A Song for Richard

Richard’s soul took flight yesterday.

My brother, my friend, my hero is free.

 

May your soul be blessed, may your body rest

On the mountain where you were born

May your spirit soar, where there’s joy ever more

May you find your way in peace.

And there’s no more harm, in your savior’s arms

See you fly away in the sky

Did you hear the call of angels one and all

May you find your way peace

May you know you’re loved

May you shine above on the mountain where you were born

May your spirit soar

There’s no pain anymore

May you find your way in peace

And there’s no more harm, in your savior’s arms

See you fly away in the sky

Did you hear the call of angels one and all

May you find your way in peace.

  Picture: mid-December 2017,  3 Sister roadtrip to love him, hug him and say goodbye.  I miss him already but I feel his presence.  He’s with me.  Always.  

Mark’s Song by Eastmountainsouth, 2003

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Loss without the wine

grief.  

I’ve never grieved without drinking.  I’ve lost both parents, 2 brothers, numerous friends and others.  But never without the obliteration of alcohol.

My brother Richard and I have a special bond.

My first memory of him was watching a summer storm together… I was about 3 or 4 and he is five years older so he was around 8 or 9.  As we stood at the screen door looking outside at the thunder and lightning, which us kids always loved and found thrilling, he looked down at me and said: “I’m going to marry you some day, you know.”

He is now dying.

After a 2 year brutal and exhausting struggle with throat cancer, he’s being called home.  Mid-December, my 2 sisters and I took a road trip up to where he lives near the Canadian border.  To hug him, to love him and to say goodbye.  It was a 5 hour trip each way.  He didn’t know we were coming.

Because he would have told us not to.

Not because he didn’t want to see us.  He most likely didn’t want us to see him so helpless.  He wouldn’t want us to worry.  And his battle had left him totally spent.  Head sunk down on the table spent.

I don’t remember a time when his life has ever been about him.

Richard is a stubborn, self-reliant Vermonter through and through….with a huge heart.  A soft heart.  And a servant’s heart most of all.

As I write this, I’m wondering if this is his moment….. Or is it now? An hour from now?  Or a day.  Only the Lord knows.

What I do know, is that a part of me will be leaving with him when his soul takes flight.

I want to be awake and ready at the exact moment he finds his freedom.

I’ve spent the day in prayer, candles lit, gazing at the last picture we took of him and me. And gathering together all the photos I have of him with me and the rest of our brood.

And resting.

Because grief is exhausting and it’s only just begun.

Through it all I have remained sober.

Thanks be to One who set me free.

 

I am the toddler on the right. Richard is standing behind my sister holding me.

I talk too much.

  Especially when it comes to certain men. Certain men that I find appealing.

And really, there are not many that turn my head.

It has little to do with looks and everything to do with demeanor and character.  I mean, I’d rather you not be a hunchback or anything.  But when that special combination arrives in front of me and the interest appears mutual…..I turn into a blubbering idiot.

I give myself away.  Just like a happy pooch.

Happypup

I remember my mom always said: “You need to keep some mystery about you.”  I hated that!  It seemed dishonest but I’ve always had a tough time distinguishing between what was being truthful, what was ok to be private about (share with only a few) and what was appropriate to share and with whom.  It’s all been very confusing for me.

I can appear to be aloof because I am (somewhat) reserved.  I dislike small talk and having to make conversation.  If we talk, let’s get down to it.

I want to know what feeds your soul.

And you can be sure I will tell you what feeds mine along with the long drawn out history of why, who, what, where and how.

But because this takes a lot of energy, let’s only do this if we think we can make a go of it. You know… be friends and all that.  I’ve not only approached my (few) romantic interests this way but also my women friends as well.

Sometimes I wonder about myself.  Less often than I used to… but still.  When I look at myself, I see a mess of bloody contradictions. Definitely not gifted in the social arena.

I remember reading somewhere in the blogosphere:  “People should earn the privilege of hearing your story.”

If you are the owner of that quote, please claim it!  I would like to thank you.  I’ve actually started keeping a journal of all the amazing bits of wisdom I’ve read along with the wise men and women that “spoke” them.  I want to give the credit where it’s due.

Because you have all been my healers and helpers.  

Of course GOD is the master healer because He led me to you all, but I would not be here sober had I not found this amazing and nurturing community.

The good news is that I’m getting used to being in my own skin. With sobriety I have peace.  A growing acceptance of the things I can’t change and a strong desire to change what I can.  So what if I don’t have all the answers.  I really am a person of solitude and quite happy with my independence.

I know that my path is total devotion to the Lord.  If He sees fit to give me a partner to share that devotion, my social idiosyncrasies won’t matter…I’ll be loved just as I am.

In ending, it just struck me that a little mystery is a good thing.

A beautiful thing.

A GOD thing.

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth to all.

 

 

Human Remains

Incredibly powerful words and insights. Thank you Stephen.

Fractured Faith Blog

As I walked through the city centre this morning I gingerly sidestep the discarded debris from the night before. The greasy pizza boxes frozen to the pavement and broken beer bottles glistening in the half light. Empty like the drunken revellers who had gorged upon them. Signs of lives that sparkled, then spluttered, across the Belfast horizon not ten hours ago. Grime scenes of pointless brawls and even more pointless declarations of undying love. The dying embers of the best or worst night of their lives.

The street cleaners are already hard at work, their trucks shattering the silence as they trundle by, removing all incriminating evidence that the night before ever existed. No more blemishes on the landscape. A return to the status quo, order restored. Setting the stage for the same tired melodramas to be played out later that evening; penning another tawdry chapter in the sorry storybook…

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6 months and #metoo

Six months of sobriety.

Thank you very much!  Thank you! (Big bow) Thank you everyone. (Another big bow)  Now… if you’ll just excuse me.  I have somewhere I need to be.  Where?

Actually, anywhere but here.

Sitting here, trying to get myself to write is tortuous.

While I’m truly grateful and glad to be sober, I have been feeling emotionally unsettled and upended.  Heavy.  Lead weight heavy.  And my mind is making up all sorts of excuses for the feelings.  Trying to keep me distracted.  Keep me from going deeper.

Familiar feelings I’ve never been able to name.   And they’re in my way.  They get in my way of fully connecting with another human.  I’m turned inward.  It takes an immense effort to look at the face and eyes of the person I’m in conversation with and I find my eyes and mind flitting about- up, down, left and right.

 I don’t want to be “seen” by the other.

Now that I’m home there are a multitude of tasks and chores needing to get done but I can’t quite gather the direction either in mind or body to accomplish any of them.

So I walk out the door.

I keep walking.  Walking and searching.  Trying to observe without the usual judgement.  Sobriety has given me the ability to be kind with myself.

I realize I’m trying to make friends with me.  The wee one inside of me.

The hashtag me too.

I know I’m far from alone here.  It seems as if every woman has a #metoo story to tell.  Some even have a few.  More than a few.

I’ve done much inner work and healing around these issues but still…. those ghostlines remain.  They are calling to me for attention.  Not to drag me back but to serve in pushing me forward.  To call them out; not drink them away.

Where I thought I had made peace, I’ll make a stronger peace.  Where I thought I had forgiven, I’ll forgive again.

And He will turn this heart of stone to one of flesh.

Sustaining my sobriety depends on it.