At this exact hour, a year ago, my brother was hit by a tram in Cairo and passed away almost instantly. That time I was out with a friend having a drink and a chat. It was about an hour after his death that I got a call from my mom yelling “your brother died”! That phrased still rings in my ears every now and then. I felt like a bullet imploded in my stomach.
I flew back home to be with my family. It took me almost 2 full days before I could reach Cairo from NZ so they had to bury him before I came back. Everyone was sad but it was normal to not have him around in family gatherings. We lived in two different countries for years and it was okay that he is not around. He will eventually appear and we will talk and catch up. Or he will call me or I will call him. When I left home six weeks later, I snapped back into life, kids, work, wife and marital problems etc. I lived in the perfect denial.
I decided to host a memorial service for his soul on the 15th of June which marks 6 months on his passing. That was the hardest part of the year. I planning his memorial service was an admission from me that he is gone. Pain takes over me as I type these lines and find myself overcome with tears. I felt so much pain, I was almost not fit to drive, work, or just do normal day to day stuff. 10 days later I attended my first SLAA meeting. It was the perfect distraction. If you’ve been following my blog you’d notice that I may have never mentioned my brother. And you’d know how much I immersed myself in my recovery.
Yesterday I was in a face to face SLAA meeting. I had so much to share and then I talked about my brother’s anniversary and found it difficult to hold back my tears. After the meeting I was approached by a couple of SLAA members, they tried to console me, but I really needed a moment alone. I dashed outside the hall and started weeping. When I came back in I was warmly welcomed and everyone was very nice. Well they are always very nice anyway. then I shared how the year have been with me, how I dealt with his loss so far and just couldn’t hold it back, I collapsed into tears and this friend of mine hugged me and gave me a shoulder to cry on. With however much pain I was going through, this was a magical moment. I was vulnerable in the arms of another man without sexualizing the situation. It was nothing I would have dreamed of before SLAA. And I know that I did sexualize a hug from a close male friend when I had just found out about my brother’s passing.
Just as I was driving off another SLAA member got into my car and we started talking. He shared about the loss of his father and heard me share what I am going through and we connected. I am so glad for the fellowship.
Today I took the day off, spent it with my mom, we went out to lunch then sat somewhere quiet to pray and remember my brother. We laughed and cried and talked. I had a good rest of the day, my kids were so easy to put to sleep and now I am typing this. I will continue to pray and remember him and his soul and continue to cherish the sobriety that allowed me to honour my brothers passing at a level I never knew I was capable off.
Today was the second day of the Wellington SlAA Retreat. I am really tired but happy.
last night I couldn’t sleep till 1 am cause another slaa member in our room snored really loud. so me and another guy had to look for another room. then I was up at six am. my clock is set up for the time my kids come into the room. when I couldn’t stay asleep I just got up and said my prayers and started having breakfast.
we basically had sessions that deep dive into every step and we got all the way to step 9. there was a fair bit of sharing for up to step 4/5 and then the sharing got a bit light. I guess because less people had experience in the later few steps. it was wonderful.
we had a nice outdoor lunch and the sun was out the weather was great. then we had an hour and a half of afternoon break and a few of us went for a drive and a walk, the nature was gorgeous. Below are some more pictures I took.
Dinner was a great gathering of friends, wonderful team work and collaboration effort. and after dinner two of us went down to the rive and started throwing rocks in the water. it was great. felt like little kids again. I loved it.
when I got back they had a social night organized, it was NZ quiz. didn’t work for me at all, very quickly felt out of place. (I am not kiwi by the way) so I decided to take a bit of time to myself in a corner and post this. I will go to sleep soon. (I hope) cause I am beat.
On my last day of the trip I went to the morning face to face meeting that takes place every Saturday. I was feeling shame and humiliation that kept me humble. I have always shared things that looked good and sounded good. this time I new I needed to be vulnerable and share my imperfect work. it was a burden, but I am glad I got it out. after the meeting some of the members went for coffee and it was good to catch up with them in an informal setting. then I went to my hotel to pack up.
I checked out and went to visit family that lived in Singapore, we got out, ran some errands and then visited with some friends who came to catch up before I fly. it felt great. I was so glad to have been sober during that time. then as the evening approached I was on my way to the airport.
at the airport I did a bit of shopping, then hung out with a colleague who happened to be flying back on the same flight. so she kept me company till we took off. it was good.
on the flight I sat next to a young female fresh graduate on her first business trip. we exchanged a short conversation and then I was in deep sleep before the flight took off that I missed the first meal. I watched a couple of movies when I woke up and then it was breakfast time and shortly after I landed back in New Zealand.
I was happy to be home, happy to see my kids, my wife and my mom who is visiting us. I was warmly welcomed. while I was so tired I still went to the face to face meeting that afternoon cause I needed to be with other SLAA members. I needed to check in back into the country and announce my return. I also got to share about how I put myself at risk on my last night of the trip.
it was a full day hence the delayed post. kids took for ever to go to bed and I am tired but I feel alright. 🙂
thanks for keeping me company during my second trip sober by the grace of God.