About two days ago, as I was waiting for the gate to open so I could exit the complex where I live, the different shades of color in the trees captured my attention and instantly quieted me. Lovely and unexpected. The beauty of the red hue that surrounded me had literally changed over night. I rolled down my window to enjoy my quick visit with nature. A cool clean breeze kicked up the abundance of leaves on the grass and curb. It was Fall. I impulsively hopped out of my car and started to playfully take a few pictures of the Fall leaves above me. I did not want the moment to end as I noticed the sky was changing. Something was different – it was me – I felt different. I felt light-hearted. My goodness it had been a long time. Just like that – the usual heaviness was not covering me like a dark wet blanket. I took a few steps and started to shuffle my feet through the pure colorful small piles of leaves. With out even noticing, a car went around me and left through the opened gate. When I realized that I was honest to goodness enjoying my own back yard – I smiled to myself. Next month I will be living in my new neighborhood for 2 years. Unemployed, like many others, for almost the last year. It has taken a long time just to begin to feel like a part of the community where I live. Like I really do belong here. I quickly jumped back in my car, finished my errands, and went back home to bed.
The next morning, yesterday, I received an E mail that was written to about 8 of us girlfriends. It was there where I read that one of my childhood friends had a stroke and he had been in the ICU. He had passed away while his family surrounded him. I was friends not only with him but his sister as well. He was intertwined in my life, in and out, for most of my life. Even when I later married, it turned out my then husband was friends with him as well. Small world.
One day, out of the blue, when I happened to have been sober many years, I ran into my friend in town. It had been years. We hugged a big bear hug and when I looked at him he had tears in his eyes.
I was confused. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I finally realized that I am an alcoholic and I don’t want to drink anymore. But it is not easy. I heard that you stopped drinking a long time ago. How do you do it?”
After that day we spoke intensely many times of alcoholism and making things right, not only in our loved ones lives again, but making things right within our self. To hold our heads high once more. We always talked deep. I appreciated that about him.
Yesterday, I felt so sad then I heard he passed. I cried. I will miss him. But along with my sadness, I feel right. I feel right within because I realized I had been a sober example to him for a long time. I shared my experience. He grew up in my home town, so coming from the same tribe is so helpful for understanding.
I remember through the years that my ex-husband was also quite helpful to him. Even though I have not had contact with my ex-husband for well over a year, I sent an E mail to him to thank him for being an example and showing love, patience and tolerance to our friend. I thanked him for being a long time sober parent.
Sometimes in the big simple picture, that is all that should matter to me – two things – that I enjoy my own back yard – and I thank my son’s father for being a long time sober dad. Some days nothing else should matter at all and sometimes I forget that.
You will be missed forever my friend.