Honoring Mary

Old 06-18-2007, 07:33 AM
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Honoring Mary

Mary scared me more than anyone else in those first Al-anon meetings.

Short red hair, middle-aged, capris, and the cross around her neck. Always the gold cross around her neck. That strong, slightly raspy alto voice.

She was in tune with her higher power ( and a traditional higher power at that) and that was exactly why I wanted nothing to do with her or the rest of the whole al-anon bunch. These people were so freaking smug. What on earth could she have known about my brother, who has not had a sober day in the past 15 years, or my dead father, or watching my uncle waste away as his blood turned 90 proof?
Or the ex-husbands, grandfather, cousins, nephew and now, worst of all, the son?

It was all so easy, I fumed, kicking my leg back and forth as I listened to her, when you reduced your life to a little gold chain around your neck. Hope was for suckers, and Mary was at the head of the sucker parade.

This was also the only one of those early al-anon meetings where I drove away in tears, not understanding why. So that's the one I started going back to. Maybe I was curious, maybe challenged as to why I would leave that one so upset. Because, after all, i hated them all.
I was pretty damn sure they hated me, too. Mostly Mary.

And that's how it went for a while. One day the group brought breakfast in so that we could all get to know each other after the meeting. As if. For I already knew these people, or people just like them. But I stayed. Sitting on the floor next to one small group, when Mary walked over and sat down. I wish so much I could remember what it was she was talking about. All i recall, though, was my feeling when she said it, that...she was not so scary after all.

Not too many weeks later, she came in the meeting and sat without speaking for a long time. Crying. (as one friend put it, "They don't charge extra for that.") I couldn't stop sneaking looks at her. Mary? Crying?

Mary not only had tears, she had grown children. She had a droll humor that could crack all of us up. She had a rich, full history, a cherished higher power and an inner strength that gave me reassurance by its very presence. She was vulnerable. Though she had been in the fellowship for years, she never lost sight of what it was that brought her there — and so, unlike some others who also have many years in the program, she never came to discuss her recovery as tho it was a done deal. She never lectured, though she had the experience to do so; she continued to listen and to learn, and to share her own strengths, hopes, experiences, even when she stumbled.

About two months ago, she was red in the eyes and blue in the heart; finally sharing that she had long been trying to help a friend who had an addict/alcoholic daughter. Her friend had given everything-a second mortgage, all of her time, her enery, her hope, and finally, tragically, her health - to help this daughter who simply was not ready. The friend's health, long neglected, gave out, and she died unexpectedly.

I talked with her briefly after the meeting, and there was all the intensity, all the fierce caring, all the traditional religion that I had first seen, but all of it now in the context of this whole person who had unwittingly played such an early role in my own recovery.
"I have been going up and talking to anyone who will listen," Mary said. "This disease kills. Co-dependency kills. You have to do something because you don't know, you don't know how short life is." She said she knew people might be irritated by her insisting that they examine their life, but she was driven by the spector that another friend might die.

Another friend did. Ten days ago, Mary wasn't at the the Saturday morning meeting.
I found out this weekend that she had died of a heart attack.

She would have loved this board, and the people on it. I posted over in the friends of alcoholics board, too- I just wanted to honor her memory, and her message: to care for our own lives, because we matter, in ways we may not understand and to people we may not know. Thx~nitelite
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:36 AM
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(((Nitelite)))) Thank you for sharing Mary with us... what an honor.

Thank you.

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Old 06-18-2007, 07:40 AM
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Mary sounds like an extra special person. You were blessed to know her, and we are too thru your sharing.


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Old 06-18-2007, 07:41 AM
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thank you so very much for this story.
I have said a prayer and a TY to my HP for Mary and for letting Mary know you so you could share and we could know her too.
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:48 AM
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What a wonderful tribute to Mary!
She sounds like a wonderful woman and a shining example of recovery for all of us.
Prayers for her and all who knew her...and especially for you nitelite. I'm sorry for your loss but I'm so glad that she had such a wonderful, positive impact on you and those around her.
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:59 AM
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It maybe wasn't Mary, but it was someone just like her that kept me coming back until I finally "got it" too.

So thank you Mary, and God rest your soul. And God bless those who loved you and those who wish they'd known you better.

And thank you, Nitelite, for sharing Mary with us. Her spirit dwells at every meeting and right here at SR.

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Old 06-18-2007, 08:05 AM
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Thank you for sharing this with us. It is a wonderful tribute: I am sure that Mary would be very touched.

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Old 06-18-2007, 09:00 AM
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What a beautiful tribute to your special friend, Mary.

May she rest in peace and enjoy those wonderful "Big Meetings" in a Wonderful Place.

To all the "Mary's" out there - thanks for sharing your recovery & helping the rest of us feel safe to start our own path to recovery.

((Nitelite)) - wishing you comfort as you miss your recovery friend.

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Old 06-18-2007, 09:02 AM
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nite, wow Mary sounds like a very special person to know. Thank you so much for sharing her with us.

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Old 06-18-2007, 09:07 AM
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Thank you ((((Nitelite))))
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:09 AM
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thank you for sharing your story. i am sorry for you loss.mary sounds like one amazing prayers are for her & you & all those who will miss her.
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:34 AM
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Isn't it funny how we all impact other people, sometimes, not even knowing we are impacting them!!

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Old 06-18-2007, 06:16 PM
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Thank you. To all the "Mary's" in the world - thank you!
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:33 PM
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Lucky us, that get to meet the "Mary's"

Bless you, Mary's of the world....

And thanks Nite, for the wonderful saga of Mary, she's grinning wing to wing right now, I'm sure....
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