The grief comes in waves.
I don't know what else to do besides write.
At 10:57am, I received a group text message about Scottee being in the hospital due to internal bleeding and fluid in his lungs. He was on vacation with a friend.
At 10:00am I was feeling lethargic and slowed; tired from an early morning and lack of coffee.
At 10:57am, I felt a pit at the bottom of my stomach.
At 11:50am my phone lit up with a text about Scottee passing away.
I feel numb.
I feel nothing.
I know that this is shock.
I know that the waves are going to hit any moment now, but I do my best to turn away from them so that I can function and continue on with my day.
It doesn't hit me until I find two of my friends and tell them what happened.
It doesn't hit me until get in my car, unable to stop the tears.
It doesn't hit me until I am alone and allow myself to break down.
Scottee was 60-years-old. He had been my sponsor for about a year and a half, ever since I mustered up the courage to ask him after moving to a new town, just a few months after my 4 year anniversary of sobriety in a 12 step program.
When I moved to Bel Air, I asked the universe over and over for clarity and direction in finding a new sponsor. I had it in my mind that I was looking for an older woman with some time sober who I could learn to trust and confide in.
When I first heard Scottee tell his story at a meeting, the clarity was there.
Scottee shared about living a lie throughout his addiction, not being present for his family, coming out as gay when he was 10 years sober, vulnerability and emotions in sobriety, and most importantly, how to feel, deal, and heal from his problems and life situations.
I knew he had to be my sponsor.
He cried with me, laughed with me, and shared memories with me.
Scottee got sick with cancer for the third time in his sobriety shortly after. He leaned on his 12-step community, sponsor, sponsees, friends, and family. He allowed us to show up for him in ways that many of us have never showed up for someone before.
Throughout everything, he was unapologetically himself.
Scottee's cancer got better and he started to become more active. He had unwavering faith in his conception of God, despite speaking openly about feeling fear and anger. He never doubted his higher power working his life, and his numerous battles with cancer were proof of that.
Scottee relished his family, travel, and his 12-step community.
He'd always say that God is his shield, and his 12-step community is his army.
Time and time again he cried with us, laughed with us, and shared memories with us.
He would pick up the phone and immediately ask how we were doing.
He would go out of his way to attend 12-step meetings and talk to people.
Scottee got sick again and found out that the cancer had spread to his blood and his brain.
He welcomed scores of friends into his hospital rooms in Bel Air and Baltimore.
He cried with us, laughed with us, and shared memories with us.
When Scottee's cancer came back, he said he only wanted to do four things:
Spend more time with loved ones,
Make it to 60-years-old,
Celebrate his 30 year sobriety anniversary,
and travel with his good friend.
When I called Scottee to let him know I was going to get an additional sponsor, as he was very sick, I was terrified about his response. I felt like I was betraying him, that I was giving up on him. I left him a voicemail.
In perfect Scottee fashion, he soon texted me and responded with:
"At some point I'm going to be sure all of you have sponsors to support you all. I'll always be available as long as I can and will also look to support from each of you from an awesome friendship level. Each of you will know when that time comes (may be here now) and I will totally understand. Yet I'd insist on growing our amazing, loving, friendship and hoping you all keep leaning on each other stronger than ever before. I truly believe each of you are very low to no maintenance and that is why we can keep helping each other the way that we have. I personally need each of you to keep me strong and visible in God's hands. God bless, God speed."
"I love you to the moon and back."
Scottee turned 60 in June.
Scottee celebrated 30 years sober in November.
We put together a massive "celebration of life" party for Scottee in November.
Scottee went on vacation with his good friend.
He managed to do all of these things before he passed.
He managed to do all of these things before 10:57am on Monday, December 5th.
He managed to spend time with and take pictures with almost everyone he loves and has left on impact on his life at this celebration of life party.
He was able to give a speech and convey his gratitude to the people have showed up for him.
He was able to thank his family for standing by him throughout his addiction and his recovery.
He was able to give the newcomers hope for sobriety, gratitude, and happiness.
A sponsee of mine texted me yesterday to give her condolences. She said,
"I love you and I'm sorry for the pain you're going through. He will always be with you! Stay open to the signs he will send you because his soul was so powerful here and I'm sure he will work magic on the other side."
I smiled, but had shaken any expectation of seeing "signs" from anyone that has passed. It's too painful to expect that, I thought. That isn't going to happen, I told myself.
Last night, while shopping for a Secret Santa gift with a friend, I came across this:
I felt a rush through my whole body.
My fingers went numb as I shakily picked it up.
"Oh, I love that one!" The cashier said.
"It's the last one we have!" She added.
I smiled, and I knew this was my first sign.
Scottee was a light in every single person's life he came across.
The world will undoubtedly be a little less bright without him here.
You always encouraged me to write and speak my truth, Scottee.
This one is for you.
Rest in paradise you beautiful soul. You will be missed every day until forever.