from my inbox:
C (day 818): “Hi Belle. I felt compelled to send you a note. I lost a sister, 50 yrs old, to cancer this morning, she fought a two-year battle. She was my baby sister, 10 years younger than I. It was a very very difficult last few weeks. What makes it so much more heartbreaking is that 4 yrs. ago, I lost another sister to cancer, she was five years younger than I. I know you get thousands of emails from people with their stories, mine is no more special, there are worse stories out there and I know it’s not a competition. I hope you will indulge me for a minute.
When my sister died in 2014, I was not sober. I never gave myself the “alcoholic” label, that couldn’t be me as I didn’t put alcohol on my cereal for breakfast for god’s sake. For sure, I was a high bottom, maybe even medium bottom. Two bottles of wine a night, 5-7 nights a week … I was able to do what I needed to do, but hating myself through every minute of it. I was able to get to every appointment with her, usually at 7 a.m., most mornings hungover and not well. I survived it and got through it, but never felt well and fully engaged. I never thought there could have been anything more devastating. Wrong. Fast forward to today. My other sister passed today on my day 818. What a difference being able to be fully involved, be fully present. She had daily treatments that required transportation back and forth from the hospital for two months. I took her to every one. Fortunately, I am far enough out from Day 1 that I have no desire to drink, it didn’t even enter my mind …
It is so much more rewarding to be a willing, functioning participant. I was humbled to be part of her journey. Wasn’t quite like that with sis #1.
My whole point is that I muddled through the first death, this second one, fully present with a toolbox of tools. I know you hear this often and I know you will say that I’m the one who did the work and quit drinking, but let me tell you this. I attribute my success to all that you provide. You have, in fact, saved my life … nothing worked before, why would it now. But somehow in all this time, finding your book in a library donation section of my local library of all things, reading those first few pages and saying, holy shit, she gets it, keeping up with your OMM’s, your emails, Mr. B’s art, your jewelry, all of it, I’ve managed to do this. Look at my gumroad account, I’m a fan. Never in all my life could I think this could happen. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
The other reason I tell you all this is to let you know my experience with the sober toolbox has taught me there are so many resources out there that I’ve already decided that I will need to seek some sort of grief counseling to get through this second loss. First time around, drinking like a fish, didn’t need any help, I was a genius of course. This time, I am cognizant of the fact WELL AHEAD OF TIME that this second devastation is more than I will be able to handle, and will need to find some new tools from a grief toolbox. But guess what. I am sober. I. Am. Sober …
Thank you Belle from the bottom of my heart. I will continue to follow you, I still need the support. But I have done this, with your virtual help and for that, I am grateful. Keep up the great work and thank Mr. B. for his wonderful art. Hey, if he ever does quarter panels again, I’m wanting to add ‘Stay’ to my collection. (I bought 191b and 191d). With warmest regards, C.”
Season 2 of the
One Minute Message Cards (& Photos) are ready …
Deadline: Sunday, January 27, 2019
Every month for 6 months you’ll get an envelope in the mail, and in that envelope will be two cards.
Small messages (one-minute messages actually), transcribed, printed, and laminated. Just for you.
They will start here, in my office. I’ll feed the envelops, one by one, through the printer, and then the stamps go on — the colourful french stamps — ask me to tell you about how I found these 18 year old stamps sometime!
You’ll get one envelope in the mail, every month, for 6 months.
You can do the math, it’s 6 x 2 cards = 12 cards.
And I’ll adjust the timing each month, so you won’t know exactly when it’s coming …