Monday, July 20, 2009

Loss, Illnesses, and Spirituality

The soul leads you to the right and perfect opportunities for you to experience exactly what you had planned to experience. What you actually experience is up to you. July 20 Meditations from "Conversations with God - Book 1" page 174
Damned I'm glad to be sober.But one thing about being sober that I hear from so many other sober people is that they can be there for their relative going thru a rough spot, illness, death, etc. I was there for my Mother even through my drinking. She lived with me for the last 18 years of her life. She was well, she was sick, she was hospitalized, - over and over again. When she was diagnosed with Oat cell Carcinoma (lung cancer) I was with her. I was always with her for her Dr. visits. At times before the cancer, my employer let me take two hours for lunch to go to the hospital to see that she ate and the same thing for the nursing home and I extended my day by one hour in the evening. Never in the morning - hangover - but evening. I stopped by the hosp. to visit for a couple of hours after work and then went home and got half sloshed and then went to the bar to finish up getting drunk. I was very fortunate that I was not needed at night. If so "I would not have been there."During all of her illnesses I was there for her during waking hours. When she was diagnosed with the cancer and it was described to her as small cell carcinoma, she thought it was just a little bit of cancer. She never understood that it was terminal. Or did she, it would have been just like her to say it not so bad to try to keep me from worrying. The week she died my partner and I took 5 days to go to our mountain cabin for a much needed time out. I called her twice a day at the nursing home. I talked to her the morning she died, I was coming home so that I could take her to her chemo treatment. I was walking out the door and the phone rang. Vic answered it and called me to say it was Dr. Pinsky. He told me that Mother had died at noon. She was having lunch and just slumped over into her plate and that was it. I just started to scream and he yelled at me - calm down Zane - she went well, had she lived she was going to be so much worse. I stopped and listened. She died at the right time in the progress of the disease. I got through that, got the funeral arrangements done etc. and then I just got stinking drunk. I was fine for the funeral and reception after. That night I got sloshed again and was mostly sloshed for the next few days. Then just went back to my regular drinking habits. I still look back at that and wonder why I did not just fall off the deep end and just stay drunk. When I think about it, I know it was God that got me through that time as he has during all of the low times in my life. In sobriety I can look back and see that he was doing for me what I could not do for myself. I just was not aware of it. Today, as a sober member of AA I am very aware of Him being with me and helping me through the lows of my life.
Today is the 25th anniversary of my second oldest sister's death. She died of brain cancer on her 60th birthday. I never really got to know her. The last time I saw her was when I was 15 and my sisters' father died. Her name was Dorothy Evelyn and we called her Rockie. Their last name was Rochelle. I grieved over Rockie, mostly over what never was. Mother had not seen nor talked with her since 1952. Mother was just numbed by her death, cried some, but she had really buried her in her mind years before, but always held out hope.
This past week my sister Rosalie has been in the hospital in Beaumont, TX. She has advanced COPD with 45% lung capacity. She is in there because of severe back pain. As I noted last week, they have discovered several compound fracture in her lower back and she had been cleared by all her doctors for surgery this week, but they were doing an MRI to be sure there was not anything missed. I talked to Rosalie this afternoon and she was really down. This is so unlike her. She wasn't maudlin, but just upset because the MRI found lesions on her lungs. This I did not expect. Damned my Mother died of lung cancer, my sister Rockie died of brain cancer, and I just thought it is just not right to lose Rosalie to cancer also. Then she told me they were doing a bronchoscopy tomorrow to see if the lesions were malignant. Now I had just in the span of two seconds had her with cancer. I told her I would be over ASAP and she said "Wait until after the test." I want you here, but wait. So we talked for a few more minutes and she said she was tired and we said our love you's and goodbye and hung up.
I immediately went to the internet and looked up lung lesions. There are a multitude that are not cancerous. It could be scarring from the COPD, or numerous types of pneumonic lesions, which are treatable but not necessarily terminal. This was good news to me. My plan right now is to go over there this Wednesday, hopefully to be with her for her surgery. We should know by tomorrow evening. I have hope, I have my faith that whatever happens is beyond my control. Whatever happens, God will get me through. He always has, and I know He won't change now.
I wrote this because I know that several of us have health issues with family members or have just gone through them. And we are and have all done so with a strong belief in our Higher Power. It did not take me to become sober to have a higher power, it just took me to get sober to have a spiritual relationship with my Higher Power. And I feel that power in my whole self. Spiritual sobriety ROCKS.
Tonight I am grateful for:
  • God, my Higher Power
  • My Sobriety
  • Mamie my schnauzer
  • My Sponsor
  • My Right Eye
  • Strength to accept current status of my Left Eye.
  • Being Sighted
  • Never doubting that I can get through anything Sober no matter what. Some of you have proved this to me over and over again.
  • That Wanda and I reconnected after 45 + years.
  • A fabulous evening at the Lambda Talent Show this past Sat night.
  • Sat dinner with Daave, RIck, John, Norris.
  • All y'all

Y'all be pretty now, ya heah.


dAAve said...

At least you can/will be there for her as a sober brother.

Trailboss said...

Cancer is such a horrible thing. So many people die every day from cancer. I was scared to death this time last year but thank God I was cured. Put your faith in God and He will take care of everything, but you know that.

Syd said...

Zane, thanks for writing about the loss of your mother and sister. I can tell by what you wrote that these deaths were hard. I hope that all will be okay with Rosalie.

Scott W said...

Hang on, brother, hang on!

Steve E. said...

Zane, it seems like you are "being pretty now" through some really powerful and tough memories, and life as it is today.

You stay pretty now. And I'm gonna "be pretty now" also, No Matter What.

Thanks you for the reminder, my spirits are lifted already.

Tall Karen said...

Thanks for this post Zane. So much passion and love and faith. I have ailing family as well, and most times I just don't what to do, other than just be present. Thanks for sharing your experience.