TRIGGER WARNING: this post deals with anorexia and death
Oh, but you were beautiful. Dancing against the župa night sky. Hair in the breeze, arms in the air. Laughing so hard tears squeezed out of your eyes. Doubled over, gasping. This is how I’ll remember you, beautiful Daniela.
This illness has robbed you of almost 20 years of your life. Even when you became ill, initially, you still had a spark about you. You’d drink cocktails and go for dinner. Who knows how much you were hiding though?
You were less than four stone when you died. 21kg. We thought that you couldn’t get lighter than 29kg. 29, last summer, when you couldn’t stand up straight. When you ripped the feeding tubes out of your body. When you walked with a stick. When you fell and couldn’t be picked up. But you continued. You proved us wrong. There was further for you to sink.
And oh, that sadness. That horror, to think of this as a number. 21kg. What does that mean? Nives is two years old and weighs about 14. I weigh three times 21. What does it mean? It means desperation and sadness and a commitment above everything, everything. It means death.
It means that there was little chance of coming back. Of you experiencing the things I held dear to me: you would never lie awake listening to your baby breathing; you would never feel pudgy arms around your neck. You wouldn’t make it down the aisle, you wouldn’t travel, you’d never make it to Japan or New York. You had no chance of making a living. Making a living. How can someone who doesn’t want to live, make a living?
You cut yourself off. I hadn’t heard from you in years. I wrote emails and then cards and letters that went unanswered. I wanted you to know I still cared about you. I thought by telling you my news and reaching out I was providing some comfort, an egotistical thing. Who knows where you found comfort, but it wasn’t from me.
Oh god, Daniela. Before my mouth forms to question why, I know it’s futile. I hear the reasons, I heard the way you were living. But my mind stubbornly wanders back to cocktails and sunbathing on inflatable rings, on you talking about how you organise your shoes and your earrings. To mocking weirdoes doing exercises on taraca. This, I say, is how I’ll remember you.
But what does it matter how I remember? You’re gone. Gone now. Your poor mother, I think. God, to have had to live with you, though. I can’t imagine how many times you broke her heart. How much love can sustain us when all else is lost? When people say “oh I can’t imagine what she is going through”. Well, I can’t. I can’t.
Goodbye, beautiful Daniela. I’m so sorry you didn’t get better. And fuck you, anorexia. Fuck you to hell.