Are you Eddie the Baker’s widow?

10 01 2012

I met Ed in AA. I watched him for a year before we ever spoke and exchanged phone numbers. Our first date was an AA function. It was a Valentines  dance, Feb. 13, 1978. Together, we worked our program of 12 steps, encouraged each other to do above and beyond what looked possible and we grew together as useful citizens in our community. Our last outing together was at an AA meeting where my Love got terribly sick and ended up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital where he died, 36 hours later. It was so hard to walk away from his body that night in the hospital. So much of that time is a blur to me. A horrible blur.

It has taken me more than eight months to finally walk into an AA meeting again. I have been to three, so far, and each one has been horrid. The first one was a Big Book meeting where two leaders read from a chapter of the Big Book of AA and then comment on each paragraph. It is my least favorite kind of meeting. I left early when one person raised their hand to speak and proceeded to inappropriately carry on about his former sex life during his active alcoholism. People don’t know what to do when that happens because we don’t want to stifle anyone but, for the love of sanity, really???

Two days later, I attended my home group meeting that Ed and I are members of. It was January 5, the 35 year anniversary of my sobriety. I did not want to acknowledge it, I did not want to get out of the bed at all. I could easily have pulled the covers over my head and cried all day long. But, I made myself get up and go to my group. I can’t tell you what was said. I just kept hearing Ed say, “We do it to be a power of example. New comers need to know that they can stay sober for long term and get through anything that comes their way.”  I got there on time and I stayed for the whole meeting. At the end of the meeting I went forward and received a chip (a token poker chip) to show that I was sober for 35 years. I enjoyed a few hugs and sweet words from folks after the meeting. One lady asked if I was Eddie the Baker’s widow. I think I said yes. It was surreal.

The next day, I went to a discussion meeting. The topic was how to deal with tragedy and death without taking a drink. Toward the end of the meeting, I did manage to raise my hand to indicate that I would like to share something, but I was too late. Lots of people had lots to say on the subject. I prayed that the young lady who introduced the topic was helped by some of the discussion. During the meeting, two of Ed’s friends told me how much they miss Ed and what a beautiful memorial service we had for him. That blessed me. As I tried to sneak out at the end of the meeting, I was detained by a young lady who is one of  Ed’s good friends. He called her “Kiddo”. As we talked, I noticed a familiar plaque on the wall behind her. It says,”Success cannot be measured by how high we climb the mountain, but by the obstacles we overcome on the journey.” Eddie the Baker. My husband had it made and donated to the fellowship hall before he died. Ed overcame a lot of obstacles on his journey. He was a power of example to many and many people still quote him at meetings all over Wilmington.