My good and treasured friend Mary Ellen Apgar has a birthday of sorts today. It is a birthday of a type I celebrated a few days ago: the birth of sobriety. Mary Ellen has 10 years today and wrote the following in recognition of it:
“10 years today.
“10 years ago today I woke up on the floor of a jail cell. I had no memory of how I got there and couldn’t remember anything. I made a choice that day, and I chose recovery. I chose to remember.
“Now I have the gift of being able to remember everything. Sometimes that might suck. Because sometimes memories might be hard or cause heartache. But still . . . I get to remember.
“I get to remember everything about the love of my life, Joshua, and our upcoming wedding day. I get to remember watching my dad sing in a band. I get to remember my mom baking me a pumpkin cake for my birthday. I get to remember having lunch with my sister. I get to remember driving to Utah in two days with my step kids to see our western family. Most importantly, I get to remember my tiny human, my baby, my son. I get to remember the day we brought him home, the late night feedings with him, the day he got two teeth, and his beautiful smile. I get to remember being his mom. And the honor of those memories . . . I simply cannot put into words.”
This young woman has become a role model for women in Roanoke who face difficulty in their lives and want to win their struggle with education, effort and courage. Who better to lead them than my friend?
She has been an inspiration to me, as well, with her intelligence, her humor and her grace. Happy birthday, my friend. I love you.