Sunday, November 20, 2011

R.I.P Rebekah Sharp~ another beautiful soul lost to anorexia's terrorizing grips~

Rebekah passed away Saturday morning after years of battling this tormenting disease we call anorexia. She fought hard and long for many years. Anorexia and eating disorders in general are unrelenting and torture to say the least. Rebekah felt she was a burden to everyone for struggling so long and could no longer keep up the fight~ She leaves behind her precious little 4 year old Emma and husband Stephan as well as her extended family and friends. The past 48 hours have been heartwrenching to say the least. So many of us in the eating disorder community who spent time with Rebekah in treatment as well as on fb are devastated and the grief is deep.

My head has been spinning since Saturday. I have cried and yelled and curled up in a ball on the couch with a quilt over my head. My headaches are severe, my body aches, and my eyes still burn. I can't hold a conversation more than a few minutes without crying. I am sad to say I am not alone in this as many others in our sisterhood are going through what I am due to such a great loss.

I have read so many heartfelt messages on my Facebook page, Rebekah's, her husband's, and so many in our "sorority". Those who didn't even have the pleasure and fortune of knowing her have been grieving her loss. What pains me about all of these postings is that Bekah never got to see them. She never got to truly see how much she was truly loved. It's not to say we didn't reach out to her. I know personally between she and I and our good friend Cheryl we had several emails as a group as Rebekah confided in us some personal things she felt she would be judged for by others. We tried to tell her how much we cared. How much we loved her. I know many of you have done the same. But to see so many right now, it kills me she didn't see it all. She couldn't allow it to sink in because the torment of anorexia robbed her of that. It robbed her of loving herself and of feeling like she mattered. One of the worst feelings in the world is of being a burden to others and feeling like you aren't good enough. I know this all to well as I have battled anorexia 22 years. My heart just breaks for her and her family and so much sorrow over her death.

Many of you may want to retreat into your eating disorders. I know many of you are struggling with the loss. The tears wont stop. The pain is deep. We are stunned, in shock. I have had feelings of deep anger all the way to incredible sadness and depression over this. It would be normal for those of us struggling with eating disorders to give into the behavior urges. I know for me I am in the middle of gaining weight on one of my meal plans from my old dietician Lisa Arroyas from BHC. I am on a meal plan that I should be on in patient surrounded with support but am on my own out here. I am not 100% yet but trying to get to the next meal plan. It's been excruciating the past two days. And while I have not done 100% I have made every effort to eat a few meals per day without restricting behaviors. I have allowed the tears to fall instead, more like flood! I did not retreat to self harm as I would in the past. I have not exercised like I have wanted. I have a fridge full of ensure as back up. I have purged here and on facebook as well as in session today.

I have been angry because "ana" robbed Bekah of her life for so many years and made her feel as though she was too much for us all to keep supporting her through her pain. I am angry because I look from the outside and see all she had in a gorgeous daughter, supportive husband, degree as a nurse, and so much love and support and can't help but to look at my own life as a waste at times because I don't have all she did. I almost feel guilty as to why am I here and she isn't. She was absolutely gorgeous and supported me even in her own pain and anguish because she understood the battle. She understood the depths of this debilitating disease.

When I found out about her death through a close friend of mine, Cheryl, I lost it. I immediately text Rebekah and said "please tell me you're ok???" I coudln't bear the truth. I so badly want to hug her and hold her and tell her it will be ok and that she will recover. I so badly want to have coffee with her and eat with her again like at BHC and tell her there is an end to the torment and that life will get better.

We can't bring her back. We can't undo her death. We can't hug her one more time or help support her. We can't go to starbucks with her or shop with her or wear girly things like bows and flowers and pretty dresses. We can no longer hear her voice on the phone or text her back and forth or email her. We can no longer post to her facebook or comment on her statuses. We can no longer tell her how much she means to us and how much we truly do love her and care about her.

We CAN face ourselves! We can get serious and put 2 feet in recovery. We can keep her memory alive by not letting her death be in vain. Her death has made me face my own mortality in this deadly disease as I hope it will all of you. We can tell each other how much we care about each other as much as we can and go for coffee and eat together and hug each other. We can be encouraging to each other and tell each other, now, while we are alive that we are worth the fight. This isn't say it will be easy or not to grieve. My therapist told me today I would have different emotions through all of this. She told me Rebekah didn't love herself enough to hold on and I was faced with that very truth for me. I need to find out why, while I am still here. We all do. Death is permanent.

Please do not rush through the grief and think you have to grieve fast or be strong. This is excruciating. Surround yourself with support. Do self care. Grieve in therapy. Let it out! I know in therapy today I was in tears before my ass reached her couch! She already knew as I called sobbing yesterday! I went through several tissues as I sobbed and vented. I am still hoping to keep my appointment in two days as well. Blogging helps and a wonderful friend on fb who wrote Healing your Hungry Heart (Joanna Poppink) suggested I write a letter to Rebekah which I plan to do and later burn.

Hugs and many prayers to all suffering through this.

We love you Rebekah Sharp and you will always be remembered as I promise, as do others, to keep your memory alive!

((Hugs and Love))


  1. Thank you brande for such a honest heartfelt tribute to our sweet bekah..I like the way we both chose the pic of her and Emma as a newborn. She was so happy when Emma was born. I hope maybe her daddy will save our posts, and let Emma read them when she is old enough. I would love for her to know what an honest and loving mother she had. Rebekah made a difference in my life. She let me love her unconditionally, she excepted my loving and sometimes harsh truths. Most of all she had compassion for all those who to suffered. I love you Brande and Bekah will forever be in our hears..ok, now the tears are flowing again!

