Say Your Name

I’m already pretty satisfied with my blog’s name and tagline so I won’t be tweaking those, at least not now.  However, today’s Blogging 101 assignment triggered a memory that’s worth sharing … or not – your mileage may vary.

Many moons ago I was a regular churchgoer.  It was my lifeline in the midst of a bad marriage.  The family I found there were loving and supportive.  It was a family of families if you get my meaning. The pastor and his wife and son were the heads of our tiny congregation and my very best friends. The pianist/choir director/Sunday school teacher was my next bestest friend back then.  Loretta could always bring a smile to your face.  And her hugs?  Oh my God (no pun intended)!

I remember Loretta explaining how she taught her children their address when they were very young.  The family lived on a street called Sayre.  Loretta made a game of it and taught them the number of their house and then had them recite, “Say your street” until they remembered it on their own.

When I saw “Say Your Name” this morning it was sort of bittersweet.  On the one hand it made me feel all fuzzy and warm; on the other, I’ve lost touch with all of those dear friends, and my pastor and his wife are gone now.  There’s a hole in my life that they used to fill and I think I’m still trying to find something to fit there; maybe nothing will exactly.  Maybe I’m not supposed to fill it.

What do you think, Dear Reader?

 

The world is a little colder

So many people will be gearing up to write about Robin Williams’ passing; many have in fact already posted; I’ve read several this morning.  Celebrities will comment.  News people will speculate.  Professional therapists will discuss the relationship between addiction and depression.

I don’t have anything earth-shattering to add.  I wouldn’t presume to understand what finally became so difficult to bear that he chose to end his pain.  And I do not blame him.  However, I have been where he was twice, so while I don’t know his particular pain, I do understand the desire to end it even if my own attempts failed.  On the bright side, I’m in a better place (mostly) and I have beautiful children and grandchildren who never would have come to be if I had succeeded.

My heart is with his family.  I hope and pray they find some peace in the coming weeks.

Robin, I hope you too have found peace.  You will be missed.

 

Is it Miller time yet?

Why am I suddenly so emotional?  I was sitting on the train on the way to work this morning, gazing out the window, which I almost never do, when it occurred to me I’ve been doing this commute for a little over 3 years.  The next thing I knew my eyes were filling.  WTF?

I blinked back the potential for embarrassment or awkwardness in front of the other commuters, and ramped up the volume on my music.  I’m cool.  I did not just almost burst into tears on public transit.

But since then I’ve been wondering what might have caused that surprising reaction to a somewhat ordinary thought.

One possibility is that remembering how long I’ve been commuting via train tends to also bring up the fact that we lost our property and house about 3 years ago.  But I’m pretty sure I’ve dealt with that loss.  I still miss my soaking tub, but otherwise – I’m good.

Alternatively, when going beyond the last 3 years to see the Big Picture, I’ve been commuting in one form or another more than half my lifetime – ack!  That’s enough to make anyone want to cry.

Or perhaps my subconscious was facing the hard reality that I will likely be commuting right up until I drop dead.  At 57 you’d think I could be looking forward to retirement, if not soon, then at least eventually.  Just between us Dear Reader, retirement is merely a dream.  I’ll be sitting at my keyboard, proofreading legal memoranda and entering attorneys’ time for the foreseeable future.  Or until secretaries become obsolete, whichever comes first.

Is it Miller time yet?

Writing 101: Unlock the Mind

Rather than discuss the exercise or what I hope to gain from participating, I thought I’d write about my dog, Roscoe.

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He’s part Black Lab, part something or other.  We adopted him when he was four (according to his previous owners).  He’s 14 now.  This is an old photo; now you can see gray in his muzzle and he is having more and more difficulty handling the stairs.  JD actually picks him up to put him in our Suburban when we take him to the park.

A few weeks back we visited the park during Petapalooza, a fair-type event with booths of all kinds, a costume contest, petting zoo, camel rides and free treats just about everywhere.  Roscoe did really well – he just laid down whenever he got tired.  Even if it was in the walkway.  This past weekend though he scared us a bit.  His hindquarters have always been weaker than you’d expect, from the time we brought him home.  They’re growing worse as he ages and it hurts me to watch him.  He doesn’t cry like he hurts but I can see the uncertainty, the fear I guess when he’s faced with going down the porch steps to relieve himself.  Returning up the steps isn’t much better.  JD said he had improved a bit early this morning when he took him out one last time before coming to bed.  Not a miraculous turnaround, but not the same reluctance.

