Sunday, June 20, 2010

Progress

This week was a pretty great week. I weighed in at 199 pounds, which is of course a fantastic milestone for me... one I wondered if I would ever see. Last Sunday I weighed 201, so that is a 2 pound loss for this week. Not bad. I am good with that.

That said, I had some major thinking to do yesterday as I struggled with wanting to go off plan and binge. I've been thinking a lot about why I tend to do that. Why eat when I am not hungry? Why obsess about cake or cookies instead of being satisfied with more healthy food? Yeah, I still have that habit of wanting to turn to food to distract me from unpleasant thoughts and feelings about *real life.* I still catch myself starting to obsess about food, weight, diet, scale numbers, etc rather than facing and dealing with the real life issues that are stressful to me but need to be addressed. But the key here is, I CATCH MYSELF. That's big progress. I am getting there.


On Father's Day, I am always reminded of my own father who passed away just after I got married at age 20. I think about how I wish that, just one time, I had gotten to say to him, "Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you." I wish just once I had given him a card. I often wonder what he did and how he felt on Father's Day when he was basically ignored as my mother and I trotted off to our religious meetings and to hang out with friends. We didn't celebrate Father's Day, or any other holidays, because of our religion. But my Dad was not IN our religion. He was raised a Lutheran. He always celebrated holidays until my mother joined this religion when I was very small. So I often have wondered what it was like for him. I was his only child. His parents had passed away. What did he think... how did he feel as he sat alone at the kitchen table on Father's Day, with never a single acknowledgement from his wife and child? I never thought about it back then, because I was just a little girl. We just didn't DO holidays, so it never crossed my mind to think about them at all. But when I grew up and left that religion and moved across the country at 18, I did start celebrating Christmas and Easter and things like that. It was not something I ever mentioned to my parents, out of respect for my mother's immense disgust at those holidays. But when my father died, my mother rubbed salt in the raw, open wound of his loss by saying, "... and you never even sent him a Father's Day card after you left!"

Those words shocked me. A Father's Day card? It had never even crossed my mind. I had never done that growing up. My mother had taught me how "wrong" and "bad" it was to do ANYTHING related to holidays or birthdays, so I had never even had a vague thought of sending him a card. I'd never sent anyone a card for anything in my life. And if I HAD thought to do it, I probably would have refrained out of respect for my mother. We just didn't DO that stuff in our family.

And so, every Father's Day since, I have felt regret that I never did think to call or send him a card on the two Father's Days that occurred between the time I left the religion and the time of his death. I wondered if he had sat at the kitchen table waiting and hoping for a call from me. I imagined him walking to the mailbox with a bit of hope that there might be a card from me, and being disappointed. I hated myself just a little bit for being such a thoughtless daughter. Every year. I felt so guilty. And I binged, to punish myself.

Not this year.

This year, I finally 'got it.' I understood that my mother was not a well woman. What kind of mother throws that kind of guilt on their child for following the rules THEY raised them with? What kind of person wants their daughter to feel bad about themselves and feel more pain than they already have about the loss of their father? She just was not well. She felt bad about herself. SHE was in pain. SHE had guilt. And she was conveying that to me, along with her habit of eating her feelings. I can understand that, and feel sorry for her. She died with her pain. She never resolved her issues. I feel bad for her, but I also have had to let her go.

My father? He was a good man. He was level headed and not driven by emotions and irrational thoughts. I am quite sure he understood why things were the way they were. We had some great talks on the phone. We spent treasured time together in the summer before his death. He knew, without a doubt, that I loved him very much. He was not the type to mope about because he didn't get a card or a call on Father's Day. I bet he treasured that day in his heart, even without a 'celebration,' because it was the day to rejoice in the fact that he got the amazing gift of becoming a father at 41, when he thought it would never happen. I was the light of his life, and we loved each other. And that is what I celebrate now. So Dad.... Happy Father's Day! I love you.

My gift to my father is to live the best life I can now. I will honor him with my words and actions and be the woman he always hoped I would be. He lives on in me, and I think he would be proud.

Enjoy your Father's Day! If your Dad is still living, savor it. If he is not, honor his memory. Let go of the ghosts, if there are any, and live your best life from this point on.

18 comments:

Colleen said...

I'm sure that he knew that you loved him. Father's day is only one day out of 365. He didn't measure how much you loved him from that one day alone. He saw every action that you made to demonstrate how you felt, not just the lack of one single action. Anyways, I hope you feel better.

spunkysuzi said...

I have no doubt that your father loved you and that he knew you loved him.
As far as the mind games. I think the mind is the biggest hurdle when losing weight.
Today is stirring up a lot of memories for me because i've never had one since i was a year old. Reading all the posts about fathers definitely brings some sorrow to me today. But i'm going to deal with it by going on a great walk :)

Autumnforest said...

You know, as a parent I have to admit that I never ever needed a mother's day. I had an amazing son. I watched him grow up. I know that he needs me. I know that I need him. No cards are necessary. I'm certain your father knew that and he knew that your mother didn't allow holidays. It had never been part of your relationship to have father's days, so he never expected it. He probably was reminded on that day how lucky he was to have a daughter. My father passed on when I was 16 and I admit that every father's day, I sit down with myself and kind of update him on my last year. I sit in a quiet place and I tell him out loud what's up and how much I miss him and how much I appreciate him being part of my conscious decision-making process--like a voice in my head reminding me which direction to take. You have a huge heart and I'm sure your dad got a big chunk of that when you were growing up. No holiday could possibly mark that importance, no tie or card could say it all.

