To My Friend ~ Suicide Is NOT The Answer *Profanity*…

To My Friend ~ Suicide Is NOT The Answer *Profanity*…

There IS a way out of that mindset and I’m going to tell you about it but first you must place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.

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Which one do YOU choose?  Because I won’t lie, suicide is probably easier. Find a method, implement it, go to sleep ~ and die. No more battles, no more bullshit from therapists that overbook and overcharge. No more being a guinea pig for every new treatment modality Big Pharma cranks out. No more failed attempts to make your family understand that you’re in pain, your head is fucked up and you could use some support. No more angst because an employer denied your right under the ADA of 1990 and dumped you from a 17 year job. No more frustration from trying to get an idiotic bimbo at a government office to listen to you, do her fucking job and help you obtain justice for having your rights violated instead of taking the easy way out by convincing you it would be a long hard fight blah blah. Yep been there, done that. Collect your paycheck worthless clerk and get out of my face.

Because that’s what it often is ~ a lonely battle where no one seems to “get” it. Family doesn’t have time or energy for you when you’re in distress but oh boy! Don’t answer the phone when they call one day and they act as if you’ve drained their bank account and crashed their car. They just ooze the love. But ~ I don’t think it’s that they don’t love us but rather, they don’t understand. They expect us to be like them which we can’t do. The irony is, if they lived inside our head for a few days, they’d run and never look back.

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Yes killing ones self is probably akin to taking life’s low road. Do you know the road I speak of? The one that winds through dark tunnels and dense forests,  deprived of  light and warmth? It’s cold because of the lack of sun so you miss dew on a blade of grass, springs’ first crocus, a rabbit scampering away as he hears you approach. You miss all the moments both good and not so good of watching your child become their own person. One day your frustration at their attitude or laziness gives way and you see them almost as if for the first time; a productive adult that YOU molded. And though at times their apathy is annoying, they truly do love you. If you kill yourself you create a ripple effect that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. 

Because if you kill yourself, you’re also going to kill the people who love you. You’re going to kill the passion which drives you to do what you do so damn well. You’re going to allow the darkness to win and you’re stronger and braver than that.  If you kill yourself you’ll be giving in to the monsters of the dark who live to drag us into their world of darkness. We’ve both been there yet clawed our way out, sometimes by just a ragged nail or two. That says something ~ it says fuck you! I’m better and I’m more powerful than you. You might knock me down but I WILL get back up. Because I have a life and today is NOT your day to claim it.

In Sylvia Plath’s Unabridged Journal she wrote “I act and react, and suddenly I wonder, ‘Where is the girl that I was last year? Two years ago? What would she think of me now?”

We aren’t the same as we were last year or the year before. We’ve changed, taken steps both forward and backward. Some of the changes were society driven while others were by-products of mental health. Then there is the change because our employers tossed us aside like an old worn out sweater, to be replaced with a newer albeit less expensive one. And that my friend becomes you’re defining moment….do I let these steps, these changes, drag me to a place from which I can never return? Never open my eyes after a nights sleep? Never finish a project I’ve put my very essence into? Never see my child marry? Hold my first grandchild? Never make the difference and be the change I wanted to see happen?  

You are braver than you believe and you are stronger than you realize;  never, ever forget that. And know that although it may seem it now, you are NOT alone. Many of us have been sucked into the abyss, many have attempted suicide but thankfully were saved. Then many like my dear friend last April weren’t as fortunate and those of us who loved them will never fully  recover from their tragic deaths.

Yes there are choices but you must choose the right one. For to do otherwise would deny not only your loved ones (who like all families are  often a PIA) of sharing your life but it would deprive the world of the contributions you have to offer and the continuance of the good work you’ve started.

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Tribute To My Callie…

Tribute To My Callie…

♥︎♥︎♥︎ Where to Bury a Dog…♥︎♥︎♥︎

But there is one place that is best of all…

If you bury her in this spot, the secret of which you must already have,

She will come to you when you call

Come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death,

and down the well-remembered path

                                                           and to your side again.                                                                                                                                           

And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel,

They shall not growl at her, nor resent her coming,

For she is yours and she belongs there.

People may scoff at you,

Who see no lightest blade of grass bent by her foot fall,

Who hear no whimper pitched too fine for audition,

People who may have never really had a dog.

Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them,

And which is well worth knowing.

The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of her master.

