Thursday meeting 8/9/18:
I’ll preface by saying that I get something from every AA meeting I attend whether I’m feeling the overall vibe or not. Today’s meeting had its good points. Samantha came, and I’m always happy to see her. She was getting out of her car when I pulled up, so walked into the church together. Jennifer was chairing this month—it’s good for me to be in her presence with her frankness and inclusivity. She’s also super cool with her deep summer tan (August) and carefully accessorized attire, she attracts a lot of young women in the program. I had been out-of-town on summer vacation with my family, and she had texted that week and asked if I was coming to the meeting Thursday. Vacation was nice, but I was back now and needed a meeting. I missed my peeps.
I reached out to Lori Wednesday via text, and she said she had some sad news—Betty’s Jim had passed away that Monday. Congestive heart failure. I learned later from Joan that at the very end he bolted upright from his bed in the middle of the night and drew his last breath (he and Betty were sharing a room at this point). I would carry this powerful image in my head whenever I thought of Betty grieving. What a blessing for Betty to give him life, follow a similar journey into a sober life, and be fully present when life was taken from him.
The heaviness in the air was palpable when we walked into the church basement. Betty was absent and I feared she would be gone for a while. When Jennifer asked for announcements, Ray volunteered the news about Jim, including funeral service and visitation arrangements. Both Betty’s and Jim’s seats were vacant. When Lori spoke she let us know she had spoken to Betty and that she would not be coming for a while because she “couldn’t bear to see ‘the chair.’”
Becca was the speaker. She had a lot to say—so much had happened in her young life. It was a drunkalogue without being one—she simply had been through so much. Becca was probably in her mid-thirties, blonde, and bubbly. Despite her trauma and life circumstances, she exuded a positivity that was nice to see. There were a couple of takeaway gems for me…she mentioned that she starts to “get crazy” when she doesn’t go to meetings, and how she has a “sober buddy”—her husband of whom she met in the program. I spoke to that and talked about how little things build up for me when the gaps between meetings are too big, and how I had my own sober buddy. I felt a little bad—in my eagerness and excitement to be back in the room of St. Paul’s after a month gone, I neglected to mention Jim. God knows my heart, and I would make sure that Betty knew it as well.
*My husband and I went to the funeral home to pay our respects to Betty that Sunday, and I’m so glad we did. The support of AA fellows is represented by funeral (or other big life event) attendance. He would always say when we’ve debated going to a funeral, “It’s a pain. Nobody likes them, but a person will always remember who came to their loved one’s funeral.” I’ve grown so fond of Betty and wanted to acknowledge her suffering. When it was our turn in the receiving line, she threw her arms around me, and said, “my man was handsome.” I asked her how she was doing, and she replied in her typical fashion, “Well…I want someone to shoot me in the head, but no one will do it!” We both burst out laughing. Thankful for the folks and the honesty in the program.