My Dad

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I will always remember May 28, 2010 …. The day my precious Daddy died.  He died suddenly with no waning of a blood clot to his heart.   This year, 2020 it has been 10 years since that day and I remember most of it as if it were yesterday.

I remember the middle of the night phone call ( 1:30 AM) from my Mom, arriving at the same time as my one brother, the hospital emergency room, the announcement call of time of death, calling to tell my husband that my Dad was dead and then Steve showing up with the girls who were 15 and 12 at the time and then calling a few close friends.  We gathered as a family around my Dad and said the Our Father.   To this day, 10 years later I can not say the Our Father with closed eyes without seeing my Dad in the ER and tearing up a little.

Growing up, my Dad and I were very much a like with our Italian tempers and often butted heads.  When I went away to college is when our closer relationship started.  My Dad was my biggest cheerleader and his support was always unwavering.    My family, Dad, Mom, 2 brothers and I all worked in the family pizza business.   I remember being in the office that Thursday before he died and the ordinary conversation we had before I left for home. I had no idea that would be the last conversation I would have with my alive Dad.

My Dad taught us well.   He was a family man, with a great belief in our Lord and Savior.  I know he is with his God in heaven and that gives me some comfort.  My Dad had done succession planning for the business with my brothers ( I chose not to be an equal owner operator – I wanted to be a mom to my children, not a business owner). Our company was like family and his death really had an effect all the employees and the community as a whole.   My brothers and our office staff did not miss a beat in keeping things going for our pizza chain and dough business.  My Dad did well.

I took my Mom home and stayed with her through the morning.    My brothers cleaned up the bedroom before we got there.   Neither of us slept much.   The TV drowned out our emotions.   Stupid TV informercials in the middle of the night early morning.

I don’t know how I became the strong one in the family during this time.    I planned and organized most of the funeral with some help from the family.   I was numb and just going through the motions.  It took me a long time to actually get to the grieving part.

I can not begin to say how many people were at his visitation.   The line was hours long for the duration.  I remember certain friends being there.  The support I had from my AA friends was incredible.  I probably would not have gotten through that time with out that support.   The actual funeral was beautiful with a packed church.  My Mom wrote a little something that the priest read and I remember his 4 grand daughters taking up the gifts for communion.  It was a special moment.   My Dad was liked by everyone.   The celebration of life afterwords held in a reception hall was full of wonderful stories and memories of my Dad.

I wish my Dad could see the successes of his children and grandchildren and our business.  He never got to meet my brother’s wife, Carey or little Caroline.   But I know he sees them.

They say over time memories fade and people forget.    I know many will never forget my Dad, He made an impact on many in our community especially his dear family and friends.

Our family is gathering on Sunday for a day of celebration of his life and to share our memories and grief.   I feel sad today missing my Dad.   I also feel grateful to have been born to such great and loving parents.    Life is for the living, but we can still cherish and miss those who are no longer with us.     So many memories ….. I will never forget my wonderful Daddy ❤️ .

The Overdose

Some people can drink alcohol and others can not.    Those who have crossed that invisible line will never be able to drink like a normal person.   We have an allergy.   A disease of the mind, body and soul.    The obsession that only an addict / alcoholic knows.  We were once spiritually empty and now we are full.   Recovery is a beautiful thing.

I have a dear friend in my 12 step program who lost his son this week to an overdose.  He lost his daughter 10 years ago to a motorcycle accident.    Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.  Why do some of us make it to recovery while others do not?  There are so many people out in the world who do not know how great a sober and clean life can be.

My friend is not the first one I know to loose a child in this program.   A few I know have lost children to this disease and another to murder.   Brothers, Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Friends have all been lost,.  Despite these heartbreaks losing a child has to be the toughest (though I can not be the judge of that).    Amazingly, these friends of mine have been able to remain sober and lean on the fellowship, their higher power and the 12 steps to see them through.    I have the upmost respect and awe for those who can remain sober and steady in the face of tragedy.     I don’t know if I would have as much grace, I can only pray that I would.

We feel the pain of the death of another addict / alcoholic.    We know the struggle, the pull, the obsession.   We think of ourselves and but for the grace of God it could have been us, it could have been me.

We went over Step one and powerlessness at the meeting today.    The deceased young mans best family friend was there (along with my friend, the Dad)   She realizes now how close death can actually be if she does not get clean.  It was heart wrenching.    We or I must never forget how close death actually was and can be if I choose to go back to pills and alcohol.    We, the alcoholic / addict are powerless over  people, places and things.   We must change everything in order to survive.

