Amanda's sock

I'm home. My blog posts for the past week were done before I left, and this one I wrote from above the Atlantic - exhausted, wide awake.

My week in Salzburg left me with many interesting memories and tasks and relationships for the coming months. It was the culmination of many things and exceeded my hopes for F.E.A.S.T. and personally as well.

But news on the last day of a fellow advocate’s daughter dying of her eating disorder frames everything quite differently. I am deeply sad today and my only comfort in this distress is that so many of us who know the family were together hearing the news. It is not shock I felt – one cannot be shocked by this wicked illness and what it can and does inflict on patients and their families. Not shock: profound sadness and empathy and, yes, rage. Rage at the waste of this dear and loved person, the ruin of year upon year of trying, of failed interventions, at laws that don’t work and ideas that don’t either. At parents scrambling for help, for any hope, for clarity, for coherence. Rage – outrage at the illness. Rage at this horrible, horrible illness.

But it isn’t about me, or my anger. It is about this family who are now grieving. It is about this young woman’s life stolen for many years and now for good. It is about all of us doing a better damn job to honor this woman and her family – now and for a long time.

I am glad I was given this news by a mutual friend – herself deeply affected. I was glad we were with two people who because of their circumstances understood this pain and the release from pain at a level I cannot presume to know. I am glad we had the sky of Salzburg to cry under, many colleagues who had also been touched by this family, and a common cause to focus on. I’m even glad that we had work to do – right then – to prove the path we share on this.

I’m glad of the human ability to weep and laugh, at the same time, of June’s pocketbook, Amanda’s sock, red dresses, a cuppa in crisis, of the candle I lit before knowing who for, and I’m glad of J – celebrate E – and the second fork.


  1. so sorry for this family and the many others who are robbed by this illness. Thanks.

  2. Sad sad news and please know that I am thinking of the family and of you.

    I'm intrigued by the title and forever more whenever I am in the company of activists will be looking round for someone with only one sock on in order to be able to say Ah, so YOU'RE Amanda.

  3. I apologize for the coy references. I haven't named the family or those who were there because I didn't ask their permission to do so - but was sending them a message anyway.

    The sock in question was the first absorbent item found in anyone's possession and allowed us to laugh through the tears we sought to dry.

    From now forward I WILL think of Amanda's sock as a symbol of the strange way we find comfort - serendipitous and often absurd - in difficult times.

  4. Hi Laura,
    I wish I had been there. A sock? Didn't think of that. I will celebrate E with J next week. Unfortunately J's battle cry about not losing another person to ED was not heard. We will all "cry" louder.

  5. P.S. We truly need to begin differential diagnosis to distinguish between disordered eating ... AN/BN ... AND Anorexia/Bulimia Gravis or Fatalis! People ARE dying!


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