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Callie Ann Feb. 16, 2005 ~ Nov 6, 2015

 

I’m Distraught So I’ll Write

I’m Distraught So I’ll Write

I’ve been having a difficult time the past week or so whenever I attempted to do the next entry in my GDS Sasha’s blog ~ only because the time period I’ll be writing about was very difficult for me. Then out of the blue on Thursday a woman on Twitter reached out and asked if I was the person who used to have a Facebook page for my black dog named Callie. I was dumbstruck and sat down because it really caught me off guard. She said she put two and two together because she remembered I had a German Shepherd with a Facebook page as well, was passionate (ok crazed) about K9 deaths due to handler negligence so connected the dots.  All she wanted was some support because she was lost and floundering and oh God do I remember those feelings. She had been rejected by every animal organization she applied to for even the smallest of financial grants and said she recalled I wrote a two-part article called “My Dog Has Cancer ~ Now What?” Honestly? When I wrote in Callie’s Crusade I never thought anyone was reading it; it was more of a catharsis for me. Well, perhaps catharsis is an oxymoron for while I wanted to purge my emotions at the same time my writing kept Callie with me. Fortunately I still have all my paperwork from Callie’s illness and was easily able to pull up the articles she was looking for. When she gave me her email address I realized she lives in Florida. I asked if she had applied to Emma’s Foundation but she’d never heard of it. Emma’s was started by a wonderful women as a way of honoring her late dog who died from cancer. From the organizations humble beginnings it’s grown exponentially. They were located in Vermont and were one of the very few if not the only organizations that would assist animals in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine. There are several in New England that are only open to applicants from Massachusetts. As luck would have it the founder and president of Emma’s relocated to Florida in the beginning of 2016 and has had many successful fundraisers both there and in New England. Emma’s is now available to dogs from Florida so I gave the information to the woman. She was ecstatic when she emailed me on Friday to say a gentleman from Emma’s reached out to her that day shortly after she filled out the online application. I felt happy for her and  Maggie because I felt sure Emma’s would lend her a hand. Plus the founder has become a friend and she is just such a  kind and compassionate woman. Something this poor lady really needed. Maggie’s mom said she saw on Emma’s website that they were having a fundraiser today (Saturday) and did I think she and Maggie coud go as she didn’t live far from where it was being held. I emailed the founder and she happily said “Sure! Can’t wait to meet them”.

Today is a rainy day and I was just fiddling around writing about the El Faro tragedy for it sunk one year ago today.  I received an email around 11am from Maggie’s mom and  I expected it to say she was at the fundraiser. Instead, she was at the emergency vet because Maggie has a hemoabdomen (abdomen full of blood). She was so distraught! I responded by saying perhaps it was her spleen which would be the best diagnosis. But she replied that Maggie’s spleen ruptured in February and was surgically removed. Maggie was very weak and they’d given her a blood transfusion but at that point (3:55pm ET) they still didn’t know where the bleeding was coming from.

I wrote the usual things about trying to stay strong don’t worry about money now but focus on Maggie. Then she emailed the words I knew all too well “Help me I’m terrified“at which point I began crying and still havent fully relaxed. It’s the absolute worst place to be ~ a netherworld between the life or death of your faithful and much-loved companion. When the prognosis can change drastically in a matter of minutes. You’re cold and alone even if you’re surrounded by family. I  can’t quite describe it but it is horrible. My heart aches for her yet I’ve never met her or her Maggie. I emailed my friend (the founder of Emma’s) to update her because I knew the fundraiser was over at 4pm and thought ~ I don’t know. Maybe she could connect with Maggie’s mother.

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Every day it seems there’s another horrific case of animal abuse in the media. Puppies being raped, dogs and cats enduring horrific torture at the hands of psychopaths, family dogs being stolen and killed for “fun”. Yet I never become immune to it which is why for my own sanity I limit myself to unnecessary K9 deaths. occasionally something so egregious will hit me and I go off on a media blitz but for the most part I stick with working dogs. Their deaths due to carelessness upsets me yes but in a semi-detached way. whereas loosing a family dog to cancer sends an arrow right through my heart.

Today just sucks ~ I miss her so much

August 2016
August 2016

PS: As I was finishing she emailed to say Maggie is stable but they would like to keep her. She opted to take her home; a decision I agree with. I told her that since Maggie entered her life they’ve been making a memory book together. To keep making them hour by hour and never let that book close.

 

 

 

