Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beth's Memorial

Beth passed away about 7PM, Wednesday, July 15th.

I am told that she was asleep or unconscious at the time.
Unofficially, she died of heat stroke and possibly dehydration.

However, the root cause of her death was a symptom of her untreated alcoholism.
I guess, she ran out of energy to stay sober.
She was found behind a shopping center where she had been staying for quite sometime with others of the homeless community.
I am told she had been drinking heavily earlier that day and had passed out, never to awaken again.

However, Beth has been liberated.
Liberated from the tragic symptoms - of the horrendous disease of alcoholism.
Liberated from behaviors that the disease imposes upon the inflicted.
Liberated from consequences of those behaviors.
Liberated from any responsibilities she may have had.
Indeed, she has been set free.
She has been returned to our Creator.

Let me apologize right now in advance.
I hope not to sound irreverent, trite, or crass, but I am going to use lyrics of songs we liked and listened to.

Music played an important role in Beth's life and mine too.
Sometimes we have a tendency to adopt lyrics as being our own stories or place them in high regards within our own philosophies.
We romanticize our views with those of the singer or song writer.

One song Beth had adopted for herself, "By Your Side", by Sade on her Lovers Rock album, seemed to exemplify what Beth felt she should be for me.
And expected me to be for her.

SEE Lyrics: "By Your Side", Sade - Lovers Rock

"You Think I'd Leave Your Side Baby?
You Know Me Better Than That
You Think I'd Leave Down When Your Down On Your Knees?
I Wouldn't Do That

I'll Do You Right When Your Wrong
I-----Ohhh, Ohhh

If Only You Could See Into Me

Oh, When Your Cold
I'll Be There To Hold You Tight To Me
When Your On The Outside Baby And You Can't Get In
I Will Show You, Your So Much Better Than You Know
When Your Lost, When Your Alone And You Can't Get Back Again
I Will Find You Darling I'll Bring You Home

If You Want To Cry
I Am Here To Dry Your Eyes
And In No Time You'll Be Fine"

However, as Eric Clapton sings in "Promises":

SEE Lyrics: "Promises",  Eric Clapton

"I got a problem
Can you relate?
I got a woman
Callin' love hate.
We made a vow
we'd always be friends.
How could we know that promises end."
As you may already know, Beth had little regard towards rules and even less respect for being told what to do.
She wanted to do things her way, by herself, when she wanted to.
It comes as no surprise that she reveled in Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
I think, Ana McGarrigle penned more appropriate lyrics that Linda Ronsdat sings:

SEE Lyrics: "You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down", Linda Ronstadt

"You tell me that I'm falling down
A drifter with no role
You tell me that I need a friend
To help me take control

Well let it be I'm not alone
I'm only lonely see
And you can't tell me where to go
Or what or who to be

I am exactly what I am
And not the way you'd like to see me be
I look outside long as I can
Then I close my eyes and watch my world unfold before me

About 3 years ago, Beth and I went to see a simul-cast of David Gilmour, the main voice of Pink Floyd.
One particular song struck a resonating chord with Beth.
She heard the song as if sung from her own perspective towards me.
It's about a couple in the midst of some disagreement.
Whilst one has fallen asleep, the other slips out for some time alone, in hopes of returning to a smile.
Recognizing that they are wasting days and days on the fight, the singer goes on to say:

SEE Lyrics: "Smile", David Gilmour - On An Island

"All alone
Though you're right here
Now it's time to go
From your sad stare

Make my getaway
Time on my own
Needing a better way
To find my way home
To your smile "

Over a year ago, I ran out of smiles.
I made difficult decisions.
I had to protect my daughter and myself from the insane behavior that alcoholism drove Beth in to doing.
They were merely symptoms of a disease that took control of Beth.
Beth wanted us all to hear David Gilmour's song.

Just as she romanticized the song, I tried to do so with the accompanying slideshow.

Here it is - SMILE
Play Smile

Alcoholism is genetic.
It is inherited from parents and passed down to children and grandchildren.
It is a family disease.
One of the symptoms is odd behavior.
Illogical, unusual, unthinkable behavior.
And the disease spills all over other family members.
And so too, the symptoms of crazy behavior begin pouring out from those who love an alcoholic.
We can't help it.
We don't know any better.
Many behaviors that are normal and common, or even expected in a normal relationship, get twisted, engorged, and unhealthy when dealing with an active alcoholic.
Early on in this type of a relationship, we may get stuck in the steps of grieving.
We unwittingly contribute to the care and feeding of the Monster of Alcoholism.
We often make bad situations worse.

Beth frequently pointed that out to me. She claimed I was sick.
She said she met a fellow in one of her rehab. aftercare A.A. meetings that said that I needed help.
That I needed Al-anon.
Naturally, I resisted that suggestion.
It's all her fault, her problem, her disease, not mine.
But Resistance is Futile.
Eventually, to help me cope with the spillage, the effects of of alcoholism on my life, I began going to Al-anon.
And that fellow who claimed I was sick became my sponsor.
I have asked him to say a few words.
Please welcome, David.
David speaks....
I'd like to thank you David and your wife, Beth, as well - Thanks

At this time, I would like us to share our happier memories, funny stories, or personal moments that we were luck enough to have experienced by having Beth in our lives.

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