I rarely cried while I was growing up in my alcoholic family. I was sure it was a sign of weakness. However, my emotions came as a package. When I turned off one feeling, I shut off all the others.
When my mother died, I had been in Al-Anon a little less than one year. She was my primary reason for joining the program. She was also my best friend. My grief was, and sometimes still is, unbearable. If it weren't for the program, my sponsor, and the support of fellow Al-Anon members, I wouldn't be able to grieve at all.
Thanks to the program, I now realize that grieving is not a sign of frailty. In fact, it's the opposite. Sobbing, wailing, lamenting -- all different ways of discharging my pain so that I can heal -- allow me to experience the strength of my aliveness. They give me the freedom to miss an amazing woman and to carry her memory with me always.
The First, Second, and Third Steps helped me locate the threshold of recovery. Then they gave me the key to open the door to accepting and loving my mother. Now they accompany me as I walk down this dark and lonely hallway called grief. I'm glad I found Al-Anon in enough time to tell my mother I loved her just as she was. I may not have done it perfectly, but I did it. My mother gave me so much, and she continues to give today. Grieving lets me know that we were truly connected and that the love I felt, and still feel, for her is real.
Thought for the Day
The feeling of grief can be an affirmation of forgiveness and reconnection.
"I know now that the grief I experience is normal . . . But if I use the tools of the program, I will be able to work through it."
. . . In All Our Affairs, p. 58
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota