The story of loss | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


Are you lacking in motivation today? Are you feeling sorry for yourself, or are you kicking yourself for eating that donut this morning? Or that nacho last night? Are you here looking for some awesome motivation and support? Well, look no further, because we have a truly inspiring story for you this morning. Grab your cup of coffee (or your water bottle), and you might want to grab a few tissues as well. We’re sharing a story of loss and more loss. Profound loss, and positive loss. Today we’re sharing the story of the father of one of our Sisters. Let me introduce you to Lee, Bari’s dad.

Dieting- I hate that word.  Like most people who have extra pounds to lose, over the years I have tried some of the recognized diets and read many books about dieting.  I have been up and down the weight ladder all my life.  I hated being fat and the way I looked.  About six years ago, I tried one more time and lost 110 pounds and I was proud of myself.  I looked great.  But, I put it all back on, just like all the other times.

Lee – Before

Now, my story gets personal and I hope you have an open mind.  Cancer took the life of my lifetime partner last April.  We were together for fifteen years and were both morbidly obese.  I loved to cook, we both loved to eat.  I prepared double, triple portions.  Nothing was left on our plates or in the pans.  We didn’t need a garbage disposal.  We were it!  Drive-through restaurants were the norm.  Fried this, fried that.  Potatoes, gravy, French fries.  Pizza parlors and bakery shops loved us.

Now, what if that person who you depended on to help dress you by putting on your socks because you can’t reach your feet, and otherwise be there for you when you need help, is suddenly taken to the hospital?  What if you can’t walk the long distances from the parking lot, or walk the long hallways of the hospitals without being in pain from your bad knees and hips, and diabetic nerve neuropathy in your feet?  What if you were so fat you had difficulty breathing?  What if you learn from the doctor that the person you depend on does not have long to live and you should make plans for his death and funeral?

That was the situation I found myself in.  I realized I was going to be alone and fear set in.  How was I going to put my socks on?  I was so fat I couldn‘t bend over.  Who was going to be there for me when I needed extra help?  Yes, that was me.  My partner came home after a five week hospital stay then lived for another six days before he passed away.  I told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was this was happening to him.  While holding his hands, his daughter and I were there with him and saw him take his last breath of air.  When we met, I promised I would always take care of him and never let him go.  Now he is gone and suddenly, I found myself in survival mode.  I knew I had to change my lifestyle, and quick or I wouldn’t make it.

Lee – Still Shrinking

To date, I have lost about 113 pounds through changing my eating habits alone.  Because of my knee, hip and neuropathy problems, I was not able to exercise or walk much, but my weight has gone from an all time high of 359 pounds to 246 pounds while my waist size shrunk from 58 inches to 44 inches.  Realizing that I have reached a new level now and need help to strengthen and condition my body, I joined a health club and work with a physical fitness trainer.  My knees and hips still present problems, but my trainer knows my issues and says he will eventually have me flipping over on my back.  He’s kidding, right?

I know I have touched many lives over the last eight months as I tell the story about my partner and the love we had for each other, and how I have to cope everyday with his loss, while at the same time changing my lifestyle.  I have been told time after time what an inspiration I am.   I know my two daughters are proud of me and have watched me grow and become stronger every day.  I am equally proud of them too as I am my entire family for everything they have achieved.  If it wasn‘t for them and their support physically, emotionally, and financially, I hesitate to think where I would be today.   My family and my friends, they are the ones who inspire me and keep me going.

Several months ago, Hospice conducted a “Service of Remembrance” for our loved ones and we were allowed to pick a black granite stone with a word inscribed on it to take home with us.  Words to choose from were peace, love, hope, etc.  I picked up a stone, but later put it back and chose one instead that reads “Inspire”.  How ironic is that?  It sits on my desk, right next to my computer and is a constant reminder of the affect I have had on others and the affect they have had on me.

Do we need a life changing event or something that shocks or knocks us in the head to tell us we are playing a deadly game with our health?  To those who read this, has my story been  your wake up call?  Did I get your attention?  Have I inspired you?  Have I paid it forward?  If so,  I am pleased and blessed because it will come right back to me and inspire me even more.

I always look to see what positive things come out of tragedies and negative situations.  Sometimes we don’t always see that, and it may take a long time.  I am no better or different than any of you.  But, I have found something that perhaps you haven’t yet.  I am humbled and honored and feel privileged that I can share my story with you.   Let my tragedy be your incentive and inspiration.  Most important, everyday tell your loved ones and friends that you love them.  You never know when they will be taken away from you.

As tragic as the loss of my partner’s life was, his death has put new life into mine.  Now, about flipping over on my back my trainer told me about….he really was kidding, wasn’t he?  Please tell me he was, after all, I am 71 years old!

Lee – Now (WOW!)

Lee, thank you so much for sharing your amazing story with the Sisterhood. We are truly sorry for the loss of Bob, but we are so proud of you for turning that loss into something so positive: a HUGE life-changing weight-loss!

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Thirty-nine year-old wife and mom to BJ (11) and Mia (7). I’m the editor at the Sisterhood, and I really love to run (really), read, cook amazing things, and photography is my fledging passion. My motivation is motivating other people to realize they can do this whole weight-loss and exercise thing. I’m living proof!