Friday, 11 May 2012

"I can put a salad together for him if that's easier"...

Said my sister-in-law a year ago when we spent a couple of days with her for Granddad Matty's funeral. With so many people arriving left, right and centre, the easiest thing to do was for everyone to have fish'n'chips, the prospect of which, of course, sent the eating disorder into turmoil...

"Er, we might have a problem with that", I said to her as Ben whispered to me that no way was he going to eat fish'n'chips.

"Well I suppose I could put a salad together for him if that's easier", she said, "He can have that while we all have the take-out meal".

The kind of thing you'd say if someone was on a diet - slimming or for health / allergy reasons.

But everything in my being cried out "Feed him double portions of fish'n'chips! And while you're at it pile on the sausages in batter, even the deep fried Mars Bars, pies, the works!!!"

If only, hey...

Yet again it became painfully clear that here we are in a world where as much food as you can manage is within instant reach, yet our anorexic teenagers starve themselves like children in the third world.

How many times have I been round the supermarket and thought: "Here I am surrounded by so much food it's almost obscene. Yet my son is unable to eat any of it."

It is the most peculiar and disturbing feeling.

And, although they mean well, people that don't understand eating disorders often make 'helpful' remarks like my sister-in-law made a year ago.

So while everyone was getting settled into her house and snacking on biscuits, cake and cups of tea... Ben's ravenous teenage cousins salivating at the prospect of a massive slap-up meal... I whisked Ben off on a walk round the block to come up with a food solution.

Thankfully, by this time he was actively cooperating in his recovery, so the discussion was about how to get sufficient food into him without resorting to the salad, yet without risking the fish'n'chips which I knew for a fact he'd just refuse. Being a funeral gathering, an ED rage probably wasn't the best thing to happen, so I wanted to avoid it at all costs.

So Ben and I sneaked off to the supermarket to stock up on snacks - and later H, Ben and I went to the local pub for a meal.

My mother-in-law didn't like it; thought we were being anti-social and blamed it on me.

But who cares because, at the end of the day, it was Ben's recovery and sustained weight gain that mattered.


  1. Well done to both of you for handling such a difficult situation. A funeral is always hard and it must have been harder with the ED.
    At my grandmother's funeral before Christmas eating at the wake was really scary - I made my mother pick my food for me so I didn't have too much or too little, then sat and talked to my cousin so I wasn't tempted to purge. I would have felt so guilty purging at her wake.

  2. We have had funeral meals that have been really difficult too. One that went OK was father-in-law's. The reason why it went OK was that ex-sister in law looked after us which, since she was an EX even at the time was very good of both her, and mother-in-law who welcomed her as part of the family