The Art of Healing

THE HARDEST THING

The hardest thing I had to learn was how to deal with the impotent rage that stalked my every thought when juggling work, family and the demands of caring for a very sick child.

My daughter’s illness arrived by stealth. Maybe it began when she was ten years old, maybe eleven. I can’t say. I just know that she began to slip – slowly at first, very slowly – into the grip of anorexia nervosa. You would think that alarm bells would have rung, given all the news headlines and media commentary focused on the problem of eating disorders in young girls. Yet I failed to see its looming shadow. Why would my child get an eating disorder? Besides, I was preoccupied with work commitments, the routine of an active family – school drop-offs and pick-ups for my daughter, after-school activities – and the demands of running a household. By the time she was twelve, the ‘puppy fat’ my daughter loathed had melted off her and she was growing tall. Still, she asked me to serve her smaller portions of food. When I ignored this request, she left the unwanted food on the plate. Maybe, I thought, I was serving her too much food now that she had slimmed down. But

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