When I think of dying, I am not afraid. After a very low spot (physical) several years ago, I lost that fear. Or I thought I had.
Once again I must honor the presence of my convoluted thinking.
Weight has always been an issue for me. As a chubby child, I took a lot of ribbing. There’s no doubt that I carried that child within me for years and failed to appreciate my perfectly acceptable body through my younger years.
In my parenting years I’m not sure that I could blame my increased weight on child-bearing, although it definitely had an effect. My subjugation of self for the benefit of others probably had more to do with it. I ate my way through exhaustion, anger, grief, overwhelm, and you-name-it! Then, as I gained more of a sense of myself, I began to shed the worst of my pudgy pounds.
Although I have never been (what I would call) obese, I carried some extra weight with me for a long time – both psychically and physically. Then several years ago I decided that my looks were not at issue – it was my health that was at issue. I changed my diet and my lifestyle in order to age as a lean machine.
It just didn’t work.
I have lost enough to feel better but those last pounds won’t go away. Although I eat an exemplary diet, I continue to hover around the same weight. I exercise more. I eat less. I lose. I gain. The result is healthy but static and more than I’d like to carry into my coming years.
Recently, I began having a few health issues. Nothing serious (I hope), just a mystery fever that comes and goes at will. While the doctors are puzzling, my sisters and I talk and question and scare ourselves looking up symptoms on the internet. Yesterday I admitted to her that I am losing weight.
“I hope I’m not dying”, I said.
My sister began snorting with laughter. She couldn’t catch her breath. Mystified, I chuckled along with her, waiting for an explanation. “OMG,” she said, “that’s just what I would think!”
When she caught her breath we talked aobut it. It became a serious conversation. We have watched friends and even our own parents stop eating and decline. Our dear sister who died of cancere become emaciated and resembled a holocaust survivor when she died. Our true feelings around being thin have some grim memories attached.
It does seem a bit silly to think that I cling to those last 15 pounds so that I can feel robust when I look in the mirror. Ultimately, I can laugh with her. We acknowledge our unconscious fear of weight loss as an unexplored aspect of our fear of dying.