...

Lyn, I think you're a wonderful writer. What I appreciate most in your writing is how you are able to talk about your own life and imbue it with many universal truths. It is a true gift.

Have a wonderful July!

wyndymoon said...

I just lost my mom this past Christmas. We didn't have a Christmas this year and I know each year is going to be very difficult for me. I am already hurting greatly this month as my mom's birthday is July 6th. I work that day so hopefully my friends at work can help to keep my mind at ease and prevent a breakdown.

NewVision said...

I just wanted to say now before I forget.....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
(WHEN EVER IT IS) :)

South Beach Steve said...

Lyn, I am sorry to hear about Julys past, but I am glad to hear Julys present are a better thing. Here's to some great Julys future.

Vickie said...

hugs

Val said...

Wow what an emotional month. Your honesty is beautiful and so are you. (((hugs)))

Tammy said...

How moving. Your honesty and willingness to share your journey with others is a blessing. Happy, Happy July to you! :)

Claire said...

Give yourself the best birthday ever and get on top of this. You have every reason to be stressed and be eating. You are doing wonderfully by basically maintaining - that is frankly amazing!

But, considering the woman you are, I think you can tip this back into losing - just a few tiny tweaks and there you will be.

I know when my Dad died after a long and painful battle against cancer I felt inspired to eat better and BE better. Some days on this long journey I forget that inspiration and need to be reminded. I'm over 100 pounds down now and it is truly a battle but one I am certain you can win. xxx

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday.

Lisa said...

wow! I am so sorry to hear all this. I hope you continue to heal!

Actual Scale said...

Happy Birthday to you & your daughter.

How very special that she shares your dad's birthday. Instead of mourning the day, you choose to celebrate them both instead. From your words, it sounds as that is what he would want for you & your baby girl.

Wishing you a good month. + Vibes for health & happiness.

McLauren84 said...

Lyn, it's these posts that mean so much to me. What's the point of those "shiny happy" fairweather blogs? That's no way to facilitate a real conversation about how we live our lives. Thank you, as always, for your unflinching honesty. Enjoy July!

Heather said...

its too bad that june didnt go as planned, but some months are like that. june wasnt my best month either, so I think both of us will have a much better month this month.

Allison said...

I always think about these times as Anniversaries of the heart - as per Sarah Breathnach. I always get sad on old years eve, my moms birthday. In the midst of all the celebration i think of how much her absence eats away at my soul. As someone who has been overweight my entire life i am really inspired by your blog. I only discovered it recently and was blown away by your insights. I found myself reading and nodding along with you. We have all been there!

I am glad that you are reclaiming this month and making it happy for you. Perhaps the question is: How do you chose to live the next X number of July's that lie ahead of you in your life?

Thanks again
Al

aha said...

Thank you for sharing.

My father died when I was 20, and never knew my husband or my children. I always feel it on his birthday (april) and the day he died (august). Something just feels weird, then I remember.

I hope you're daughter will help you enjoy the holidays (unless she's like my 6-yo, who wants to instead stay home and watch a Barbie DVD ;). Soon, she'll be older, and want to make your birthday just as special for you as you do for her.

Merry said...

I love your honesty! I think confessing to a temporary setback will help other people when they run into a similar situation.
Hope July because a better month!

Ria said...

This post really touched me - I lost my mom suddenly in July 1996, and the anniversary of her death has been emotionally difficult for me.

I'm glad the happy memories have made July a happy time for you again. Best birthday wishes to you and your daughter!

Congrats on stopping the regain in June - maintaining is a victory in itself. I haven't been making much progress either the past few months . . . here's to a good "on-track" July for both of us.

G.H. said...

Thanks for sharing, You are such an inspiration.

God Bless

http://confessions-of-a-waitress.blogspot.com

Theophilus Academy said...

I'm sorry that July is such a tough month for you.

This was a great post and I love your honesty! Keep up the good fight and you will get there!!

Wendy

ShredFail said...

I just found your blog as I start finally getting serious about losing the weight I need to lose. Thanks for your honesty and sharing...it isn't easy being honest about some of this crap!