Saturday, January 16, 2016


     There's been so much loss this week ...poet C.D. Wright, David Bowie, actors Alan Rickman, David Margulies, Brian Bedford, Dan Haggerty and Noreen Corcoran. The list is enormous.  In fact, I thought I would do a little research and found this wikipedia page created just for January 2016:

I'm saddened by each loss, but Alan Rickman touched me the most.  To watch him was to respect his sincerity and his dedication.  You'd think, it must be lovely to work with him, to get to play together. 
    Yesterday, I learned of another death this week.  Our client Roger came in to run a couple questions by me, and he didn't seem quite like himself.  In his late 60's, you'd never know it from looking at him.  He's trim, full of energy and quick with a sly smile.  We met several months ago when he needed a little help, and through the course of a visit or two he talked about his life, his late partner Jane and his beloved Cockapoo, Milo.  He and Jane had been together for almost 25 years. She died unexpectedly seven years ago and the loneliness was unbearable.  A friend of Roger's introduced him to a rescued tawny Cockapoo named Milo, and they saved each other.
     Fast forward to yesterday.  While we were talking, Roger asked me if I had any animals, and I told him about our cats, our boys Rhett, Murry and Bagheera.  Then he told me that he had had to put Milo to sleep on Sunday.  I was shocked and asked what happened.  He said on Friday when he came home from work, the neighbor woman who watched Milo during the day told him that he wasn't acting normally.  He was lethargic and wouldn't eat.  When she walked him, she noticed his urine was cloudy.  Roger got him to eat a little that night, but on Saturday it was more of the same.  When Sunday morning came, Milo wouldn't or couldn't get up.  Roger rushed him to a local animal hospital that is extremely helpful and kind, having used their services myself.  Roger told me that after blood work and an exam, the vet gave him the news.  Milo had a heart murmur and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.  The vet said that he could treat Milo, and it would be very expensive, but more than that there would be no guarantee it would work for very long, if at all.  He said Milo would have no quality of life when he got him home - vomiting, urinating on himself, possible seizures.  He said, Roger, if you love your dog, you'll put him to sleep. 
     Deciding that he didn't want Milo to suffer, he took the vet's advice.  He said that there was a couch in the room where they had been waiting.  Milo was laying across his lap, and Roger laid a hand on his back to keep him still.  The vet had two syringes, and Milo didn't stir through either shot, didn't make a sound and within a few moments he was gone.  Roger didn't look at me throughout the story, just stared down into his hands.  At this point, he looked up and said, Heather, I wish the vet had taken what was left in those syringes and given it to me.  We looked at each other, and I told him that Jane and Milo wouldn't have wanted that for him, how sorry I was for his loss.  We chatted briefly after that, then said our goodbyes.  We hugged, and as he left he told me to keep an eye on my boys.

Friday, January 8, 2016


     Number one child and I were having a conversation last night about life and change. I was explaining to her that I wasn't the same person before children as I am now, specifically referencing her as she is the aforementioned number one child.  She immediately got upset, thinking that she had somehow negatively impacted my being.  She is a tender and anxious child who wants to take care of everybody's feelings.  So, I tried to explain my philosophy that after many events in a person's life you become someone new - sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not.  I believe that once it happens, you can't ever go back.  Think of when you found out about where babies come from ... there's no coming back to childhood once you get that little nugget of knowledge.  I remember the day my Mom sat me down to explain the mechanics involved. First I laughed, thinking that she was pulling my leg, then I was thoroughly disgusted - you have got to be kidding me, I told her.  Why on God's green earth would you let one of those things (i.e. a penis) near your sacred private parts (i.e. the holy grotto).  Trust me, she said, it's messy and not any fun anyway.  That's a mother supplied nugget of information that changes you forever, too.  
     The big things do it - births, deaths, buying a house, moving, school, a new job, new people in your life.  The little things do it, too - the first time you taste pork cooked the right way, a marvelous book, a new song by your favorite artist, the first kiss, a perfect cup of tea.  There's no going back to the person you were before those experiences.  Problems come when you think you're the same after the event, like those people who have a child and want to live without fully embracing the change and the responsibility that comes with your new roommate.  In this example, I'm not saying you're supposed to stop having fun, but you have to put their needs first and figure out how to work yours into the equation.  Otherwise, you're making a future ax murderer or at the very least someone who will ship you off to the old person's home when you slow down. Think "Cat's in the Cradle," my friends, and you'll know where my mind is going.
     As I mentioned, sometimes these events will not change you for the good.  For me, most obviously to you gentle reader and the people I live with, my Mom's death was a major diversion through the yellow wood.  My sister and I have discussed this ad nauseum.  We're broken, rent.  Time most certainly does not heal all wounds, and I don't know if it's supposed to.  The passage of time might make it easier to provide the illusion of distance and repair, but only if you think of time as linear - onward and upward.  Good on you, if you have that skill set.  It's not one of mine.  I feel like I'm corkscrewing back and forth through a sine and cosine wave.  And maybe that's what a traumatic change does to a human.  I'm sure therapy helps some people, and medication helps others.  And if I couldn't get up and go to work, or pay the bills, ensure the trains are running on time, then maybe I would and should exhaust those options.  My doctor, who refuses to provide pain medication for relief from my consistent back pain, is more than happy to write me a prescription for an anti-depressant.  Will it make the world colorful again, less gray, I asked?  No, she said, it'll help you deal with the sadness.  I declined.  Maybe I'm supposed to experience the sadness, find out who I am after I get to the other side.  Maybe it's an ocean away.