Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Through the Voices of Women

Take a lump of clay
Wet it, pat it, 
Make a statue of you
and make a statue of me. 
Then shatter them, clatter them, 
Add some water
And break them and mould them
Into a statue of you
And a statue of me. 
Then in mine there are bits of you
And in yours there are bits of me
Nothing ever shall keep us apart.
~ Kuan Tao-Shen

I walked into the crowded room of the church hall - again - and took my usual seat in the back.  Maybe this week I'll hear what I'm wanting to hear.  The presenter was introduced and I began squirming - again - in exasperated disappointment, "Oh no, not another one," I silently lamented to myself.  I stayed and tried to listen.  I was on the prowl.

During the same period, I was reading a book that in part, told real, personal stories.  I randomly selected true-life passages to read, in the hope Divine selection would guide me directly to what I'm seeking.   Instead, I was similarly antagonized - again - with more dearth.  I kept reading anyway.  

A common quest for many of us after a loved one's premature, sudden, unexpected death is pursuit of an answer to the question, "Why?"  We naturally attempt to seek understanding and solace to aid in healing our heart.  Our greater desire, nonsensical as it is, is to hear the answer direct from our loved one exactly what happened and why.  For some, this can be an inhibitor in moving forward, a longing, obsessively curious need to know, never satisfied.  What went wrong?  Why did it have to come to this - death?  So we prowl.  We read, study, sit-in-on, interview, investigate, pester, and dissect anything and everything we can that may get us the answers we want:  What?  Why?  How?  

I went prowling too.  My initial prowl began before Boomer died.  His denial of and lies about his alcoholic disease (read: Reality) ran so long and deep, I didn't trust anything he said anymore.  I started with a need to learn and understand what I was dealing with (read: Maya ), just trying to get by One Day at a Time.  I went prowling again, after he died, in desperate hope that I might hear honesty and truth - in some way, any way directly from him.

When I was still in a career as a personal fitness & wellness coach, Boomer often questioned my selective client-demographic choice - women - narrowed through the years to a niche age group.  "Why?" he'd ask.   I'd explain, "Because I get women.  I am a woman.  I understand them ..."  Boomer didn't get it.  And it got worse when he drank and grew sicker, as he lambasted me as being anti-man, not liking men.  "Well, I like you.  I married you, didn't I?" was my sarcastic retort from prolonged frustration.

After Boomer died, I started regularly attending open AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, specifically speaker meetings.  Open AA speaker meetings are open to everyone, including the general public, and typically feature one recovering alcoholic member who shares their personal story, in three-parts:   what it was like, what happened, and what it's like today.  It's raw, uncensored, not glamorous and very, very sad.   I'd sit in the back of the room, often a church hall, alone and listen.  Early-on I couldn't hear what was being said, I was too preoccupied.   For weeks, every meeting I attended the speaker was a woman; her gender was preoccupying my ability to hear what she had to say.  I didn't want to hear a woman's story.  I wanted a man's story.  I wanted Boomer's story.   

At the same time I was reading AA's "Big Book", the manual for recovering alcoholics.  This blue, hard-cover, 575-page book, co-written by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, AA's co-founder's, was originally copyrighted in 1939.  Mine is a third edition, gifted to me by my friend, Doug, whom I refer to as my surrogate Florida dad.  They were both born in 1939 and Doug has kept watchful, supportive tabs on me both before and after Boomer died.  That one Friday morning following another futile attempt to get answers at the church hall the evening before, I randomly opened the book to read a personal story - compelling - yet ironically it was another woman's story.   In the midst of reading about the housewife who drank at home, out of nowhere, the book fell from my hands and dropped to the floor.   I sat there aghast.  She was Boomer - they ALL were Boomer.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park - 2009

Boomer's story was being Divinely told to me through the voices of women.  I get women.   It was the only way I could hear what I needed to hear because every man to me resembled Boomer and I was too emotionally entrenched in my grief  and sadness that he, as it states on page 58 was, "...constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves." never finding his way to treatment or recovery.  Through the voices of women, Boomer told me everything I wanted to know, in a way which he use to make mock of, though now was able to leverage to help me reach peace, serenity and acceptance.

That only tapped the surface.  Through the voices of women, not only did I see Boomer, I saw myself right along side him.  This opened a new chapter of personal honesty, excavation and transformation, awakened through the voices of women and the alcoholic death of my loving husband, that I too, like my beloved Boomer, had been living life on E (read:  Little Girl).

By the way, the very next open meeting I attended a man spoke...I got it.  

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