Updated: Jul 25, 2022
This week was tough for me, on many levels. The daughter of one of my friends took her own life. The young girl suffered terribly from bi-polar disease, did not take medication and lived in a trailer by the side of freeway. Yet her mother accepted that and did all she could do help her without losing herself in her daughter’s problems. But she couldn’t save her. The terrible disease of mental illness killed her.
The next day, I found out that one of my close friends who was fighting cancer had died that morning. She had been my hero, an inspiration to me when I was raising my kids, a mentor, and a staunch supporter of my sobriety – despite the fact that in the early years we shared many bottles of wine together with good friends and welcomed several New Years together in her beautiful home. She was a tiger, fighting her disease with the help of her fantastic husband, amazing kids and their spouses, and her grandson. Not to mention a tight-knit group of friends who walked her journey with her.
And this week I also had Covid.
That was the least of my worries. It hit me like a freight train on Wednesday and Thursday, with flu-like symptoms and intense fatigue. Then it mostly went away. I am still extremely tired. I have to isolate through Monday, but I am feeling so much better than I did last time, pre-vaccines. However, I have a bad pain in my chest because my heart is broken.
I have had many family issues that I have been juggling lately – my sister, who had a stroke at 53 and is now only 67, is exhibiting signs of dementia, and she and her husband are struggling financially. My brother had a terrible bout of pneumonia that turned into sepsis and landed him in the ICU for four days. He is recovering, slowly, but his heart and kidneys were damaged. We don’t know how bad.
And my mother continues to decline as the terrible disease of Alzheimer’s robs her of her brilliant mind and memories. Luckily, she is in a wonderful memory care center up in Chico – even though she thinks it’s a hotel room up in Redding.
I don’t want thoughts, although that’s sweet of you. I want prayers. And not from any of you Christian Rights who pray on Sunday then go to the gun range to test your assault rifles, listen to Fox News or other media that tells you Jan. 6 was just a blip. (No offense, but it truly wasn’t.) Or those of you who think that the government can control a woman’s body. Well, okay, I'll take your prayers. Who am I to turn away prayers?
But I do want -- and will give in return -- prayers from real spiritual people who pray their own way, with a God that brings them a sense of security, strength and love.
I recently posted this on Facebook by Anne Lamott – my favorite writer. She says what I want to say – that spirituality can be found anywhere, and one’s God can be anything. But I love the comment my friend Chris Wagnon posted: “Praying on your own is practicing your faith. Praying on the 50-yard-line in front of an audience is marketing.”
I’ll be honest. I was raised Catholic but abhor many of the church’s policies. But it’s hard to un-Catholic yourself, so I have never taken on another faith. But thanks to my program and studies into astrology, I have developed a God that’s part old testament, definitely new testament and some Eastern philosophies. It’s a smorgasbord God, but it works for me. And I have a pack of Guardian angels, one that I hope my friend Kassie might deign to join if she has time up there.
I know that God has my back. And I am scared stiff of the day I will truly have to use him. But he and my spiritual posse are getting me through a really tough time, and they were there when I was going through my own devastating times – I just didn’t know it then. But he was there in form of Frannie, Charlie, Mick, Laura and Tony, not to mention my pups, Posey and Lola. (Posey is part of my spiritual posse now.) And a pack of friends who were just names but are now family.
I can’t tell anyone how to pray, or how to find their God, or even to say they should. It’s a journey that some are born with and it sticks, and others, like me, who discover it on my own. But I hope my God spares some time for my friend who lost her daughter, and the family of my friend who lost her battle with cancer. And my other friends who are fighting that dreadful disease. And my big brother. I don’t want to lose him.
And for all of you. In the end, we all need each other.