Ana’s Reason 8.

Series: Under the Surface – Ana’s 13 Reasons Why

A series of posts uncovering what is really beneath my anorexia and depression.

Reason 1: Genetic Temperament Traits

Reason 2: Inheritance

Reason 3: My parents’ marriage. And divorce. And remarriage. To each other.

Reason 4: Genes load the gun. Environment pulls the trigger.

Reason 5: Mama dies.

Reason 6: Unrequited Love. Repeatedly.

Reason 7: I never left college.

Reason 8. I went from only child/grandchild to orphan in three months.

Remember how I’ve said if I wrote a book about my life, the book would be split into two parts divided by the year 2008?

There were many reasons for that, including moving to Seattle, meeting Jesse, and leaving my Christian faith for a decade. Reason #8 is probably the most defining period of my entire life though: my father and grandmother (my best friend) died within three months of each other, leaving me with no immediate family.

Here’s the deal: I had a VERY small family.

  • It was Mama, Daddy, and me. Only child.
  • On Mama’s side, there was Grandma, an uncle, and an aunt. Only grandchild.
  • On Daddy’s side, there was both grandparents, an uncle, an aunt, and their three kids. I was one of four grandchildren and had a grand total of three first cousins. I was the only grandchild that lived close to my grandparents. Not only grandchild, but often had the focus of the grandparents.

To say I was doted on growing up is an understatement.

  • My grandma had a HUGE portrait of me in her foyer (my BFF still likes to bring this up often).
  • I basically got what I wanted when I wanted it, and didn’t have to worry about anything.
  • No hand-me-downs for this gal.
  • I got a car for my 16th birthday (granted, it was my dad’s car and he got the actual new car). I got another car when his car died on me just a few months later.
  • I did not incur any student debt for college.

Sure, I had some hard times growing up, as I have mentioned in most posts of this series. But overall, a good deal on childhood. When Mama died, that definitely rocked the boat.

But I still had everyone else, namely Daddy and Grandma.

Then, on August 30, 2008, I got the call. The call you never want to get. If you want to read a little more, here’s a post I wrote on my old blog called Life Without Daddy. He died on September 4th, 2008, and it was a completely unexpected, shouldn’t have happened, turn of events. I was an adult orphan. If you want to read the full version, I wrote a few posts one year later that provide the details. Start here and click on “newer posts” at the bottom. The posts are August 30 – September 4, 2009.


Daddy & me when I graduated with my Masters degree (2006).

In early 2008, my grandmother sold her house and moved in with family. She was very ready to be on to the next thing (Heaven). Our conversations dwindled over time, as far as her interest and understanding. When I told her Daddy died, she asked, “Why does everyone else get to go first?” That’s how done she was. She died peacefully in her sleep on December 3, 2008.


Here I was, still having daily panic attacks and nightly nightmares after Daddy’s death, and then Grandma died too. I had already quit a professional job and started shelving books at Barnes & Noble to try to survive, but I really didn’t know if I could go on without both of them.

I was 30.5 years old and had no immediate family. No parents, no grandparents, no siblings, no partner (JJ and I had been dating 7 months at that point).

I did still have my aunt, uncle, and cousins. They took me in an made me part of their family. JJ and I got married, and had LK. I have family now.

Though I do have a semblance of family now, I have a hole in my heart. Ana fills the hole by telling me that I need to be thin. I need to be fun and interesting. The people that love you unconditionally because they have to are all dead.

Ana reminds me:

  • Keep making people love you.
  • Keep looking like you are fine.
  • Keep not needing much from anyone else.
  • Keep trying because if you don’t, it all goes away.

I was told in late 2008 by a “friend” that I was too much. My grief was a burden. After that, I almost never talk about myself unless directly asked questions. I don’t make friends easily. I am constantly worried I will be annoying, in someone’s way, a burden.

Earlier this year, I stopped treatment early and went back to work because I could not deal with how much of a burden I was – to JJ, my MIL, my co-workers and boss.

I don’t want to be a burden. It’s the way I move about in the world.

learned to be alone

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Eleanor Triolo says:

    Peggy, sometimes your blog makes my heart hurt, as this one did. I just want you to know that to me you are family. I know I am just your MILs MIL, but I have always considered JJ as my grandson, so that makes you my granddaughter. And since I met you, I have really liked you as a person. I think you’re smart and funny, but especially I think you’re good for JJ. I enjoyed the brief time I spent with you and wish it was more. If you ever decided to visit NC I would be as excited as I would be if ANY of my grands visited. I just wanted you to know you do have more family, if you want us.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Dawn says:

    And in the end I learned to be strong alone…

    Pierces my heart but in kind of get it. Getting to the place where “His” strength is made perfect in my weaknesses not so easy.

    Thank you again for your transparency whether we have gone through the same thing or more it resonated with my soul and helps me too.

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