  2. Omg that's too neat because I haven't read your blog yet on purpose. I needed to finish mine from inside me and it took 4 tries! I guess therapy helped me to finish! I had posted the photos 2 days ago. I believe Stephan will when he is ready as he is very scared right now from all of this. Good point about the loving unconditionally. She trusted you and I enough to share a few things that I know would have sent others reeling. Scared me quite a bit for her and I challenged her thoughts and behaviors. You got me crying again with this. whoa.
    Love you girl!

  3. Love you, Brande. I don't know what else to say (due to the fact that we have been talking like, all day). Know that I am cheering your recovery on and find such strength in you. You are such an inspiration to me and to the other sisters.

    Bekah's death has truly been hard; it's a reality check. This shit is REAL. But, recovery is possible. Keep the faith!

  4. My heart is broken; I am so sorry and saddened by Bekah's death. This post is absolutely amazing, and my prayers are with all who loved Bekah. I have Binge Eating Disorder...same disease, different mode of attack, and I understand the viciousness of this battle.

  5. To grieve death and celebrate life simultaneously is a great human challenge.

    It's wonderful to see that you stretch your capacity to feel and express with such love and generosity, Brande.

    You are honoring Bekah's life while mourning her loss. And you are helping others to do the same.

    In this great sorrow there is beauty of healthy growth in the shared grieving. I'm honored to be with you.

  6. Is is very real Stephanie which is why it hurts so much and hits home big time with so many! This just sucks. Afar: It's all the same if you ask me. I have been in treatment so many times with so many with so many different disorders and aspects of it all. We all suffer with the inner torment of it all!
    Joanna thank you for helping to keep me afloat really through it all. For those who don't know, Joanna is the author I mention. To take time out and to respond to this as well as my rants on her page gives so much hope in the midst of so much despair. I am in the middle of her book and when this settles a bit more will start a group on fb with her book as it isn't just a story of her struggles and a triggering book to learn more behaviors! It gives some thought provoking exercises after each chapter and something i would recommend with a therapist as she really has you dig deep but paces you in such a caring way. Finally a book about true recovery and not some competition of who could be the worst off! Will be blogging about it soon~
    ((Hugs and Love ladies))

  7. *hugs* there are no words to console the loss of a life - its a pain beyond words. We must hold tight to the love and light in life and in the hope of recovery and I believe in doing so we honour those fallen soldiers along the way and always, no matter what, carry them in our hearts xxx

  8. Brandee - I am so grateful for your eloquent words and that you are using this awful tragedy and grief against your eating disorder instead of for it. You can be recovered - fully recovered - all of you can - you just have to keep doing the work, every day! I am so sad that we lost a wonderful woman to this disease. This is why I continue to do what I do every day. Show others that recovered is possible, by my example, and to walk with women through this arduous journey.

    Peace and Love

  9. Dear Brandee and all who knew and loved Rebekah, I know only too well how bereft you all are at the senseless loss of your friend.

    My only daughter, Melissa Rose, died in 2009 after a 5 year battle with bulimia. Our family has been devastated. Over the past 2 and a half years I've been blessed to have the love and support of family and friends as I travel down the road called grief.

    However, the impact on friends is often not given enough focus in a lot of "traditional" grieving processes. The support that you all provide each other is so important and can't be measured. I saw with Melissa's friends how crucial it was for them to all connect and support each other.

    The most meaningful tribute each of you can make in Rebekah's memory is to fight for your future. A healthy future. A future without ED. It is possible. It happens every day. Know it in your hearts. Believe it in your soul.

    Many hugs, Judy / Someday Melissa

  10. I am honored to see you here Judy! For those who don't have the Someday Melissa dvd please purchase it through her website/blog. I have it and have watched it with my therapist as well as alone (and have a blog entry here about it!!!!). Very tragic loss yet Judy has used it to help so many others through her own pain. being a mom Judy, I don't ever want to even imagine to pain for losing a child. My boys are my world.
    Thank you for pointing out that the friends need support as well. It was us that Bekah turned to when really struggling and knew we would understand like no other and never give up on her.

    For those who don't know, I have decided to make my own little memorial here at home on a small end table. I just bought a few new frames for Bekah, my dear friend Nine who died of a heart attack last year due to her anorexia, and Cynthia Rowland Mcclure whom I had the pleasure of meeting and doing recovery work at her hope weeks in Baldwin park. I will be framing the photos with candles and my rock water fountain so that instead of closure or saying good bye I am keeping their memories alive in their fight to overcome their disease. I can only pray I overcome my own despair of anorexia to help others once fully recovered~

  11. It always makes me sad when someone's life is taken by an eating disorder. I wish so much that it didn't happen so much.

    I think a lot of things can block out how much others really love and care for them. For me, I know that the abuse I suffered leave me feeling unworthy and undeserving of love and care. The eating disorder did not help those feelings, of course.

    I wish her soul the peace she sought so hard after. *hugs*

  12. I didn't know Rebekah & have only just came across your journal. May she be at peace now, and no longer suffering.

    Hope to read more of your posts soon!


  13. I totally relate Sarah and the eating disorder thrives on that abuse history. It becomes our identity as well so we need to find who we are without it.
    Thanks Sarah. Still hard to even speak her name without falling apart.

  14. I love you my beautiful sister.

  15. I am so sorry that you have had such a rough life. I, too, suffered for over 30 years. Luckily, I married a wonderful man who cared enough to get therapy for me. I didn't stop until I was pregnant with my daughter. Something clicked and I was so afraid of carrying anorexia on to her, I just stopped. But I have a lot of health problems from the disease. We think we are invincible, but my aging body is not. My stomach and bowels are a mess. I hope I can live to see her graduation and grandchildren. Keep fighting, but try not to hold on to anger. It is just as debilitating.