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How I Overcame My Eating Disorder Part 5: Lessons and Loss

Posted Aug 04 2011 5:47pm

This post is the fifth in a series. You may wish to read the first four sections prior to reading this.

How I Overcame My Eating Disorder Part 1: How My Eating Disorder Began

How I Overcame My Eating Disorder Part 2: Treatment Begins

How I Overcame My Eating Disorder Part 3: Downs and Tragedy

How I Overcame My Eating Disorder Part 4: Recovery Begins

Note: the information I share in this series is my story and what has worked for me. Everyone is different and it’s important to determine what techniques and strategies help you. My advice does not replace the advice of a certified medical professional and I highly recommend that anyone who is struggling with disordered eating seek care from the appropriate specialists. ( Treatment Finder )


How I Overcame My Eating Disorder Part 5: Lessons and Loss

During the fall of 2006 I decided to take a weekend off from my line cook job to visit my parents and go to James Madison University’s Homecoming festivities. My dad’s cancer had returned that past summer and he had started another round of chemo. I could tell that although he was still pushing through the symptoms, that his health was fading.

dad lizzie jonathan

Upon returning to Chicago, I simply couldn’t stop thinking about my dad. If I could go back to D.C. and spend whatever time I had left with my dad then that was exactly what I was going to do. Nick was wonderful about my decision to quit my job and move home for the time being. Of course, he didn’t have to worry much about whether I would return because I proposed to him a couple weeks before leaving.

I feel amazingly fortunately to have been able to spend 6 months with my parents before my dad died in May 2007. During that time I hung out with my dad as much as possible and tried my best to be helpful to my parents. My dad withstood such an inhuman amount of pain, nausea, discomfort, and fear that it is difficult to describe. Though the stress of his illness was hard on me, I was able to push my unhealthy behaviors aside at that time because I needed all the energy I could get to deal with the stress of the situation. Also, seeing my dad fight for his life made me appreciate mine that much more.

Watching my dad die was an experience that haunts me often, yet I am glad that I was able to be there for him, for my family, and for me.


Loss is a funny thing. It makes you feel so lucky to have had such an amazing person in your life yet so cheated because that person is suddenly gone. I’m not a religious person but to be honest, I often wish that I was because the notion of an afterlife is much more appealing then trying to comprehend that my beloved dad and sister are gone forever.

Yes there is more, coming soon…

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