The day after I wrote about my daughter and her move for her dream job, a favorite client of mine died. He died on his 72nd birthday, and it is quite a miracle that he lived that long. He had multiple, severe disabilities, and he was fairly healthy until the very end. I remember him from my interview, sixteen years ago. I’ve seen him just about every day that I’ve gone to work since then. He was special. They’re all special. He was extra special. And he’s not there anymore.
Shortly after that, a friend announced she is moving far, far away (whereas my daughter is only moving far away). I don’t think this is her dream job, but it’s her dream location to live. So that’s good. I really hope losses come in threes and that I’m done for a while now.
As I build up to these goodbyes I am also dealing with my work partner’s husband’s cancer. If he makes it through fine I’ll still have to face the fact that she’s ten years older than I am, and our working relationship won’t last forever. It will end one way or another. She stopped working with me one other time since we began and it was horribly difficult for me. At least for tomorrow, I expect she’ll still be there.
And yesterday I went out on a 12 step call off sorts. The sponsee of a sponsee was in bad shape, and I spent a good part of the day trying to help her. I’ll just say a beautiful, nice, smart, sweet young lady with a wicked story. Why does she want to add to it? I wish she could see herself the way we on the outside can see her. I talked to her after the meeting last night and even after the close call and awful time she’d had, I still heard resistance in her voice and I remember to be grateful, beyond measure, that I achieved some sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous.
As I think of saying goodbye to these people (not the ones who are moving, I know it’s “see ya later,” just not as often and not as easily as before) I remember (sort of) when one of my grandfathers died, when I was drinking. The feelings and interactions got drowned in such a horrible sickness. These people dying and moving away hurts, but as long as I stay sober I know there will be a way out of the hurt, and new people to pay attention to here, now.
But for the grace of God is a phrase that gives me trouble when it’s not used in the AA sense. To use it when referring to some unfortunate person, and to mean that God’s grace has somehow favored me and spared me some misfortune or disability or tragedy or something, to me is just wrong. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but they do.
In AA that it not what I believe it means, though we may use it to refer to someone who can’t get sober.
Grace is mentioned many times in the AA literature. In the 12 & 12, grace banishes our deadly obsession (page 76), but we find that grace by achieving some humility. Grace enables us to carry out God’s will (page 102). Page 69 in the 12 & 12 may explain it best.
The moment we say, “No, never!” our minds close against the grace of God.
That’s the heart of the my understanding. God’s grace is there for everyone, but some people can’t or won’t be open to it, and so can’t recover. I was one of them for many years. I wanted it, but I couldn’t be open to it. I don’t think that God’s grace will leave me, but I know from the experience of others that I can turn my back on it and stop accepting it and relapse. I can receive God’s grace, but only through work on my part.
My daughter found a place to live, where she will move, to her dream job. It is, I don’t know yet-11, 12, 13 hours from me by car. It is in so many ways the fulfillment of all I tried to do as a mother. It has worked out better than I ever would have hoped or dreamed. And I am sad. I want to spend more time with her than I’ll be able to. And that’s a good thing.
Saturday morning, our dog woke up unwilling to put her right paw on the floor. A few hours and lots of worry and pre-emptive sadness later, she has Lyme’s disease. Today, Monday, she is already acting like nothing was ever wrong. We took her with us on “vacation” and she brought home that souvenir. Otherwise she is healthy, at probably 11 years old, and that’s a very good thing.
In anticipation of my daughter’s move I have increased the frequency of my meetings ever so slightly. Instead of my home group every week plus one seven or eight days later, I’ve been doing my home group plus one six or seven days later. This is probably not visible to the naked eye, but it’s significant to me.
This is a hard thing, but not really a hard time. I’m very grateful that when I’ve had hard times in sobriety, I have turned to the program and the steps and not yet (since I got sober) to alcohol. I believe that working and reworking the steps has increased my ability be serene given whatever.
But I do sort of wish I liked meetings more, or leaving my house more, or being around people more. But I don’t. So my introverted AA experience if sufficient today.