"Written with Love and in Memory of Emilee Jordan" (By: Elizabeth Jordan)
I can remember the day I came home from the hospital like it were yesterday…As I stepped in the mini van, I felt like I was stepping into change; Change I was not sure I was prepared for, but knew I had to accept, because I was given the rare opportunity to live again; to “really” live.
As we made our way back to my home, I sat in complete awe. Awe of the things that I felt I had missed the months I was in recovery. Honestly, I was sheltered away from the harsh realities that were present outside of the hospital walls. Do not get me wrong, a majority were good, but I was afraid of how the unwanted realities would affect my journey from here on out, as I continue my battle with Anoreixa Nervosa. Leaving the hospital was just the beginning of a journey that would continue throughout my life…
As I sat thinking, I became overwhelmed with emotion as I saw my family standing in our driveway. As we slowly arrived and pulled into my drive way, I saw my sisters and their friends holding signs saying “Welcome Home, We Love You!”. My heart was light and as I slowly stepped out of the van, still weak from sitting in the hospital bed for months, my oldest sister Emilee burst into tears and ran to me. She embraced me, and I began to cry as I felt her arms tightly wrap aroud my small,fragile frame. She held on as if she would never see me again. Through her embrace, I felt her pain for me, but I also felt her pure happiness to have me home, at last. I felt such joy and a love that I still can not describe. My life was about to take off, and I had a family.Although they are still far from perfect, I had a family of support, love, and accountability.
Now, today, I am reminded of another harsh reality. The reality that my sister, Emilee, is no longer here on Earth. Today is the two year anniversary of her death. She was killed August 26 ,2012 in a car accident at the young age of 21. I miss her sometimes so terribly that it even hurts to breathe. However, she is in the realms of glory with Jesus... A place I cannot wait to experience.
So..you are probably wondering where I am going with all of this..I know that so far there has been story after story of heavy loss, but I am here to tell you that they are heavy stories that encompass hope and a testimony that breathes life into others. Today is not a day of remorse and pain, but of life-giving and life-changing hope. You are probably wondering what this has to do with eating disorders…it has everything to do with eating disorders...
”Perspective is the very thing that can draw one into the very valley of this disorder and it is also the very thing that can pull someone out; it is not mere persepctive of oneself that is encompassed, but the persective of those around them.”
To be more percise, the perspective of a family whose loved one is either in the very beginning stages of this disorder, in the deep root, or coming out of a long battle. Furthermore, I want to focus on the persective of the family.
I have wondered and thought through my own experience and the lasting impact that my disorder has placed on my family. To this day, many of them bring up my past experience and still yearn to understand; to understand why I found myself falling into it, and what they did wrong (it was never their fault)….
I have read various blogs where many share their testimoies about their personal struggle with an eating disorder and as they type page after page, they try so desperatley to unravel why they started down the destructive path. Many claimed that their family was in the midsts of hardship. However, they had no idea the very thing that brought such bagged emotion would be the very thing to motivate them to push forward into the realms of recovery.
I have talked to many friends who are on the road to recovery who continue to claim that they still struggle with trying to understand this disorder. That is when I am reminded that this is a disorder that does not have an answer that is in clear black and white. Yes, there is research and wonderful recovery programs that have proved to be helpful and work. However, like I previously mentioned, each disorder is different and encompasses its own complexities. There have been people who have have delt with this disorder who come from broken homes, no homes, and who were born into a fabulous life and family. Each case is individual and one cannot simply be placed into a pot with the rest. I am no expert, this is merely my opionion. However, it is an opionin that I hold so strongly to my heart. I come from a home that was hard growing up, but I was blessed. Ultimatley, various things impact the creation of this disorder, but it all comes down to perspective and how we allow things to affect the way in which we live out our life. Also, wether or not we will allow ourselves to practice self-compassion, self-love, and move forward and “refuse to sink”.
With that being said, If you are a family member or close friend of a loved one who has delt with or who is currently dealing with an eating disorder, I encourage you to be reminded that it is okay to not understand. Do not feel like you are helpless and of no use. You ARE! It is great to research and learn more about the illness; that can prove to be very helpful, epecially when trying to support a loved one in their journey. However, from my personal experience, I did not yearn to be understood. To me it was not neccesary. I just wanted someone to sit with me, encourage me, push me, and remind me of the person I am and the created value I have. May you go today reminded of the gem that you are and the importance that you hold in this world..we are all in this life together.
To close, I wanted to share a few quotes that have proved helpful to me. I pray they touch you and help you in some way(you do not have to be as survior of an eating disorderto find these quotes useful to your life) :)
**“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”**- Abraham Maslow
**“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.”**- Laurie Halse Anderson
**“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”**- Mary Anne Radmacher
**“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”**- Martin Luther King Jr.
♥♥♥I dedicate this blog and today to my sister, Emilee Genell Jordan; who fought for me, encouraged me, and reminded me daily of my importance and ability to share hope..and who now reminds me daily of the gift of life and hope that awaits..♥♥♥
About the Author
Elizabeth Jordan is a junior at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a social work major and worship arts minor. She was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of thirteen. Her experience with the illness has created in her a passion to work and help others dealing with similar circumstances. She plans on using her degrees to focus on the issue of eating disorders and assure that the truth is always communicated and lives are transformed and changed. Also, her hope is that she can somehow intertwine her passion for leading worship with her passion for helping others who are enveloped in this life-threatening illness or who are in danger of its development in their life. Her hope is that as she helps in her future profession and now, she helps bring joy to everyone she comes into contact with, because we are all in this life together.