… No, it’s not a real word. And it doesn’t have anything to do with being tricked, as in “I’ve been hoodwinked!” (Although I do love that phrase and should definitely use it more.) It’s what my Mama used to call Hoodia. You know, that herbal supplement that is supposed to suppress your appetite and help you lose weight.
My mother was a vitamin nut. She always had a variety on hand … B6, B12, iron, calcium, zinc, cod liver oil, vitamin E, and on and on …. She was somewhat of a naturalist I guess you could say. So, one night, as I placed an order on-line from Puritan’s Pride to stock her up on the goods, I decided to give Hoodia a try. For weeks she would remind me to take it … “Did you take your Hoodwinky,” she’d say. Hoodwinky. It makes me smile. She was such a funny lady.
Lately I’ve been trying to take better care of myself. It’s a lot of work. While my Mama was dying and for months after she passed away I just neglected myself. When you’re grieving the loss of the life of a loved one, you don’t realize how you’re neglecting the life you yourself have left to live. I used to get so upset with her for not taking better care of herself when my Dad was very ill the months before he passed away. She ended up in the hospital with pneumonia just two weeks after his funeral. Now I understand her.
It’s so much easier to focus on other people and other things. And simple things like feeding yourself seem so complicated and exhausting. Rather than having to put thought into a grocery list, go to the store, put the groceries away and then prepare meals, it’s so much easier to just zip through a drive-thru and get a meal to go. Especially when you’re eating alone. For several months, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s became my new best friends. My mother always loved fast food or her junk food as she called it. Surprise her with an extra crispy meal with potato wedges and extra biscuits or a Happy Meal and she would be so pleased. It was the simple things that made her happy. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed spending so much time with my new nest buds KFC and MceeDee, because they reminded me of her.
Now, almost eight months after my sweet, silly Mama moved on to a better place, I am finally paying attention to myself. I’ve awakened from my fast food coma, and KFC and MceeDee are now more like acquaintances I see every once in a while. I am putting time into making the most of the life that my parents gave me. The life in which they saw so much potential and invested so much and made so many sacrifices for. It is a lot of work. But it is worth it. Because as I recollect the pieces of me that had fallen apart I honor the beautiful people who are responsible for putting me here on this earth. And with the wonderful memories they’ve blessed me with and a little bit of Hoodwinky, I think I might just become whole again.