I am at a place in my life where I can be around alcohol and people who drink moderately.   When friends and family get drunk and silly and stupid, well that is where my tolerance ends.   I know for me what I can and can not handle with others and the drinking …. its all about the people, place and things.   Some we can handle others we can not.

For my friend, I am really sad.   His son had been to meetings at out club.   My friend tried tirelessly to save his son from those demons.  In the end though he had to save himself …. both my friend and his son.

No Cap, No Gown

This is the week we were supposed to be in Chicago for my youngest daughter’s college graduation.   We had an awesome week planned with graduation celebrations and a roof top party with family and friends.  As we all know the world has changed and life has been canceled or I should say put on hold due to the coronavirus.

I am sad for the class of 2020 missing all the pomp and circumstance of the graduation season.   I am also sad that the next chapter is also put on hold as it is hard to find a job right now and the economy is crap.   All the plans and hopes that Kirsten and her roommates had to stay in Chicago to work and live are not panning out at this time.  Most likely they will all have to go home to figure out the next step.

Loyola University Chicago, The Institute of Environmental Sustainability had a virtual graduation ceremony last night.  There was no Cap and no Gown, but it was nice to have some closure for the past 4 years.   It was a different kind of graduation.   The school is scheduling an in person ceremony for all graduates in Chicago for early August, but it still will not be the same.

Kirsten has had a wonderful 4 years in Chicago at Loyola.   She has grown into lovely, compassionate, outgoing, world traveler who is very driven.  She was once a homebody, but no more.   I am really proud of my girl and all the things she has done.   She has worked super hard and graduated Magna Cum Laude.    She wants to change the world and I think she just might.

Though the world is in chaos at the moment, there is a new young crop of college graduates who are ready, willing and able to take the world by storm.  Though there may be no Cap or Gown at this time, it does not take away the achievements of this class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Years Old

Today my oldest daughter turns 25 years old.   How could that sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy little girl be all grown up and 25 …. and how can I already be 52?
She has always been independent and a little stubborn, well ok a lot stubborn.

My first baby, born May 3, 1995.    She was a about a week over due and had to be induced.    We went to the hospital at 6:30 AM and 12 hours later we had a little human who was totally dependent on my husband and I.    I will never forget the doctor handing my new baby girl to my husband and then my husband showing her off to my parents ….. hello I am the Mom and I need to see my baby!  She had to be forced out and was born with a little cone head, but she was still perfect (her head shape is now fine) and it was love at first sight.

My little girl has grown up to be a caring, hardworking, loving, independent, world traveler.    I could not be more proud of her.   She may not have found that perfect career yet, but she is still a very loyal and hard worker and I know she will land on her feet and find her passion.

She is finding her way in the world.    My girl and her boyfriend of several years are picking up and moving from our home state of Ohio to Dallas TX next month.   I am really excited for them to experience this and grow in their independence and as a couple.    If I am being honest, I selfishly like them closer to home, but it is not my life or my journey.

My wish for my children is that they are happy, caring, productive members of society and that they never forget where they come from.  I just want them to be good people and they are.

This child made me a Mom 25 years ago.   It hasn’t always been perfect, but I wouldn’t change a thing.   I have a fantastic relationship with both of my adult daughters.  I am grateful for my girls, my husband and the life we have made.

 

Trials and Tribulations

April 25, 1992, 28 years ago I married my best friend and for life partner.   I don’t feel this old and that I could actually be married to someone and the same person for over half of my life.   We have been through so many trials and tribulation and the fact that we are still together and love each other is no small miracle …. there is a force greater than us, we belong together.

We met in 1988 at Ohio University and for me it was love from the start.

We have been through illness, addiction, accidents, deaths, raising children, sibling issues, moves, separation, some things I just don’t want to write about and this quarantine.

I never would have survived my Ulcerative Colitis, colon removal surgeries and recovery with out my faith and the encouragement and care of my husband.   It was rough and life altering to say the least.  We got through it together. Addiction was also my problem.  I hid it very well from everyone including Steve, but when the shit hit the fan and I needed help, he was my biggest supporter.    He definitely knows now when I need a meeting or to be with my sober people.  He can’t totally understand the issues of addiction, but he does his best.

The death of my Father, 10 years ago, was a major blow for all of us as it was a sudden, with no warring death.   Steve and my Dad were very close.   My Dad was a Father figure to Steve and he was my biggest cheerleader.   We were able to weather that storm together.   We all still miss him terribly.

