My kids....My heart

My kids....My heart

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cletus Joseph Ribordy


Today would have been your 81st birthday. I think about you on days that aren't your birthday - but today you are especially close to my heart. It has been nearly ten years since the day we said our last goodbye to you, Grandpa. It seems impossible that that amount of time has come and gone. Our family has been blessed with the miracle of new life during that time. Your legacy continues through them.

Grandpa, I miss you. The day that you went to meet my grandma was painstakingly hard. Everyone in your room knew that we were preparing our last goodbyes – but there was no preparing our hearts for the sorrow that followed. I wanted so badly to be with you at that time – Something inside of me whispered that my grandma would be there to meet you – to see you through. I prayed, secretly, that I would get another moment to be in her presence. I am eternally grateful that I was there.

Our lives have changed in many ways since you left us. We have grown together and we have also grown apart. The growing apart, for me, has caused such deep sorrow. But, in those moments when I am able to watch the next generation of “Ribordys” interact with each other, love each other and develop that inner relationship – the sacred bond of sharing the same genes; my heart sings, and I delight in those moments. Family – the incredible – unbreakable bond of truly belonging to each other. There is no greater gift on earth than the gift of family. Thank you for the lifetime gift of my family.

Grandpa, on this day that marks the 81st anniversary of your birth, my thoughts are centered in gratitude. I thank you from the very core of my being for making it possible for me to be surrounded by the family you and my grandma created.

I love and miss you Grandpa - please hug Grandma for me.

**this is an updated, condensed version of a post that was originally created on the 8th anniversary of my grandpa's passing. If I could have one more conversation with my grandpa, I would start with the words, "Thank you."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Eighteenth To My Beautiful Baby Girl

This is a condensed version of the blog entry I posted on Katherine'e sixteenth birthday. Her dad and I have been blessed with a daughter who has an amazing spirit and very kind soul. Over these last two years she has only grown into a more beautiful young woman.
* And I've added a few more photos :)

When I think about what it means to be your mother, I think about my own mom. The only words that can express the way I feel about you both are pure, unconditional love. I think about how my mom has always been the most influential person in my life. She has always been my strength. For many, many years I wanted so badly to be a mom. For so long, I wsn't sure if that dream would ever come true. Since my own mother was the very best God had to offer, I prayed that I could be at least half the mother she was.

There are no words that can describe the overwhelming joy I felt the day your dad & I confirmed we were pregnant. Your birth was not just a gift to your dad and me. Katherine you truly have been a blessing to our entire family.

Now, here you are on the threshold of 16! The thought of it takes my breath away. I remember so vividly how at that age I was trying to figure out who I thought I was meant to be. I know now how excruciating it must have been for Nana to realize that she must let me go, to let me grow. I know now how she felt when she realized that children really don’t belong to their parents, they are gifts sent from God, to be loved, nurtured and guided in to adulthood. It’s not easy letting go….

So, please forgive me when I hold on too tightly, it is only because I can’t imagine that you are no longer my little girl. Forgive me when I embarrass you by bragging about your accomplishments, it is only because I am so proud of you. Forgive me when I set such high expectations that they seem impossible for you to reach, it is only because I have so much faith in you.

Katherine, you amaze me. I am proud to be your mother. You are compassionate and loving. You are kindhearted, honest and loyal. You are so much smarter than you believe yourself to be. You love your family with your whole heart and that fills my heart with joy.

Katherine, you are my daughter and you represent the very best part of me. I know that your light will continue to shine and will always brighten the lives of those around you.

I love you baby girl. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

There is no such thing as "Used to be an Anorexic"

There is no such thing as “Used to be an Alcoholic” similarly there is no such thing as “Used to be an Anorexic.” On January 1, 1985, I went on a diet. Some five or six years and probably thirty or so pounds later, I found a way to finally quit that damn thing. So, I no longer diet, but my brain is still Anorexic. It was never about the weight, really. Addiction, self loathing and absolute control. These words are the heart and soul of an eating disorder. I have searched my own mind and soul for the truth to this disease for many years and frankly I am not certain I have discovered the truth or that I ever will. Recently, I took a mental journey back to those treacherous days; many days that I lost completely to a very cruel disease. It is a disease I still do not fully comprehend

Along that mental journey I revisited:
v Hours of mental planning to make a meal look eaten
v Flushing expensive nutritional drinks down the toilet
v Sneaking to the restroom to do push ups and jumping jacks
v Tuesday mornings spent in the nurse’s office drinking as much water as the bladder could possibly hold to fool the scale and my mom. Tuesdays were “weigh in day”
v Filling my empty stomach on lettuce alone
v Staring down the scale, anticipating a read of 85 pounds
v Severe leg cramps waking me through the night. My legs curled and bent looked much like that of a handicapped child
v Arms from elbow to wrist turning black from lack of nourishment
v Size 10 – children’s
v Facial hair
v Brutal and repulsive thoughts that I could not turn off - Ever
v Psychiatric treatment that had me convinced the psychiatrist needed psychiatric help
v College study on the affect and treatment of Anorexia. Could you imagine watching an 88 pound woman lecturing on the dangers of Anorexia? A 30 page report no less
v 3:00am work outs followed by crawling back into bed to wake the husband up at 4:00am as though the alarm just went off
v Arguments, tears, and lies ~ lots of lies
v Unsuccessful interventions

How in the hell did I ever get to that place? I was a well adjusted teenager, right? So then how does one fall into the hands of this hideous disease? I don’t have the answer to that question. But I have a few theories. Did you know there is a connection between sexual abuse and developing an eating disorder? The connection is guilt, shame, self-punishment, soothing, comfort, protection and rage. Those words flood my mind, suffocate my soul and make me seethe with anger all at the same time. Years ago the school nurse where I work mentioned the correlation to me and it pissed me off. Honestly, I am still pissed off. Just recently I read an article which recited 40- 60% of people with an eating disorder have been molested and/or sexually assaulted in some way. Another article recited up to 80%. I am not sure if this information is accurate but it still makes me want to throw up. It does make some sense to me that the eating disorder is used like a tool to change the body image and therefore provides a defense against future abuses. However, such an explanation, tends to over simplify the disease. I’m quite certain that there is no one cause for a young lady to throw herself into the evils of Anorexia. I do know that once thrown in, the reality of making it out is incredibly bleak. As I look back, there was no rope long enough for me to grab to pull myself out and believe me everyone I knew was throwing a rope my way. The dictionary does not include a word that accurately expresses the guilt I feel for the suffering and absolute anguish I put my family and friends through during that dark period of my life. I despised every single moment of it. But even the guilt was not powerful enough to allow me to overcome such an ugly disease.

I am here today – and I am not anorexia free. Just as an alcoholic should never proclaim he is no longer an alcoholic, the survivor of an eating disorder should never be so bold as to proclaim themselves disease free. I can proclaim, however, that I am no longer abusing my mind or my body. I will never, ever diet again. My willpower is too killer. I now work out to strengthen, love, and show appreciation for my body~ not to admonish it. Today, my mind and my heart have been healed in some pretty fractured places, but the journey is not over.