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Celebrations, Grief and Food



Remember the movie, Four Weddings and a Funeral?


Well, last weekend, my version was 2 Bar Mitzvahs and the first anniversary of my father’s passing (not quite as catchy).


It’s a set up for rampant, justified, even necessary emotional eating.


The angst had been building for the past couple of weeks as my body remembered the difficult months from the year before. I stopped being surprised by the daily tears. The anniversary would be the culmination.


Mix that with one of the most joyous, proud parenting moments, a Bar Mitzvah, the celebration of a 13 Year Old’s religious coming of age.


Multiplied by 2.


Made all the sweeter as my own sons are nearing this age. Throw in that I’ve watched these celebrants grow up and it’s a legitimate opportunity to cry for all the right reasons.


By Sunday night, I was exhausted and raw. I didn’t know what to do with all the swirling energy. I had to do something.


I can tell you what I used to do to calm that feeling down—drink wine and overeat.


This “treatment” seems to make so much sense—it physically alters the feeling. The disconnecting effects of the wine and the satisfying fullness of the belly not to mention the bursts of flavor feel like perfect distractions.


But there are consequences.


Consequences I’m no longer willing to accept.


Too many calories. Delaying the inevitable. Creating more work for me down the road. Just not worth it.


And I can handle feelings. I’ve seen me do it. Not pretty, but possible.


The beauty of the celebrations, the soft blanket of a whole year gone by and my practiced consciousness around food gave me enough space to slow down my reaction and choose differently.


It ended up looking like a combo of journaling, candy crush and a good Columbo rerun (with a little HGTV thrown in for good measure).


I’ll take it.


Not graceful, like a moonlit walk around a lake or service oriented, like visiting a hospice (is that what enlightened people would do?). I just made it through without too much escape. I felt the feelings (a bit numbed by TV and computer games) and I carried on.



This is what the middle looks like. It’s not overeating and it’s not serene—it’s growth.



So, that’s what I have for you this week—a testimony.


An inelegant but solid example of feeling the feelings and making it through to the other side—without mountains of food to postpone (and worsen) the suffering.



File it away and bring it out when you need it most:

As a reminder.

As comfort.

As a sincere love note.


We are all in this together.



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