“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
We all like to think that we have a calling in life, sometimes we embrace it, sometimes we ignore it or sometimes we just don’t recognize it. For Margaret and Roger Bloss they had two distinct callings and they embraced them completely. One was to raise a family of ten children with immense love and faith; the other was to save people from themselves and their addictions.
As individuals they had both been touched by addiction, Margaret married an alcoholic who died from his disease at the early age of 36. Through her experiences she became involved in Al-Anon and in the 60’s she was involved in the establishment of a Safe House for wives and children needing a safe place to stay due to the potential dangers of a loved one’s alcohol addiction. Richard was a father of three children and was a recovering alcoholic; he became heavily involved in Alcoholics Anonymous.
A friend of Margaret’s set the couple up and their love began to grow and the couple went on to marry. They decided that despite the potential pitfalls they wanted to make the relationship work. Now a large family of twelve, they faced many struggles and life was not always easy, but their love, faith and determination persevered. They raised their family as practising Catholics and faith was always a huge part of their lives together. Roger actually passed away on Easter Sunday; the family gained great comfort in this and took it as a sign that they would be ok.
Their personal experiences led them both to work and help others struggling with addiction. They had an in-depth understanding of the damage that alcohol addiction can do and wanted to use this knowledge to save others. Margaret went on to become a certified addiction counsellor. She used her qualification to help those suffering from addiction as a program director of Amethyst Dependency Services, the chairperson of Madison County Community Services Board and finally as an active member of the Madison County Mental Health Board.
As a recovering alcoholic Richard used his experience with the AA fellowship to help other alcoholics overcome their disease. Richard went beyond AA meetings and was involved with various prisons working with inmates. His dedication and commitment was evident in the fact that he never forgot the anniversaries of those in the program. Just days before Richard passed away he ensured that medallions marking the milestones of members were arranged to be presented to them.
When discussing the lives of their parents and their legacy the children referred to them as kind, caring, non-judgmental and as saints. Their influence went far beyond their family, as they had clearly touched the lives of many. At a recent memorial service for the couple hundreds were in attendance and many shared stories with their children about the salvation they had offered them.
When we are faced with our mortality at various points in our life, we think of the life we have lived and how we would be remembered. Margaret and Roger Bloss took the challenges, sadness and pain they had experienced and collectively used it to change and save lives. What is a good life, a fulfilled life- is this it? Albert Einstein once said that “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”. Should we heed the genius’ determination, the life of Margret and Roger Bloss was unquestionably worthwhile.