A lot of pet owners would tell me we should put him down, that he can’t have a good quality of life that way.  But they can’t see him.  Just last week he brought his unstuffed weasel toy over to the sales rep from BathFitters wanting him to play.  Roscoe loves going to the park.  He’ll walk a bit, sniff a bunch and then lay down in the cool grass and just watch the world go by.  He still eats all his food, though it takes him a bit longer; and he eagerly gobbles treats when we offer them.  Sleep isn’t difficult and he still relieves himself regularly.  His tail wags frequently and I think his quality of life, while not what it once was, isn’t too awful – for now.

However, his demeanor this past weekend brought his deteriorating condition to the forefront.  JD and I were both in tears over dinner last night, knowing we might be nearing the time when Roscoe should be put to rest.  He’s been a part of our lives for nearly all of our marriage.  He is deeply ingrained in our hearts and lives.  We’ve cuddled with him, rolled around on the floor with him, watched him play with our grandchildren, played tug of war with him.  His going will leave a huge hole in our lives.  HUGE.  But I will not hesitate to say goodbye to him when the vet says it’s time.  He deserves to live without pain, without uncertainty.  Roscoe is a loving, loyal companion.  It will be extremely difficult to lose him … and “extremely” doesn’t begin to describe how much it will hurt.  Devastating comes to mind.  I realize it isn’t a tragedy of earth-shaking proportions.  Just a tragedy for the Does.

I’m trying to look at it this way – it isn’t losing him.  It’s FREEING HIM.  That’s the only way I’ll get through this.

That, and a double scotch on the rocks.  Here’s to you, Roscoe.

Innocence Lost

Write about the most precious thing you’ve ever lost.

This is my first post here and when Word Press prompted me I started to panic.  I didn’t have anything ready to post!  So when I saw the Inspire Me link of course I clicked on it.  The prompt that came up was to write about the most precious thing you’ve ever lost.

Word Press couldn’t have known how that would affect me.  I lost my innocence when I was very young.  It was so long ago, I’ve never known for certain exactly when it began.  You see, my grandfather liked girls.  Yeah, no surprise there, a man liking women, right?  Wrong.  My grandfather liked girls.  Little girls.  And maybe little boys too for all I know.

I don’t personally remember the first incident; my mother told me years later that she’d left my baby brother and I with Grandpa while she went to work.  One day when she’d picked us up I said something about Grandpa and I “playing games”.  That was the end of Grandpa babysitting.

Years later, Mom ran off with a man (again, not much of a surprise) and left us with her friend Melray (That’s spelled phonetically by the way; I have no idea if it’s a real name or just what I remember calling her).  Friend might be too strong a word for the woman.  She was a complete and total bitch from the word go.  Our toys were redistributed to her children and we were made to do household chores.  Nasty household chores if memory serves.  I was in elementary school; my brother was under five.  The only thing that saved us was my Grandmother found out where we were.  She brought us to live with her, our Grandpa and uncle.

Then the real games began!

On the one hand, I wish I could remember how long we lived there before our mother came and got us back.  But on the other, knowing how long it went on could be counterproductive?  All I know is that when they told us our mother was coming to take us “home” wherever that was, I broke down into sobs.  Which ever one of the grandparents it was who told me thought I was upset that I had to leave – but I was so damned relieved that I would be able to get away from my Grandpa I couldn’t contain myself.  I think that moment set a precedent for the rest of my life, but more on that later perhaps.

Many years later, good old Gramps tried again.  Unfortunately for him, he made the mistake of trying when I was an adult.  Granted, I was only 18 and again living in the Grands’ house temporarily (having finished high school and being completely unable to tolerate living with the stepfather of the month).  This time though I put him in his place and he backed down.

Many more years later, after the failure of my first marriage I finally met someone who helped me understand what that abuse had done to my life and encouraged me to find help.  Group therapy was very healing; especially the role playing.  I got to imagine my Grandpa sitting in front of me and I could express all the pain and rage I felt.  It didn’t matter that he was already dead.  It didn’t matter that he wasn’t brought to justice.  It felt good to let it out and then to soothe and reassure the little girl I had once been.

So…innocence lost, never to be found again.  But wisdom, experience and compassion received in exchange.  Not a completely horrible trade.