Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   May 10

Everything and Nothing

Lately it feels like this blog has been suffering from an identity crisis.  The title, Fat Girl Wearing Thin leads the reader to believe that he/she will stumble upon a series of posts that are related to weight loss or maintenance, but the last several posts have read more like a train wreck.  Writings of health decisions, major surgeries, deaths, mourning.  Today I’m just writing for me – because I need to.  It’s about everything, yet nothing.  Feel free to read or skip today, depending on how you’re feeling.


For the past 12 years I knew that my job was temporary, but I became comfortable as the years went on.  If anyone was going to live to celebrate her 100th birthday, it was this woman.  Every medical appointment she attended left her doctors impressed at how healthy she was for her age.  In fact, just last week she had a complete physical.  Her blood work came back better than people half her age.

I feel as though I’ve lost a spouse; a mother; my closest friend.  For twelve years we were in constant contact with one another.  She was my responsibility and I felt needed.  And loved.  Now, I feel useless.

The one piece of comfort I can take in all of this is that I was able to keep my promise to her.  She wanted nothing more than to live in her home until she died.  I told her that I would do everything in my power to make that happen, and that I would take care of her until the very end.  I’m very grateful that she died not having to go to ‘Senior Camp’ (her common term for a nursing home), nor did she suffer.  As the ache becomes less intense, I’ll remember my promise to her as one of my greatest accomplishments.

Surgery.  I am scheduled for the morning of June 5th.  Funny how it isn’t that important to me, anymore.  All that worrying and now I barely think about it.  I’m sure that will change as it gets closer.  I recently realized that the majority of my loose skin resides in my lower tummy area and that is also where the scar will be.  If not done properly, my stomach could end up looking worse than it already does.  I put in a call to the doctor to see whether or not I should have a consultation with a plastic surgeon.  No bikinis in my closet these days so no worries there, but I feel that I should avoid further trauma to my skin if at all possible.

The comforting words you’ve all sent to my inbox and/or left as a comment once again reminds me of how lucky I am to live in this online neighborhood.  I can’t thank you enough for your love and kindness, and  hope you’ll stick with me as I make my way through these changes in my life.  As I find my way beyond today, I think of this pin I found on Pinterest:


Ain’t it the truth.




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  1. Roxie says:

    Sending you virtual hugs.

    It is a great accomplishment, Ellen. I know your charge and the Universe love you for it. What a beautiful gift you gave to your dear friend.

  2. E. Jane says:

    What a lovely friend you have been to this woman. Life is so fragile, but she must have lived a spectacular life! What you did for her is amazing, kind, compassionate, loving…and a million other good things!! You are truly a special person!

  3. A friend whose husband lost his battle with cancer a few years ago said the worst part of the grieving process was that she didn’t know what to *do*. She felt like she was simply drifting.

    With the good memories you have of your patient/friend, and your compassion, I’m sure you will find a new purpose as you recover from surgery. You have so much to offer!

  4. Norma says:

    An unexpected loss puts a lot of things into sharp perspective. I know you were really at odds with the surgery, then accepting it, but still dreading it and now not even caring about it…your tribute to your friend/employer was so wonderful and I think in many ways she maybe was a kind of role model for you. Take those lessons learned from her life and keep moving forward!~

  5. Caron says:

    I love the little “orange person” at the end. Your friend sounds like a very wonderful person and I know you are missing her. As for the surgery, I hope you get everything worked out so that you can accomplish two things at once if that’s what you decide to do. As fast as the first third of the year has gone, you’ll be done in three shakes of a lamb’s tail. :)

  6. Sharon says:

    Love the flowers and yes, how thoughtful! Those kindnesses that reflect that the sender really felt what you were feeling are just the best, aren’t they??

  7. Amalfi Girl says:


    You are an amazing human being. And this is an amazing post. It’s important to see all of the things that go on in a person’s life–not just struggles with body/weight/eating issues, but the underlying problems that lead to those issues (like grief, fear, trauma). Believe it or not, the unexpected nature of her death doesn’t affect your grief–if she had been very sick for a long time, and the doctors told you it would be a matter of hours, not days or months, it would still come as a shock. It is wonderful that you are trying to focus on the fact that you fulfilled your promise to her–YOU DID. That’s amazing. Know that you are so loved and appreciated and it will get better. One day this will all be a distant memory that helped make you who you will become.

  8. Cindy says:

    Your gift to Patty that allowed her stay home until the end of her life is truly immeasurable. Anyone with parents who are facing this dilemma understand how blessed she was to have you. Take care.

  9. Hanlie says:

    I read the blogs I read because I like the authors, not for weight loss and fitness advice. It’s all just part of life and I love how you’ve changed your life and made it meaningful and inspirational. You are in my thoughts during this time of bereavement.

  10. Thank you for sharing this with us. It doesn’t matter what the title of your blog is. It’s your blog and it’s all part of life. I hope blogging helps you along this journey as you adjust because it sounds like a lot of change will come in the near future… Thinking of you.

  11. To me, what you write about, all of it, is part of what weight loss and maintenance is all about: dealing with life and everything that happens.

    “Sorrow comes in great waves… but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain. It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; and it is blind, whereas we after a manner see. … but it is only a darkness, it is not an end, or the end…” ~ Henry James, in a letter to Grace Norton

  12. Goodnuff says:

    I can not even imagine how hard this has all been on you. I can tell just from what you’ve written that she was a lady I would have enjoyed knowing. Lucky me that I get to know about her from you, a lady I’m glad that I do “know”. I look forward to posts from you no matter what they are about so keep on writing and sharing, maybe it will help you while it enriches my life.

  13. debby says:

    Oh Ellen, you are such a good writer. You wrote what I have felt many times in the last year since my dad died. And I know from being a nurse that when you spend that much concentrated time with someone, it is a very very deep loss, one that many people won’t understand. Give yourself all the time you need to grieve.

    And yes, that will be a wonderful memory, that you were able to help her to live as independently and as fully as possible. I can only hope for an Ellen in my life when the time comes. XXOO

  14. Joan says:

    Dear Ellen, this is such a beautifully written tribute to Patty, and the comments are beautiful too. Your love for her shines through this post and I just want to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this heavy, heavy month. xx

  15. vickie says:

    Maintenance is all about change and dealing in my opinion, so the posts you write that feel the most off base/topic, are probably the ones which are the most on topic.

    I will be very interested to see what they say about your excess skin/tummy. For years I have been telling my husband if I need emergency surgery and am too out of it to remember, to please ask them to fix the skin while they are there.

  16. Tim says:

    To keep your promise just shows what an amazing woman you are, Ellen.

  17. […] been over a week since Patty’s death; you’d think after a week I’d be okay with talking on the phone.  Unfortunately, no.  […]

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