Most of us escape life and living cleanly. Uhhhhh, we may clean up well but there’s always a residue that resides on each of us and try as we T R Y to cover it all up, IT remains almost like the very skin that contains the profound and profane of our very essence.
So when we hear of the death of a celebrity it comes at us on an aortic level that literally shocks the heart and makes it beat a different rhythm.
All of THIS with the full knowledge that we were born with a terminal, sexually transmitted disease called life. One out of one of us dies~~famous or not. And with each death a lesson. . .now whether it’s learned or not is the issue but never that it’s not been emphatically taught once again.
What Regina Brett, a retired columnist from the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio and best selling author shared is both, worth being Taught and Learning all over again:
When I learned actor Matthew Perry had died, my heart hurt. He filled so much of our lives with laughter in those ten years he appeared on “Friends.”
I could quote so many of his lines by heart because the show touched my heart. But his greatest gift to us wasn’t his ability to make us laugh, but his ability to make us care.
Perry’s ongoing quest for sobriety is epic in the number of times he failed and in the number of times he kept trying. That’s what I’ll remember him for. He kept trying.
The saint Julian of Norwich wrote, “First the fall, and then the recovery from the fall, and both are the mercy of God.”
She also wrote, “Our wounds are our glory.”
In his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” Perry shared his wounds. He wrote about alcoholism and his addiction to painkillers, including OxyContin, Vicodin and Dilaudid. He spent more than half his life in rehab, detox and treatment centers and spend more than $9 million trying to get sober. He nearly died numerous times. And still, he kept trying again and again. Life was worth the fight.
People are going to share their favorite Chandler Bing moments when he made them laugh on “Friends” but Perry wrote, “When I die, I’d like’ Friends’ to be listed behind ‘helping people.’”
So let’s remember him for helping others. This is how he helped us. He left us these words from his wounded life to guide us. His book was his greatest legacy to help those who struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction:
“The thing that I’m most proud of in my life is that if a stranger came up to me and said, ‘I can’t stop drinking. I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say, ‘Yes, I can help you.’”
“My favorite six words in recovery are: trust God, clean house, and help others.
“The thing is, if I don’t have sobriety, I don’t have anything.”
“The man takes the drink, the drink takes all the rest.”
“Nobody ever thinks that something really bad is going to happen to them. Until it does.”
“Addiction, the big terrible thing, is far too powerful foranyone to defeat alone. But together, one day at a time, we can beat it down.”
We. That’s the key word to recovery. We. It’s the first word of the first step in Alcoholics Anonymous. We.
“I start, I cannot stop. All I had control over was the first drink. After that, all bets were off. (See under: The man takes the drink, the drink takes all the rest.) Once I believe the lie that I can just have one drink, I am no longer responsible for my actions.”
“Alcoholics hate two things: the way things are and change.”
“I think you actually have to have all of your dreams come true to realize they are the wrong dreams.”
“If you spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror, you will crash your car.”
I hope he died with a sense of the peace he had when he wrote this:
“When someone does something nice for someone else, I see God. But you can’t give away something you don’t have. So, I try to improve myself daily. When those moments come and I am needed, I’ve worked out my shit, and do what we are all here for, which is simply to help other people.”
“There’s nothing better than a world where everybody’s just trying to make each other laugh.”
S O. . .so what. . . ?
This past week I had several wide-eyed looks at grief, raw, guttural and up close not only at some of the ‘Celebrations of Life’ I conducted but also the painful-can’t-breathe-how-am-I-going-to-go-on-living-anticipatory grief I held space with several families as their MATTHEW PERRY was dying. At least three times the same thing, almost verbatim was stated, “What a shame about Matthew Perry, huh?” and the response was the same in all three instances: “I DON’T CARE, my wife, my dad, my sister is dead, is dying. . .”