A few months before I told on my sister, I paged through the current Teen Magazine.There was an article about anorexia and bulimia, and what to do if you—or someone you loved—suffered from them.
Tell, the article said. Tell.
My sister, Katie, had gotten the stomach flu over Christmas. Except I noticed, sharing a bathroom with her, that it never went away. A few weeks went by, and then I read the article, and my wheels started turning.
One day I added up the plot points. Katie was bulimic.
I was the kind of kid that followed directions. So I told our mom.
I was scared, yes. Terrified for Katie. But alongside that, I felt special and chosen, because I was the one who was going to save my sister’s life. I was the kid with a good head on her shoulders, coming alongside someone who was falling apart. I was the one who’d fix things.
Not long after, my mom took Katie to a hospital for evaluation, which is also what the books said to do, and after they evaluated my sister’s case, they recommended that my mom enroll her that day, that moment in their residential program.
I was in the kitchen when my mom returned alone. She came in and set her purse on the counter.
“I left her there,” she said. “They said I had to or Katie could die.”
When my mom is about to cry, the skin around her nose turns pink, and she purses her lips. I watched her face start to crumple, and I felt like throwing up myself.
What have I done? I wondered.
I’m at SheLoves today, talking about how redemption sometimes comes slow, and healing does not always look clean and tidy. Join me there.
Image credit: Matito