Prelude to Meg’s Anorexia
As Meg’s mother, I’d like to tell my version of her story not only for the people who might be helped by reading it but also for myself. By putting my thoughts down on paper, I hope they’ll be released from the revolving door in my mind where they seem forever trapped and spinning endlessly around, especially at night when I’m trying to sleep. After all, I’ve had plenty of time to think about this: Meg was anorexic for seventeen years before she died a year and a half ago. But I feel that I have to begin with the back story in order to get at the truth.
The progression of Meg’s disease differs from other stories of anorexics that I’ve read or heard about. She wasn’t the tween trying to be the perfect little girl. That was never Meg’s place in our family. And place is important. Meg was the younger of our two children; they were the same sex and almost five years apart, the Viet Nam War came between their births. Everyone today knows that when you have only two children and they’re the same sex that one, often the first, is the achiever and the second tries to be as different as possible to capture their share of parental attention even if it’s negative attention. In the 70’s, I had to go to a child development class to find this out. Meg older sister, lets call her Kae, had the achiever place sewed up. The second place went to our Meg. Poor kid.
We always said that Meg was given to our family to teach us how to kick back and have fun. As a baby she was always beaming at everyone; she even slept through the night when we brought her home form the hospital. Meg officially became the family clown as soon as she was able to toddle around. One morning I left the laundry on my bed intending to put it away later. Well, Meg got into it and donned my underwear over her yellow Doctor Dentin’s and started jumping up and down on the bed calling, Mama, Mama. Her sister and I came running in. What a site. Kae said, “Quick, get the camera.” This is just one example of her personality; she was always trying to make people laugh.
And we really needed Meg’s laid back personality in our family.