Life hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.    At once point we were very close to divorce, but by the grace of God, we over came.    The separation from a job 1.5 hours away came at the time we needed the space from each other.   He got an apartment and came home on the weekends for the kids.    It was rough one, but we both had a chance to use this as a growing experience and to learn more about ourselves and each other.    With the help of therapist we gave it another try and for that I am grateful.

This quarantine has us together almost constantly and it has been good.   We genuinely enjoy each others company and doing things together.   I will admit though time apart is also good  😊  But for the most part we are surviving this time at home together.

Life happens and life happens to all of us.    I am so grateful that there was a force that kept bringing Steve and I together.   April 25,1992 was a day that changed me to a Mrs. and guided my life to be what it is today and for that I am eternally grateful.

Meeting Time

I have been feeling a little isolated from my tribe during this time of quarantine.   I had been doing zoom AA meetings and some meet ups with friends.   It is not the same in any way shape or form.   I have been missing the personal interaction, the hugs and the fellowship that takes place before and after meetings.

With that being said, I had been getting complacent with my meetings.   Zoom was just not getting it done for me and I have been getting irritated with the technical difficulties and with everyone looking to me to get them fixed.   I was getting nothing out of these meetings … I just could not pay enough attention, so I quit logging on.   We all know that no meetings is not the correct answer.  I was getting very irritable and just feeling out of sorts being “off schedule”.     I think a lot of the state and country is getting sick and tired of the isolation.   We want to stay safe and healthy, but we also want to get back to life outside of our homes.

So I made the bold decision to go to a meeting in person.   I have mentioned before that our club is still open for meetings.   I had not been to an in person meeting in over a month.  It felt good just walking into the room.   The chairs are socially distanced, we don’t hug one another or hold hands during the Lord’s Pray.   But still … some people just got too close. No one wore a mask (including me).   I loved being in a meeting, but at the same time did not feel totally comfortable with it.    I think the media and everything has everyone so scared of contacting the coronavirus we just can’t relax while we are out, I know I couldn’t.   It doesn’t help that I am one of those people they talk about that need to be extra careful due to the auto-immune disease.

I don’t think it is time yet for me to be at in person meetings, but I am not sure what to do now to get a meeting.   I am probably going to have to continue to suffer through those zoom meetings, it is better than nothing at all.   I also think I need to try some other zoom meetings away from the club …. ones I am not in charge of.    What I really need to do though is pay attention during the meetings and not get so easily distracted.

The million dollar question is when will all this be over?    When will we find our new normal way of life in light of this pandemic?    Everyone is getting anxious, I know I am.   I really need to reconnect with my people and I look forward to when we can do that … in person!

At Home …. Still

Well, we are going on close to a month of this stay at home order.   I have been keeping fairly busy with various tasks around the house.   I still have not really been anywhere.  Going out each morning to the little coffee shop in town to get my chai tea latte and coffee for Steve and Kirsten is usually the highlight of my day.    I have met up with a couple of friends as we sit in our cars at a distance to chat.   Face to face interaction with friends is very much needed.   I especially miss my in person sober tribe.

I have been doing the zoom AA meetings quite regularly, but it is starting to get old.  I have not been able to totally pay attention in the zoom meetings.  I have been very easily distracted in those meetings.   I desperately need to get back to the in person meetings.   Though our club is still open and operating, I am just not comfortable at this time in light of the virus and the stay at home orders.    I miss the fellowship of the meetings.   I have had drinking dreams and using thoughts and desire, by the grace of God I have not acted on those thoughts.   I do know that nothing good would come from it.   But too much idle time is not good for this addict and there is a lot of time with not much to do!

I have been trying to stay in contact with friends from the program and staying in touch with my sponsees.   I did a 3rd step with one of my girls via Facetime and I have another step meeting scheduled.  Working with others and getting out of self for bit is very helpful during this time of quarantine.   But still it is not face to face so it is a very different kind of step work.

I am trying to do some little task from home from where I volunteer.   We had a volunteer zoom meeting the the other day and it was nice to see some of the ladies I have been working with.    I have also done some virtual get togethers with my sober peeps, just to chat.    We are all trying to do the best we can to stay connected.

There are a lot of zoom meetings in the recovery community from all over the country and the world that one could join.  I have been sticking with my clubs meetings, but maybe need to try some others for something a little different.   I love how everyone in recovery is trying to help those in program stay the course.

I am still trying to find the gratitude.   I have everything I need.   We still have money coming in, we have food, we have a nice home to be isolated in and we are healthy.   I am trying to choose to find the good.   I am not going to say it is not difficult, because it is.  There is still fear, fear of getting the Covid19, the fear of the economic impact and just fear about what is happening in the world.    So many things that I can not control.

