A Final Tribute to My Friend- "My Food Police"-Ronni Waldman

It is with great sadness that I write this post. On March 3, 2013, I received the sad news of a friend passing away. I let some time pass thinking it would be easier for me to write about it then, but honestly no amount of time makes it any easier to write about a personal  loss.

This is a tribute to Ronni Waldman, a special woman in my life.  A woman that with patience, knowledge and care helped me get to a better place, a healthier place to enjoy all my days to come.

As many of you know I have lost 113 pounds by learning sensible eating and portion control through the Jenny Craig program. For those who are not familiar with the weight loss program, as you join you are assigned a consultant, a person that will help you and guide you throughout the process. This is how I met Ronni Waldman. She was my consultant who through time became a friend.

On July 9, 2011, I walked into her small office at the Jenny Craig Center weighing 238 pounds feeling
ashamed of myself and most of all feeling sick of how I felt. When you feel ashamed it is hard to open up and show your vulnerability, but this ball of fire of a woman, barely 5 foot nothing with the biggest smile I ever seen made me feel at ease.

In her office with my pictures in the background
Through time she made me understand what I was doing wrong with my eating habits.  She was there to help me get up when I fell down and bring light when I saw darkness. I saw her every week for over a year - to be specific -every Wednesdays at 10:30 AM - we called it "OUR" time.  The time where I did most of the talking and she did most of the listening.  The time when I brought her my problems and she came up with a solution.

She became a teacher, someone I relied on to learn a new lifestyle that would get me to a better place.  She was so vigilant of my choices that I started calling her "My Food Police."  She used to call me "My Forever Starfish."  I never understood the name until I read the "Starfish Story."

The Starfish Story

Needless to say she made sure I got to the finish line. She taught me a lot. She believed in me more than I believed in myself.  My gratitude to Ronni is and will always be endless.  Today, I stand proud of losing 113 pounds, being healthier, being stronger and happier than I've ever been.  Thank you my friend. 

The day when I hit my goal weight is still vividly in my head.  Ronni knew it before we even read the scale - She was ready to take my first picture.  She stood like a proud momma seeing her child graduate.

On the day she unexpectedly passed away, I felt lost.  I felt lonely on my journey.  I felt unbalanced. I felt like a child lost in a mall - what do I do now? where do I go from here?  Little did I know she had taught me enough to continue on my own, and to be able to stand alone.  She taught me to be strong and to recognize my triggers in life.  She taught me not be hard on myself if I fall, as long as I get up and continue on my road.  

As I met some of her personal friends on the day of her funeral, it never dawned on me what became clear on that day.  Ronni  knew me well, but I did not know her as well. We saw and talked to each other on a weekly basis for over a year, so you would think I would have known at least her favorite color, her favorite drink, her favorite singer, her favorite restaurant. Yet I did not.  Nevertheless, we had a bond.

Ronni knew what was important to me, she knew how I felt about certain things, she knew what I did on a daily basis, she knew my future goals, she knew my favorite color.  I never got to ask her these questions because she always made "OUR" time all about ME.  

I  miss her and always will, but I will carry her in my heart.  She has become the inner voice that keeps me aware of my choices.  The question - "What would Ronni say?"  has become a source of keeping her alive for me, and believe me I ask myself that question numerous times every day.

Rest in Peace my Dear Friend!                           

She guided me to a better place- HEALTH

A card she gave me to let me know how proud she was

"Don’t think of her as gone away, her journey’s just begun, life holds so many facets this earth is only one.
Just think of her as resting from the sorrow and the tears, in a place of warmth and comfort, where there are no days and years.
Think of how she must be wishing that we could know today, how nothing but our sadness can really pass away.
And think of her as living in the hearts of those she touched, for nothing loved is ever lost, and she was loved so much." ~ Ellen Brenneman

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