A Sober August

For me, August is a month of right-sizing, clarity-producing memories, some glorious, some not.

My daughter, Jennifer, was born this day in 1977. The day she was born, the moment I saw her for the first time, well, life doesn’t give us any moments more glorious. 

Tomorrow, August 11, marks three years to the day that Charley came into my life. Non-animal lovers, the poor sods, won’t get this, but animals are family too and Charley is wonderful, and often wide awake given his inexplicable love for eating coffee beans.

And then there are the other memories: my mother’s suicide on August 12, 1992, my father’s death on August 16, 1969, and the day I was shot on August 24, 1984.

Before I got sober the latter three dates drove me into the ground every August. They don’t do that any more. There is no doubt that August 12 and August 16 mark perhaps the worst days of my life. I’d go through the shooting a dozen times if doing so would turn back the clock and spare my parents their end.

In sobriety the days that mark their death and the one that marks the shooting bring me to a place of quiet, gentle, pensiveness. I know they are near me, I can feel them. I am proud to be their son, and I am unflinchingly grateful for the time we had together. And, I know, that while death takes the person from the world, it never takes them from our hearts.