- Mental Health»
Come walk with me- Journey of the lost girl
Women in recovery. How brave are they? I have the utmost respect for them in their journey. I just returned home from a night serving our women that live in our housing program. I am a Director of Volunteers at a human service agency. I had fifteen volunteers in the kitchen with me tonight. The theme for the recognition dinner was a Hawaiian Luau. We served teriyaki chicken skewers, vegetable fried rice, baked yams, and coconut pie. It is amazing how God knows just where to put your spirit. You will soon see what I mean. I work at a human service agency serving at risk families and children. I love it so. I feel so blessed God put me here at this agency, and it was not a coincidence. It was Godcidince.
This is a very special night we put on for our women in recovery, twice a year. It is truly one of the most incredible,inspiring nights that I have the honor to be a part of as Volunteer Director. Personally, I feel so blessed on this night because I see the pain and the joy these women transition through in their fight to stay sober and maintain a healthy life style. Each and every woman is recognized for the months of sobriety, their child's attendance at school, volunteerism, and more.
Come take a walk with me as we go back in time. I am the youngest of five children. I am two minutes younger than my identical twin sister. We lived, what could be seen as a story book life. Most people looking at our beautiful home on Lake Minnetonka may conjuer up nice thoughts of those dwelling within. The boats, our tennis court, the phone next to our dock which we nicknamed the "St. John's Yacht club", the spacious home with eight bedrooms and three bathrooms. Let us not forget the verse in the bible that speaks the truth about money and power and how hard it is for a rich person to get into heaven.
Thank goodness I was blessed with my identical twin sister. She and I truly believe we must have asked to be together in this life time. We know the hard road would have been even harder, enduring it as singletons. The story book fairy tale had many dimensions and some points were good and even exciting. My mom and dad met at the airlines. They both flew for a living. My father was an airline pilot in the days that being a pilot was a very prestigious position. My mother was a flight attendant. They lived the high life which included lots of drinking and partying. They married in Tokyo since they were very fond of a Japanese man there. He was something of a kindred spirit and found my mom and dad just the right church to marry in. The church or chapel was inlaid with gold all around the saints and the angels. The stained glass was profound and moving and made you feel like you were in the presence of God. My father had always been deeply religious and had a special relationship with St. Theresa, the little flower. Dad in a "God cidence" moment, found a chapel of St. Theresa, the little flower and that is where my parents wed. Please see the link on St. Theresa and her inspiring life and death.
Everything about this day is burned into my psyche. I was only nine years old. I remember the song that played on the radio, the smells in the air, the dark, heavy energy in the car as all five of us young children rode to the funeral home with our dad.
As I walked into the funeral home, It looked too bright, too nice. Something felt wrong about how fake it looked. As we walked in to the room, that room where my mom lay, I could feel all the eyes upon me. My aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, looked at me and wept as they touched or carassed my hair. They felt sorry for me and all my sibs, I could feel it. I walked to the front of this depressing room. In the coffin, there she was, my mom. Now I knew why my relatives were looking at me like this. I felt that my heart would just stop right then and there. I felt dizzy, hot, scared, like, why would anyone want me to see this? This is not my mom. This was a body of her, laying still. Her lips were pale and looked unreal. I wept for hours, not stopping. I paced around that funeral home like I was lost. I was lost. My mom was gone. This would change my life forever. Before we left, I laid a clay heart that I made for mom in art class, in her coffin. It said " I love you mom". I painted it bright colors, hoping it would help my mom see it.
My mother died from the ravaging disease of alcoholism. Some Chronic alcohol abuse exacts a greater physical toll on women than on men. Female alcoholics have death rates 50 to 100 percent higher than those of male alcoholics. Further, a greater percentage of female alcoholics die from suicides, alcohol-related accidents, circulatory disorders, and cirrhosis of the liver, says researchers from the NIAA.
At some point I will write an entire book on my mothers death from alcoholism and its effect on myself and my siblings. Rest assure that I am ok. I have a strong faith in God and he has put me in a career that I love helping women just like my mom. The difference is they are getting help. My heart that was broken from her death has been transformed. I can give back in my career and help women that ask for help, survive this Hell from addiction.
I know my love for education stemmed from the hardships I endured as a child of an alcoholic. I pursued my Bachelors degree in Psychology, then a Masters in Counseling Psychology. I always wanted an answer, to figure out WHY? Why would my mom die if she loved me. I can now say that my life is full of peace. The peace one can only feel from a generous creator who has put me in a path of fulfillment. A path that lets me heal while others heal.
Every event that I work for these beautiful women that want their life back is a healing for my soul. I miss my mother, but she did not die in vain.
© Laura Rogers Arne