Mary Ellen Clausen is leaving the helm at Ophelia’s Place, the center for eating disorders awareness in Liverpool.
Although it was her brainchild, Ophelia’s Place now has a new executive director, Jodie Wilson-Dougherty. Since Jan. 2 , Clausen has moved on to a role of fund development. This role is her final role as she closes this chapter of her life.
Clausen, 51, says she would like to see both Ophelia’s Place and Café at 407 (a coffee shop that benefits the organization) as two self-sufficient entities by 2014. Once that’s achieved, she will “be at peace,” Clausen said.
Clausen is the cover woman for Syracuse Woman Magazine’s January/February 2012 edition, which is also the publication’s anniversary edition.
Last year, SWM hosted its launch party at Café at 407, with a large turnout from the community. Once again, the magazine’s staff and all their supporters will gather from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at 407 Tulip St. in Liverpool to celebrate its first year of existence.
Copies of SWM can be found at Café at 407, local Tops, Wegmans, Freedom of Espresso locations and many salons, spas and medical offices.
Find the digital version and sign up for a free online subscription at syracusewomanmag.com/swm. You can also find the magazine on Facebook at SyracuseWomanMagazine and follow via Twitter, @SyrWomanMag.
Read some of Clausen’s story here as seen in SWM:
On a scale from 1 to 10, how comfortable are you in your skin right now? “I would say I’m at an 8,” Mary Ellen said confidently. “I think I’m leaps and bounds ahead of where I once was. My daughters have taught me so much through their journey, and I learned that I no longer want to go back to a world of dieting… chronic dieting.” This chronic dieting was normal for the women in her family, her mother especially. “I can’t comprehend my days being that way anymore, that’s why I give myself an 8, because I have come a long way, but I still have some work to do.” She constantly thinks about her mother in her own journey because her mother, a perpetual dieter, always dealt with body image issues. Six years ago, she passed away from pancreatic cancer only three-and-a-half weeks after she was diagnosed. She was 78. Even during her final days in Elmira, Mary Ellen’s mother still affirmed her body image issues. “I wanted to massage her legs and feet with lotion, and I realized I had never seen my mom’s feet.” Her mother hated the sight of her own feet and tended to stay covered up, no matter the occasion. “Here’s the interesting thing about perception,” Mary Ellen said. “I took one look at her feet and told her, ‘Mom, now I know where I get my feet from.’ Because I thought they were beautiful.”
“I thought I would have my mom forever,” she admitted. On Jan. 6, 2006, Mary Ellen’s mother had slipped into a coma. While massaging her mother’s feet once again, she noticed her breathing had become heavier. She opened her eyes and a single tear came down, Mary Ellen said. She told her, “Mom, it’s time. The angels are here.” She got up to close her mother’s eyes. The clock on the wall showed that it was exactly 1 o’clock. “I had no idea what to do, but I wanted a sign that she was still there. I wanted to see a butterfly.” However, it was January in Elmira, how would she see one? A few weeks later, some family friends visited Mary Ellen and her husband to see how they were doing and also to give them a late Christmas gift. “I opened up one of the gifts and it was a box with three ceramic butterflies.” She smiled. She received the sign. “I still carry my mom’s last tear,” she said. “There are unanswered questions and things I won’t ever know.”
Copies of the magazine are available all over Central New York.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.