Nine Years Later, I’m Still Sober

June 23, 2010, our daughter, my stepdaughter, died. Sober, I had euthanized a beloved dog and cat: my best friend of 25 years died unexpectedly; I buried my mom after a lingering dying; my first sponsee died in an alcoholic spiral.

Three years sober and our daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. We watched her fight and fought with her and for her as best we could for 10 months. In her fight, we watched her give birth fighting every day to keep her baby alive. She died. Sarah died. I still need to say that out loud at times even today, for it feels impossible.

Life happened. It happened to Sarah. It happened to me. It happened to us. Three days after, she died, our son and his wife were married. Amid all of that grief, there was such beauty and joy. That, I believe was a gift of the spirit that Sarah left each of us with in the only way that she could. I could not imagine writing these words then nor now had it not been for the pain we all felt. I cannot imagine living with the pain had I not found these words or these words that found me then and now.

June 24, 2010

29.7 years
356.67 months
1,550.71 weeks
10,855 days
260,520 hours

A remarkable life to those that love you
Your happy kind vital gentle spirit
That soared
(Words echoed round our kitchen yesterday)
So freely given to all for us to carry now

Just yesterday I felt such despair as your body cooled to my touch
As we watched the very essence of you fade
Your smile
Your laugh
Now only echoes

The numbers of years months days hours
These they matter not because it was and it is
Your so very remarkable life that cannot be counted
Neither measured nor weighed
Too short without doubt

29.7 years
356.67 months
1,550.71 weeks
10,855 days
260,520 hours

June 23, 2019

My heart remembers even though I try to forget
The day she died the last breath she took
Her radiation-scarred chest that no longer-filled
An unfinished tapestry that was so richly wrought
Promising vibrantly beautiful in every way
Remains like an unfinished quilt
Draped across an empty chair in an empty room
Light disappeared in the emptiness
That she left behind that June 23rd day’
Time heals ‘they’ often say to comfort
But ‘we’ know that that simply is not true
We members of this an unfortunate club
For which no one ever dares to apply
However this I now know and have come to believe
Though time alone heals little that I’ve seen
Love deep love till it hurts love heals many a heart
So let your heart hurt and remember what you cannot forget

About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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