It was strangely comforting to write about Meg as my funny, independent little girl. And now I’m beginning to see another reason for writing about my daughter: to reveal her as authentic human being and not merely an anorexic.
For so many years after Meg became anorexic, she was the elusive young woman fading in and out of our family who may or may not show up for key events like Dad’s retirement, Grandpa’s funeral, Sister’s wedding, or promised visits home for the holidays. I think she always wanted to be there, but hated the scrutiny. Family and friends, especially me, have placed so much focus on the last seventeen years of Meg’s life that we’ve forgotten the first eighteen. We’ve forgotten her spirit. So I’ll continue on, and try to explain what I believe happened to Meg’s spirit. But now I’ll be leaving comfort behind because I have to talk about our move from Virginia to Hawaii and what happened to Meg there that lay the groundwork for her disease.
Looking back, we were very happy in Virginia. My husband, Joe, was able to extend our tour so we actually lived in one place for four years. Meg at fourteen was finally part of a great group of kids who just graduated from middle school together. Her sister, Kae, was in her first year of college in NYC and loved coming home on all her holidays and breaks to the smell of my homemade Italian sauce simmering or her favorite chicken casserole baking in the oven. Since we lived on base, Dad was able to walk to his job a block away and after work, walk two blocks to the marina and his precious sailboat. As for me, I was in an honor’s program at a local junior college finally feeling that I was doing what I was meant to do. Then Dad came home with the bad news: we had to transfer to Hawaii. There were loud protests from all three females. Meg indignant, said “But it’s soooooooooooo far away!” Over the phone Kae begged, “Couldn’t Dad get his assignment changed.” Dad tried but the answer was no.
Military life isn’t easy, but this move was excruciatingly painful. We had established, what to us was, a “wonderful life”.