I needed to write this when the moment was here, present, real and oh-so uncomfortable.
Yesterday marked the 12 year anniversary of the passing of my stepdad. Len (or Lenny as he was known to close friends) raised me with my mom from the time I was five. He essentially helped me become the person I am today. My humour, humble roots and compassion came from him. His work ethic, love of learning and exploring are all traits that I am proud to have adopted.
Like every year that has passed, we planned his favourite dinner and dessert – pasta with meat sauce and my mom’s legendary homemade dark chocolate cake with white icing.
I was sad though. More than other years. And I while I think of him every day and remind him that he is missed, yesterday was super tough. I finally had to crawl into bed around noon as the feelings were overwhelming. I cried. A lot. And drifted in and out of consciousness. I didn’t think too much; I just felt the feelings. I finally got my ass out of bed two hours later to make my homemade white icing that would lay a top the cake for all of us to enjoy later in the evening.
And then, I started searching for comfort. I licked the bowl. And the quick spiral downhill started. I licked and licked and licked until there was nothing left. What’s a little sugar going to do?….
Dinnertime came. I decided to veer off the typical path of white pasta and jarred sauce. I made whole wheat spaghetti and made my sauce from scratch. I had a regular portion and then, the old familiar red-wine induced slurred speech, blurred vision and congestion reared themselves. But I didn’t stop there. I finished my third glass and then, as I walked into the kitchen to clear my plate, I allowed myself this… (yes, a few white shells of pasta. I inhaled quickly so that I would think back later to even wonder if it had taken place).
As my mom cut the cake, and I looked at the picture of Len, I was my former self. In that moment, I was the overweight me. Not taking any notice of what I was eating, drinking or feeling. The fact that I recognized this should have been enough. But it wasn’t. I needed numbing and this was it. More wine and my fourth piece of cake, I was done. Barely able to walk upstairs, I laid down in my son’s bed and the guilt and regret started. And not to mention the wicked room-spins.
I was sick. Very sick. The excruciating sugar pains started. My stomach in knots at 1am, I started having a panic attack. Now for those of you who have never experience the wonder that is the panic attack, let me describe this to you. Imagine the room you are in going completely dark, and all you hear and feel is the overly rampant beat of your heart. You sweat, shake and in no possible way, are able to control your breath. I am a master at controlling my breath. This is what solely gets me through my 5k runs, my workouts and any stressful situation. But during a panic attack, there is no hope.
I focused, I tried, and all I could do was surrender the moment. It was awful. And there were moments I actually thought I was having a heart attack.
So, how do I feel this morning?
After spending the better part of an hour in the washroom (this is what happens to my body when foreign ingredients are consumed) and missing my Monday morning gym appointment, I am down at the lake reflecting on how absolutely terrible the last 14 hours have been.
All for some comfort in wine and cake.
What’s the lesson from today? Nothing really. This isn’t something you’ll read and think about before indulging because really, you have to live through these shit moments yourself; you need to realize the journey you’re on is worth so much more than the taste of chocolate cake, the comfort in the feeling of the past and a loved one whom you have lost. I needed to go through this. And because I have and I am present in what it felt like, I wont do it again. That’s the old me.