This afternoon, after I get off work and sleep for a few hours, I will be attending the Rosary for the Repose of the Soul of our friend Joe.
Today is also the twenty-fourth anniversary of the death of my husband Fred.
I was a pregnant bride, I am sure, when I walked down the aisle in April of 1987. Just four months later I would be standing at the side of a gurney at Kaiser Hospital in Martinez, holding the hand of my dead husband as the child I wanted more than my own life would slide out of my womb onto the cold hard hospital floor.
And in an instant I lost them both, along with any reason to try and be a better person or a good woman. I gave up, snapped, said good bye to the world and disappeared into the back bedroom of my mother's house in Pleasant Hill. I would hoist a cocaine pipe and a bottle of vodka and tell the world to leave me alone. I stayed that way for the next five years, not finding sobriety through the 12 Steps until 1992.
I never married again - not for lack of desire (or trying for that matter) but simply because no one since Fred has ever wanted to marry me. Considering my taste in men since his death, this is a good thing. A gift from God. And while I would love to be someone's wife, my criteria has changed so much over the years that I am pretty content to let God take care of the relationship part of my life.
Because I usually have bad taste so...
Twenty four years. Isn't that amazing? I wanted to be so many things - a famous actress and writer, mother and wife - and instead I work for the government in a field that makes me giggle at its absurdity. The mere fact that I am a non-sworn member of law enforcement proves, beyond any doubt, that the Atheist is wrong. There is a God, it is not me and He has one hell of a sense of irony.
As a Catholic, I have learned more and more that reliance upon God means developing and nurturing that wonderful underlying reality of life: Everything is fine.
No matter what is happening in the world, light or dark, everything is going to be fine because everything IS fine. We are persevering, we are running the race to the end. We are not once saved, always saved, but we are loved beyond belief by the God who has created us.
The Sacramental Life is one that allows someone like me to go out into the world and see what's happening...to pass for normal out there, among the rest of you. It also allows me to recognize those members of my tribe who are also walking around in the sunlight of the Spirit, tossing their hair and smiling from ear to ear because we have cheated death one more day, one day at a time.
I have a little over an hour left of work. I cannot wait to get home. I am sleepy and I am tired. I have worked hard tonight.
Good night, Joe. Good night, Fred.