One night, during our daughters sophomore year of high school, her and I and our youngest son were out to dinner and I noticed my daughter kind of playing with her food. Moving it around a lot, not eating much but making it appear she was. I stopped to think…this couldn’t be. I knew this behavior. I had done the same thing years ago when I was struggling in college . This was the beginning of the realization of my daughter struggles with food, a disorder called anorexia to be exact. We talked that night, we cried, she was confused and scared and so was I. Throughout the next 5 years our daughter lost a tremendous amount weight then gained it back, was treated by outpatient therapists, was in and out of 7 different residential and inpatient facilities, numerous therapist, music, art, equine, you name it we tried it. I grabbed on tight to my daughter and was determined I would do whatever I could do to help her kick this. When my past was seemingly repeating itself in front of my eyes , the pain I experienced was like no other. The mention of a genetic component of eating disorders led me to start to feel responsible for what was happening to her. I tried harder, sought out more people to help her, I took time away from my business and my other kids and husband to help my daughter. I attended support groups, family therapy, read books, drove hundreds of miles, cried gallons of tears. I just kept going. I ignored my fatigue, ignored my hot flashes as they increased in frequency, I ignored my anxiety that was waking me up in the middle of the night. I prayed to God that he would save my daughter and also save my business which I was just not paying much attention to. I tried to sleep but knew I wasn’t getting enough as I keep waking up and worrying . And then one night we got the call, the call from the Dean of students from the college that our daughter was attending. We knew it was a risk to send her there just 4 short weeks prior but she was so excited to go and we were hopeful for a change and a shift, a new beginning. You may have read when I wrote a letter to her eating disorder.
The Dean of Students asked us to come pick up our daughter in the next 2 days as she needed to take a step back. She wasn’t doing well physically and mentally. If she or we refused, they would withdraw her themselves. I made the drive. I was there when they told her….my little girl, mad, surprised, thin, starving…I had to pack her and her stuff up and bring her home. Our hope for a change was gone.
In the next few days she made the decision to be admitted to a spot in Denver. I bought her a one way ticket and said good by to her at the airport. Call me when you get there I told her…… and love yourself my dear.
I remember that day just like it was yesterday. Hopeless, wondering if my daughter would survive and pausing to wonder if I could survive all this, let alone our family.
The months that she was gone, I began to realize from the way I was feeling and with the support of friends and colleagues that I needed to start looking at me and my own health and start to put the attention on me. I started to seek out help for myself. I’ve attended seminars, gone on retreats, read books on self care , created a morning routine that helps me start my day off right, watched videos and movies and stories about overcoming and being resilient. I’ve learned that you can’t give from an empty cup and my cup needs to be full and over flowing each and every day in order for me to show up the best for me and my family and business.
I started a social media campaign called Taking Moyra back. It was time. Little by little I started to find myself again. I started to breath, take deep breaths and enjoy a yoga practice, night out with my husband or girlfriends or with just me. My friends and husband cheered my on.
Being a living example of how to live a life filled with hope is what keeps me going each day. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I have been healing. I feel better. I’ve started to feel the joy again. I look better, I am not ashamed of my story or my daughters story and stand in the truth of who I was in the past and who I am today . I took back the purpose I had found years ago of helping others but I started with helping myself first.
And here I am again, remembering yet another time I put my daughter on a plane to go into treatment. It happened again just a few short weeks ago. Once again she is gone. Once again I am reminded that this is NOT my journey that I am watching. I am watching my daughter be controled by a disorder that has no mercy and tells her to stick with them…it will be ok…and it is a liar!!. I long for the calls that are positive and progress is shared. They don’t occur often but last night the call from her was . It filled my heart with joy and hope as I went to sleep last night.
In this time as we approach the holidays, again knowing we will be without our daughter at the table, I spend some of my time working on the launch of my podcast. In sharing my story over the last 5 years I have met so many that have shared theirs. I have met so many that have helped me, laughed with me, challenged me, walked with me, prayed with me and most of all loved me, my daughter and family. I am being nudged to share more and with many more.
I’ve learned through this time that my voice has been far too quiet over the years. I have not always known how to best express myself and sometimes I still don’t know exactly how to. What I do know is there are more like me out there, there are many. Many that need to know that it’s ok to be sad for a life that they thought they would have but turned out differently. It’s ok to be grateful . It’s ok to say to their family that they are heading to a yoga class or a walk in the park or to meet up with some girlfriends for dinner and they will be back later. It’s ok to love yourself and tell youself each day that you are enough and it is not your fault and it will be ok and the purpose of the struggles will be very clear someday albeit probably not now.
I’m excited to share as I launch and I hope you listen. I hope you share. I hope you find solice, laughter, wisdom and joy in the words that will be spoken and the stories and lessons that will be told. I hope you will find motivation to reclaim the joy back into your life that you may have lost along the way. It’s out there. But don’t wait for it to show up. You go get it. Reclaim the joy and happiness of a life worth living.