“We find that spiritual principles can guide us in the everyday challenges of life, and they can help us face even loss, grief, and death with fortitude and grace.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 61
My father died three years ago. Choosing photos for his memorial service was excruciating, knowing the truth underlying the camera-ready moments. Now my mother is dying and her disease manifests symptoms reminiscent of my painful childhood. My insides feel untethered, as though gravity doesn’t exist.
My grief often comes out as anger. It rises from the deepest part of my stomach, aching to be seen. By the time it reaches my heart, I feel I must release it or I will disappear. The release often leaves catastrophic debris in my relationships. How do I take care of myself while caring for my ailing parent? How can I be the daughter I want to model for my son? I pray, “Please keep my heart open and help me see my true nature: gentle, loving, vulnerable, kind.”
I share my pain in SAA meetings, believing your lives are happier than mine. I tell you that I want either someone to take care of me, or power of control. You nod and smile, invite me to coffee, and make sure I have phone numbers. I work steps with my sponsor and keep close contact with God and the fellowship of SAA. In the midst of pain and confusion, my feet can still find solid ground.
God, help me feel the mixed emotions of life’s changes without losing my true self. Help me remain vulnerable so that, on the other side of grief, I may feel authentic joy.