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The Fourth Dimension

Susan B, Monterey, California

"We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed." (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 25)

My Mother died in 1992. It was awfully sad. Pitiful, incomprehensible, demoralizing. She was an alcoholic.

Prior to her death I confronted my feelings for my mother as I worked through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I had left home when I was seventeen and hadn't been back for over twenty years. I didnít realize how much anger was bottled up. Of course, everything was bottled up ó I was a daily drinker, for twenty years. It all came pouring out in my Fourth Step.

By the time I reached the Eighth and Ninth Steps, my feelings towards my mother had changed. I understood how very sick she was, and I had some compassion for her. I was able to admit and accept that I am an alcoholic, a gift that she was never able to receive.

By that time in my recovery I also was able to talk with my younger brother, whom I had left behind. He was receptive to my amends. He asked me to come back to North Carolina. He needed help. Our mother and grandmother and his son were all facing serious medical problems.

I went back and forth between California and North Carolina for some time. My grandmother died, and we buried her. My mother's condition was stable, and I was able to be there for her. My brotherís boy was not going to survive his cancer. I was able to establish a relationship with him, my brother, and my mom. I was present. I was sober and available.

When my mother died, she left me a little money. I was surprised. I hadn't expected it. I bought a little house, my first house. A real fixer-upper. I couldnít even move in right away because it needed too much work.

I still hold onto many Southern traditions, and one of them is that we always wear a rose on Motherís Day, a red rose if our mother is living, a white rose if she is not.

Motherís Day arrived, and I needed a white rose. I stopped by my fixer-upper to check on some recent construction. The garden at the house was a mess. No one had tended it in years. As I opened the gate, I could see something white in the bramble of long forgotten rose bushes.

There was one white rose. Just one perfect white rose, growing out of the bramble.

I donít have a lot of fond memories of my mother, except that she always had beautiful rose bushes when I was growing up. I knew that the rose in my garden was from my mother. For me. And I was "rocketed into a fourth dimension."

Iím still fixing up my house ten years later. I tend the roses with love and gratitude.

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