That battle with alcoholism, that battle with herself, that became a battle for us all

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 5.21.06 PM

Mr. lost his aunt this week, it could be said that she lost her battle with alcoholism, now I know this isn’t like saying she lost her battle with cancer and yet she did lose, and she lost this battle far before she lost her life. She had 3 children an older boy and 2 twin girls. Now I have seen photos of her with them as children, she seemed happy, loving and loved, she had a husband, and children, a life.

Now I wasn’t there when as this war began I did not watch as one drink became 4 became a bottle, and a night cap, and a wake up call but I can imagine the progression, the war within herself the pull of her beautiful children, her life and the liquor winning out every time, I can picture the sadness from loosing yet again pushing her to grab that last swig of that bottle. Most parents want to see their children grow, want to see prom, graduation, meet the new girlfriend watch them fall in love and get married, most moms want to be there for all the little things too, I am 24 and I still call my mom at the end of a bad day just to talk. I can imagine that she would have wanted that too.

By the time I met her the battle had been lost, she lost her marriage, her children would’t speak to her, her career, and even a few toes. She had been stripped of all the pieces that make life worth living. And yes she woke up everyday and made the choice to start the day with that one drink that turned into 10, I know she could have found a meeting, worked the program, made amends, done something. I acknowledge her choice but I also acknowledge her fight.

When I met her met her we thought she was dying, her liver was failing and she was literally filling with fluid, everyone went to her, everyone said their goodbyes, her children broke the silence and sat by her side and then     she got better some part of her began working again filtering out all the bullshit that had been festering inside and she lived

Then there was limbo, where do you go from here as a family, do you welcome her back with open arms and hope that this was the final scare that she will turn the corner of the war? Sometimes that is all it takes in a war, one battle one and the tide turns. And what does she do after you walk out of the hospital after your whole family already bid you adea, sent you into the after life. How do you wake up in the morning with that same war waging inside you and continue to fight?

Well that was 2 years ago and there were times she could have won times I would see her at family functions and think, just keep it up and they will come around, keep fighting you can push alcohol right over that cliff.

But the family has also been fighting a battle. They had to fight their nature to reach out and help, their desire to find something, anything that will make her stop, that would bring their daughter, sister, aunt, mother back to them and by the time she cheated death, by the time I met her they knew they had lost. And though she was still alive, they mourned her loss, they mourned. When they spoke of her it was in sadness, often in past tense.

Where do you go from there?

Where do you turn?

Back to the same thing that started this long fought war and turn she did, until 2 years later the liquor finally took her body, even though it took her life, her soul long before. And for the family that day ended their fighting as well they got to lay the body of their mother, daughter, sister, aunt to rest alongside the life they had buried within themselves.

Now whose right is it to say this was a choice she made so “how bad do you expect me to feel” who has the right to declare it anything but what it was, a war.

How can I be so mad at the God I have grown to love?

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 12.03.16 PM

Last night, I received a phone call from my old lead teacher, I started as an assistant teacher in a special education classroom before pursuing my masters in special education. There were five adults in that classroom to support the very individual needs of the students and three of us became very close. However this year we had all gone our separate ways the lead teacher was on maternity leave the first semester after having premature twin boys, I entered grad school and as a result began teaching in a different school as a part of my training and so that left just the one of us in our old classroom, “holding down the fort” if you will. We all stayed in touch however, grabbing dinner when our schedules allowed, keeping each other up to date on our lives and texting for everything important or not important not allowing the separation to make our bond any less.

So back to  yesterday, Sandra ( the lead teacher) texts me and tells me to call her after class. Now the text wouldn’t have been any cause for alarm, it was the need for a phone call, which we have pretty much abandoned in our friendship over the past year that began to cause me distress. So all day I contemplated what it could be about, I was worried about the boys and thought maybe coming back to the classroom this semester had been too much for her and that she was calling for support, or about my job positions for next year. So when I finally got ahold of her after class and she began by, ” It is about Elizabeth.” my heart sank.

She proceeded to tell met that Elizabeth, our third musketeer is in the hospital, and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. TERMINAL. I mean how could this be, I was just texting her about my wedding two weeks ago. She had been fine, she hadn’t even had a cold this year, which is a miracle considering we work in a pertri dish and last year she had strep, bronchitis and laryngitis. She was happy and healthy and we laughed, and now, she is dying! How is that even possible? A stomach ache, a possible UTI, a trip to the ER and now. . . terminal cancer, spreading so rapidly they didn’t even give her a timeline, she is completely, inevitably dying.

And here I am left mourning my friend, who hasn’t even died yet.

I found myself dreaming of her, waking up in silent tears from them, I found myself crying in my car on the way to school, thinking about the future classroom we had dreamed of having. I am mourning . . . and then I find myself crying because I should be celebrating the time we have left, right?

This comes just weeks after one of my new, but equally as influential friends husband was diagnosed with cancer, his was treatable with a surgery luckily and he is on the road to recovery. But neither thing is in any conceivable way fair.

I prayed and prayed for her husband to be well, and he is. But no amount of pray, aside from a modern day miracle will save this friend. So where does that leave me and God?

I was not always a religious person, but I have grown to love the comfort and community that a relationship with God brings me. He gives me solace even when there is no solace available. But not this time.

Now I am just mad, so very mad at him. Why would he do this? How can this be part of some grand plan I am supposed to believe in, when we will be left here without this essential part of our world, of my world. How will we go on? There is no part of me that can be consoled by the ” God needs another angel,” and “It must be her time. ” It is not her time, and God has an infinity of angels. Give me something real, give me a reason I can comprehend for this to happen.

I don’t think that there is one. And that is the fate of those of us left on earth. We are fallen man, left to deal with the pain and suffering that we have created for ourselves, and the pain and suffering that is unimaginable.

So here I am wrestling with this anger, I continue to open up my heart to pray to think if there is any way that God can give me this, just enough time just more time with her then I have to continue to pray. But what do I do when those prays go unanswered? When the inevitable happens and she passes away, where will I be left then? In a constant tug of war with God waiting for answers I may never get?

Does that diminish my faith? Or is this relationship, this real visceral feeling of a relationship with God what I am supposed to feel? Is this this that feeling I have been waiting for that lets me know that God is real and that he hears me and I am not ignored for becoming a believer so late in life? Because if this  gut wrenching anger and guilt is the feeling is what lets me know that God is real, I don’t know if I want it. . . you can have this pain back, if I get to spend just one year in a classroom again with her. You can keep it.

Kelsi Rae