Friday, February 3, 2012

My Nephew and My Dad - smarter than I will ever be

When I think about my weight and all that I have done to lose weight, maintain a particular weight, and 'be normal' I have to think that most of it until about 3 years ago wasn't very sane.  I mean, I was in Weight Watchers a lot, but I still had disordered thinking about food and about emotions.  I have been really reflecting in life lately and I realize that there were two people (one I know pretty well and one I didn't know as well as I wanted to) that were very wise people for two very different reasons.  The first is my dad.  He suffered a lot being raised by alcoholic parents and with significant poverty.  He learned the value of work.  He learned the value of just moving on, despite the pain and agony and hurt.  I don't think he learned to be in tune with his emotions, but he is 70+ years old, so I will give him a pass.  However, when I would stress about not being perfect or just right or thin enough, he would somehow say things that made sense despite not getting similar guidance when he was younger.  He would remind me that I was a good person, despite the vessel I was in, and that worrying, crying, being overly dramatic about it wouldn't really change my situation. He would talk to me about what I could do.  My mother also did this too, but for some reason I heard it better from my dad (probably daddy's little girl syndrome).  I always thought about the way that he was raised, and how he decided to do differently despite the odds.  He didn't drink.  He didn't say overly critical or mean things.  He didn't yell and he didn't berate a person for things they weren't able to do.  He was probably the first person who taught me that different wasn't deficient.  He would take me to work with him in the summer, and show me how to do things, and was pretty patient.  He would take me fishing, camping, hunting - same result.  The idea was to just live and try to enjoy.  I know that he wasn't very happy for many years of his life, and that he was not given support and encouragement as a child in that same way.  Perhaps he did, but from my experience with our family I think it would have come from his dad too.  I digress really - what I am trying to say is that he always told me that it was my behavior that was going to be my trouble - nothing else.  I have tried to live by that rule in all things but by eating, particularly in my adult years.  I have tried to work hard, and I have tried to keep my feelings in check, but I did that through food.  I just became the addict his parents were, but with food instead of alcohol.  Perhaps he did too, as he struggles with weight, but it wasn't until the last few years that he started to lose his life.

My second experience was with my nephew Seth.  He was my first husband's nephew, but they always allowed me into their life. In fact, I knew Seth's dad before I knew my first husband.  He passed away this summer, but he LIVED right up to the end.  He didn't stop living.  When people would come to him and be upset, he would say, I want to live and I am probably not going to because of this cancer, but you can LIVE for me and do the things I can't do.   Like my father, this resonated with me.  He didn't have it easy and he didn't have it great, but LIFE mattered more to him that feeling bad, being miserable, and not taking care of ourselves.  He died before he could live, but in ways, he lived more of a life than I have in nearly 40.  He tried new things, he wasn't embarrassed by his personal differences, he embraced the differences of others, and loved them for it.  He didn't spend his life in perpetual question of himself.  Like my father - he just LIVED.  I am sure there was internal strife, but he did things like write lyrics and draw to get that out.  He LIVED.   He told me just before he passed away to not cry but LIVE.  So, as I write this, I am CRYING and living.  

My other nephew was killed and I didn't know him.  I saw him two times in his life for reasons too hard to express here.  I feel like he wanted to LIVE but didn't know how.   My Uncle Bill passed a year ago yesterday, and I know he wanted to LIVE.  He was so full of life when I was kid and he was an integral part of my growing up - bringing his kids with us camping, and playing and enjoying.  My husband just lost his grandmother - who lived through the depression, cancer, the death of her daughter through 4 grueling years of cancer, and the loss of her loving husband.  Yet, she was very positive and loving and LIVED despite those things.  

I guess the meaning of life is to LIVE it.....


  1. Hi Barb, we have never met - and I wish that we had. You are an inspiration and your words of wisdom make me want to be a better person just by reading them. Thank you for who you are and always rememer - you are the bomb-digity!!! Thank you - Terri

    1. Perhaps some day we shall Terri! And thank you for your kind words! I appreciate them very very much!