Betty said...

Your post (and these comments) have moved me to tears. Thank you (as always) for sharing such personal, poignant stories. Enjoy your day, celebrating your father and the special bond you shared, and take heart in the fact that he knew how much you loved and love him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lyn for asking the hard questions "out loud". It really causes me to stop and reflect on why I also turn to food to "distract me from unpleasant thoughts and feelings about real life." Definitely becoming conscious of it is an important step. Thanks for helping others as you yourself walk out your journey here. I've been reading your blog pretty much daily since the beginning of this year, and I'm really proud of you and your "big progress." You definitely are getting there! Blessings, Kirsten

Karen said...

Beautiful tribute to your Dad, Lyn. I know he is immensely proud of you for all of you have accomplished in your life, especially what an excellent mother you have been to your own 5 children.

Miss Felicity said...

With everything said, congrats on another 2 lbs loss, you have come so far and I look up to you. Would one day love to see a picture of your beautiful, smiling face!

Gin22464 said...

Lyn-
I have read your blog almost every day since I found it, about a month or so ago! Thank you! You are an inspiration to many many people!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Lyn, your father loved you. I've read so many of your stories about him (my favorite is the one where you brought home the kitten), and it is obvious that he loved you SO much and was so proud of you! Please don't be sad about not celebrating Father's Day! He knew and understood that you were following your mother's wishes!

You and I have so many things in common (aside from using food and bingeing to overcome the hurt). Reading your blog always hits home for me.

What you said about your mother is SO true; it was SO wrong of her to make that comment! My own mother is a LOT like yours. Growing up, I was raised extremely religious, but also, given enormous responsibility from a young age (such as being forced to help raise her sister's child from age 11 on.) I was severely abused, and never allowed to play with other kids. Instead, I cared for the house, cooked, and looked after the younger kids/cousins, while being expected to keep up an A average at school. I had to wear hand me downs and had no money to care for my hair, buy makeup, etc. And I wasn't allowed to date till after I graduated.

My mother worked at a department store. In her dept. were several girls I went to high school with. After we graduated, while I was working as a secretary and going to college at night, they smoked pot and hung out with their boyfriends. My mother became their honorary "mom." I was so hurt when she came home one
night and she said the girls were laughing at me for being "such a goody goody" and everyone thought I was such a dork. My mother spent weeks laughing at me and saying, "why did you act like that? What's the matter with you? They could have been your friends!" She still taunts me for not having fun in school!!!

I'll never forget how hurt I was, especially since I did everything she expected me to do, and worked so hard to make her happy w/me.

So Lyn, sweetie, you are not alone.

Hugs, Maria

clickmom said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I lost my dad just over a year ago and have been having the hardest day. My dad knew how much I loved him and our big plan was that I was going to care for him because he had terminal cancer. He ended up dying suddenly, but told me the night before he suffered a major stroke how he had no regrets in life except that he wasn't going to see his grandkids grow up. I miss him terribly.

beerab said...

As usual you have moved me to tears- I agree your father knew you loved him.

I've got nothing else to say except here's a *BIG HUG* for you :)

American Muslima Writer said...

Hi Lynn,

I'm so happy for your milestone!!! CONGRATS!!!!
When you look back does it seem as hard as you used to think it was when you werr bigger?
For me it felt relativly easy and that surprised me.

I'm glad you are coming to peace with your childhood and memories of your parents more.
Gosh that was a very powerful image of a father hopelessly waiting for a card that neve came. It seems he was level headed enough to understand though your uninentional lapse. LIke you did today you can also write him a letter or a card and express all you wanted to say in his memory and then just keep it forever. Or send it out to sea or soemthing meaningful that you feel will help you more.

In Islam we also don't celebrate certain holidays and we beleive every day is Fathers and Mother's Day. But I still imagine my parents (like you) sitting there waiting for their acknowledgement of my love from afar. So out of my love for them and wanting to make them feel better I do send them an e-card or a nice long email or a random phone call jsut to cheer them up. But when sending such things I include everyone not just the person who's "day " it is. :)

I love reading your blog.
Congrats again. Hope to see more milestones ahead!

Liza said...

Congratulations on reaching such a milestone! Your courage and strength amazes me more every day as you accomplish so much, after having been through such trials and tribulations in your life. You have made physical and emotional progress to date that you deserve to be VERY proud of!

Susan said...

I was so very moved by this post. I am sure he knew you loved him, and still knows you love him. You do him proud every day with your courage and strength in bettering yourself, your life.

I too had a mother who was not well, and it takes a long time to 'get' that their sickness is not our identity. Good for you in being at that point in your life. It's such a blessing.

luckiest1 said...

Congratulations on the milestone! And wonderful words of wisdom about honouring your father....mine is gone as yours is, and I did honour his memory yesterday.

Kyle Gershman said...

199 is an awesome achievement...you've really broken through all your prior barriers both physically and psychologically...that will truly give many hope.

Lori said...

I was complaining to myself on Saturday that I had to go out and buy a Father's Day card and I couldn't find one for my dad that wasn't sappy drivel (I'm not a sappy driveller). But then I reminded myself that I GET to buy my dad a card because he is still here, and I even get to deliver the card in person. I stopped complaining after that. This was another good reminder to me, not to take these "mundane" things for granted.

Lisa said...

Wow. That was a great post.