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August 11th, 2010

01:07 pm - death and renewal

Well, it's officially post-Lammas.   I guess that means I survived another Summer replete with 6 (count em, six) eclipses in my sign or opposing my sign in the past 12 months, a grand t-square something or other with planets fighting one another through the whole month of July . . . .   Two household moves in as many months . . . .ug.  It's looking as though it might be good to be back pretty soon. 

Been a long, long, long time since I've posted anything here that isn't related to online workshops and intensives.  That should tell you what kind of time I've been having.  I pretty much do stick to the tenet that if I don't have anything good to say that I don't say much at all.  I also often feel conflicted about writing here, in such a public forum, when things aren't going perfectly well.  I mean, what kind of teacher must I be if my life isn't perfect?  I know, right?  Human.  I'm just another human.  More so, I like the phrase, "I'm just another bozo on the bus." Sometimes I get off at the wrong stop and wander around for a while, exploring dangerous neighborhoods or browsing in shops where I cannot afford the price . . . . 

Life has been a roller coaster.  Trying to get it all down here would take more time and energy than it's worth.  I'm still sorting out the peices, like a jigsaw puzzle tossed  out of the box onto the living room floor, I find myself just standing still with a look of focused consternation.  Where are the edges now?  Where is the center?  Breathing slow and deep, I find the borders and slip them into place.  A clean house, with gorgeous light and space . . . so clean and fresh I can breathe here again.  Bending closer, I discern the center peices.  Some fit together here . . . and here . . . and here.  The rest are a jumble.  Exhausted from this little effort, I retreat.  Take a bath or a nap, cook a meal, look at the ungodly list of things it would take an army to complete . . .


Yesterday, I learned that a close friend of mine from 20 years ago passed away. I knew her from the 12 step program. She was my best friend then. She was the Maid of Honor at my first wedding. We shared secrets and laughter and tears together during those early years of our recovery. Two wild young women without a clue how to live in the world--showing up at meetings night after night after night after night for years . . .  working the Steps, speaking and chairing meetings, taking on responsibilities, joining committees, organizing events (that's where I learned to speak in public as well as organize people and events.  If ya think organizing pagans is hard, try herding newly recovering addicts!) 

She moved away to CA when we were around 3 or 4 years clean and sober. She went with her husband who had ties there. She would call me occasionally and it was clear she was in trouble. Sometimes she would be binging and purging or starving herself or taking laxatives  (anorexic-bulimic), other times exercising obsessively to loose weight (she was a perfect size 7), other times cutting herself, getting fired from jobs, dancing at a joint at Redondo Beach. . . .Then, she called and told me she’d been in trouble for forging prescriptions for Vicodin. I tried as best I could, from such a distance, to support her and encourage her to get back into Program, detox, do whatever was necessary. 

She stopped calling about 10 years ago. I couldn't find her when I tried.

Yesterday, a friend from that era came to see me out of the blue. She wanted to reconnect because we are getting older and “because there aren’t a lot of us left who got clean back then.” She named off names of people we’d both known and who’s passing came as no surprise. Nonchalantly, she mentioned D’s name in that list.

What? What? D? D passed away?

I was flooded with emotion. It was as though someone kicked me in the chest and knocked the wind right out of me. 

D was dead? What? When? 2 years ago? How? Nobody knows. If anyone knows, they aren’t saying. 

I don’t know if she killed herself or died of an overdose or if she was killed on the streets or  in an accident or died of a disease or took her own life.   I just know she is gone. And knowing, I see her face, that beautiful smile.  Feel her conflicted energies swirling.  I hear her laughter.  Learning of her passing, I am grateful that my things are not yet unpacked from this latest household move because right now I know where the photos of her at my wedding are and she belongs on the altar with the beloved ones who’ve gone to the other side. 

D. remember being in the limosine on the way to my wedding?  Remember how we had to behave because my Mom was riding with us?  Remember taking off to the beach on a moments notice?  Remember the New Year's Eve bash we threw? 

I recall that time you told me I had to see the movie “Beaches" and how I wept and wept while watching it and later you told me that the song, “Wind beneath my wings” made you think of us and our friendship—that I was the wind beneath your wings. And how I wept at that as well.  There was a lot of weeping and a lot of laughter back then, wasn't there?  And I was stunned that I meant that much to you and that you felt that way about me, about us.   Oh, D., you flew so far away I couldn’t breathe those winds under your wings. You flew so far and I needed my breath to fuel my own flight.  And now you’ve flown from here altogether and I didn’t even know. I didn’t know. I love you. I am so sorry that your time here was so hard—so so hard. You struggled to live the best way you knew how. I am so sorry that I didn’t know how you were suffering, that I lost touch with you when you began using again, that this disease killed you—one way or another this thing wants us dead.  The only remedies I know are prayer, surrender and doing the best we can to not fall into the patterns which shame us into picking up that first fill in the blank that leads to the next and the next and the next.

And I feel you right here as I write.  Here you are.  As clear as the sun pouring in the window, as clean as the breeze lifting the curtain.  Walk with me a while, my friend.  Tell me your sorrows and of the freedom you have found.  I will count my blessings and give thanks that for whatever reason the tools in my box fit my hand just so, and that after all these years, through all of it, a day at a time, I've not made the choice to use.

While I mourn her loss, I also feel gratitude for the life I have made for myself and my children.  I've been carried far from the physical rooms of the programs, but carry their teachings inside me.  They are as much a part of me as is my Craft, as is my arm, my eye.  Twenty three years ago I surrendered.  What a long, strange trip it's been from there to here.  And still, each day, I surrender again.  Will and Surrender.  The Wheel inside and out turns on and on.

Thanks for reading.
Be Blessed in Love and Power my friends.

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