Life especially right now is so unpredictable and I have to stick with taking it one day at a time to try to keep my sanity while I am staying home.

Easter 2020

Today is Easter and 2020 is unlike any other year.    No big family dinner, church services are online only, and for the Easter Bunny it was slim pickings.    All around the world people are trying to make the best of the situation with stay at home orders.  Even though there is some fear,  I have seen people coming together and it is a comfort.    Seeing the empty streets of big cities on TV is eerie.  Life right now is just weird.

It is my. hope that when we get through this, things won’t necessarily go back to normal, but a new normal …. a better normal, a kinder, loving and more gentler normal.

I am missing my older daughter, Allie.   She is working in a daycare for healthcare providers and she can’t come home.   We did get Kirsten home from Chicago and I am happy about that, but I would love to have my little family all under one roof as we navigate this quarantine and the deadly Coronavirus.

So for today, I will try to remain in gratitude.   Gratitude for my Higher Power, gratitude that I have what I need and Gratitude that all of my family and friends are safe in their own homes.

Easter this year is definitely one that we will remember.

As they say, We will get through this together ….. One day at a time

 

It’s all Virtual

Zoom virtual meet ups have become the thing that is holding everything together during this time of stay at home orders and isolation.

The key for me is the virtual 12 step meetings that I am attending almost on a daily basis.  It is helping me to stay somewhat sane.   It is important to connect with my tribe, my peeps, my friends even though it is only virtually.  It is comforting to be among like minded folks and the fellowship.     AA Zoom meetings are taking off like wildfire across the country.  But AA’s aren’t the only ones meeting virtually.

Friends are getting together for virtual happy hours and meet ups.   I was in a virtual happy hour conversation with some of my old sorority sisters the other night.  There were 6 of us.   They are drinkers, I was a drinker – they don’t know I am now in recovery.   I haven’t seen some of them in 25 or so years except for Facebook interactions.   I will admit it was fun to see them and catch up some.   But of course the conversation turned to alcohol consumption – where they drink, what they drink, who threw up last from drinking, when we would all get together for the next drinking event, even my beloved Xanax was mentioned  ……. I was starting to get that stinking thinking and triggered by all the “fun” drinking talk and memories.  I had nothing to add to the conversation and I felt awkward.   It was pity pot time, why do I have to be different?

What I realize today after the fact, as much as I love those girls from college, they are no longer my people.  Sure I could join them in a drink, but that is not who I am today.    I am not going to lie, I would love to be able to hang out with them and be part of the group that I once was.   But I have grown and I have evolved into a different person from what I once was.   I hate that drinking is the bind in some relationships and such a part of our culture.    More than anything with the drinking conversation I got annoyed.  I excused myself from the virtual group and conversation and went on my merry way, to call those who are now my friends, my peeps, my tribe and that was were I belonged.

Quarantined

It is official:  The state of Ohio has issued a “Stay at Home” order.   Only essential services are open.   You can go out to work if you are essential or one can go out to get food … that is about it.

Today is officially the first day of the order.   I started yesterday, so today is day #2 of full stay at home mode for me.   We had been staying home quite a bit before the order so it does seem like it has been going on longer.   We are to be at home at least until April 6th.  which is about 2 weeks.

With my Ulcerative Colitis, even though I no longer have my diseased colon, I am considered an auto-immune patient.   With this coronavirus that is one of the population that should be more careful and may have worse systems of the virus if you should get it.

One of the things that I had continued doing was my 12 step meetings.  Now that the virus is starting to spike in Ohio and we are asked to stay home …. I am going to have to join the virtual meeting crowd.   Our club is still open for those who choose to go in person.   I personally think we should not be open, but I understand those who need the in person aspect.  We have spoken to our local police department and they are aware of who we are and what we are doing and why we are still open and they are ok with it.  Being on the board, I feel like I am abandoning the club and the people, but I also have to look out for myself.    I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I shouldn’t be going to in person meetings.    This is another good lesson for me in giving up some control of my responsibilities.    I am not the only person in the program that can do what I do.

Our business is still open and Steve is still occasionally going into to the office to help navigate this new normal for the company.   I hope and pray he does not bring any of the virus home and that our employees stay well.   They are taking a lot of measures to keep everyone safe and well.

So day #2 of me being home, I am doing what I can to keep myself busy and entertained. It will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out.   We all hope it will be quick with a low number of deaths and those affected, but only time will tell.   If everyone would heed the words of the government and stay home we could get over this a lot sooner.   I am trying my best to keep taking it one day at a time, but it is still scary!!!