Holding Onto Anger Is Like Drinking Poison…

Holding Onto Anger Is Like Drinking Poison…

Happy Birthday Daddy

My mind is scattered of late, trying to stay atop a myriad of appointments, medical needs and life in general. I didn’t realize until late last night that today is July 13th ~ your birthday. I’m amazed that you were born 106 years ago. I’m even more amazed that I don’t hate you and in all honesty, probably never have. As I became old enough to understand, I marveled how you, as a young boy, travelled alone to the United States from Poland on a ship. Then that you returned to Europe a year later only to make the trip back to the US once again. All before the age of 15! At the time I remember thinking how brave you were. When I asked why you only had two fingers on one hand, you told me about the accident in the silk mill where you worked; how the machine malfunctioned and grabbed your hand. I remember being horrified and sitting on my own hands as you talked. You said the company paid the medical bills and saved the job for you. You said they were “Good to do that”. As a child I thought that you were lucky. What did I know? You were in your 20’s when you lost your fingers, long before employers took responsibility for accidents and definitely before OSHA. I would listen at the door as you and friends who’d also immigrated talked of life back in your homeland. I remember being fascinated by the stories of war-torn Poland, trying to picture it in my mind. Always marveling at your strength for traveling four times on a ship alone, your intelligence for being able to find a job at the silk mill while still very young and your strength for what you’d endured. You never knew I listened in but it gave me a glimpse into your life. You were normally very quiet at home, sitting at the kitchen table for hours playing solitaire – a habit I not only picked up from you but passed on to one of my daughters. I yearned to feel as if I was a part of your life but you weren’t demonstrative or talkative unless you were drinking. When you first began drinking with your friends you seemed happy because you laughed, something you rarely did. You would talk and play polka music. But the more you drank the different you became. It was if you were consumed by an intense anger and despite lashing out, couldn’t slay the invisible enemy. I feared you when you were “drunk” because all it took were a few words from Mommy and you would beat me. I can remember you dragging me by the hair along the floor so that you could beat me in front of her as she insisted on witnessing it. I thought pulling me by the hair would “scalp” me much like the Indians scalped people in the television you sometimes watched. I always tried to speak of my innocence but you were so enraged I doubt you heard me. Like the time she told you I had stolen your razor from the medicine cabinet. I kept crying and pleading with you to listen to me ~ that I was too short to ever get to that cabinet and besides “Mommy keeps that door locked”. Yet you never once listened to me did you? Whatever that paranoid schizophrenic said you did. If you were sober you obeyed her meekly. If intoxicated you obeyed in rage. Looking back, the one time I thought you would beat me because I deserved it you shocked me by being kind. We had returned from the grocery store and I asked if I could carry the watermelon into the house; you said yes. I was almost to the kitchen table when I lost my grip and dropped it causing it to break. I ran into the living room and hid behind a chair for I was sure I would be beaten. Instead you found me and told me it was ok because it was an accident. I realize now that I was probably only spared because you hadn’t been drinking but nonetheless I cherish that day. I screwed up and wasn’t punished; an event forever etched in my mind.
I could go on and on but somehow it doesn’t seem right to excoriate your name on your birthday. Instead I need to tell you that I forgive you and have no hate in my heart for you. For many years I was conflicted about how I felt about you. Then came the day in 1998 when that idiotic surgeon gave me a wrong diagnosis and the first thought to enter my head? “Well I’ll see Daddy again.” My conflict was suddenly resolved and I had the answer.

I believe you were the product of a different culture and generation, where parents used beatings to enforce rules or punish those who dared break them. I don’t think you were ever “really happy” but rather, you existed. You were submissive with Mommy despite the role she projected as helpless victim. Whatever she said, no matter how implausible or insane (strangers coming into the house and substituting identical but inferior quality clothing for her expensive things comes to mind) you agreed with her. It was as if you wanted to be left alone but when she insisted you acquiesced to avoid conflict. Hence you drank, to escape whatever demons haunted you. Like most drunks, you became different. For you it was being bolder, meaner and violent. Because we both know how capable of inflicting REAL harm you were. I am often tormented by what happened in the parking lot of the bar the summer before I began kindergarten. Nope ~ I’m not going there. Instead I’m going to think of you today as the happier, kinder person you became following her death. I will always cherish the time we spent together and the impact you had on my family. I was truly happy that my children were able to experience having a grandfather because its important that we have a sense of family, a sense of identity. It was something I longed for my entire life but never felt until the birth of my first child. Yet strangely enough immediately after your death I felt like an orphan. I walked around saying “No one will ever call me Bunny again”. My husband thought he could help me so started calling me Bunny. Gotta tell you Daddy it didn’t work and I nipped it in the bud. Bunny was the child, she was a long time ago. You were the last link to that child, the last person who knew her before she became an adult, graduated college, married and started a family. And now you were gone. I’m just terribly sorry that my young daughter was the one to discover you sitting lifeless on the sofa. No child should have to be in that situation. I take comfort however in knowing that your death was swift as your nebulizer was still running. I’m also comforted in knowing that you really enjoyed what was to be your final outing, your grandsons wedding. I’m happy that my father was there to see my son get married. I love you and always will.

Until we meet again…6 7/8

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Something To Think About: “Does Time Heal? Part I

Something To Think About: “Does Time Heal? Part I

The outcome depends on what you fill the time with ~ or rather that’s my theory. Sometimes after life has dealt us a particularly bad hand it’s difficult to get up, shake yourself off and carry on. The pain of losing a loved one, a failed relationship, loss of a wonderful job all take an emotional toll, often on a psyche that’s been bruised once too often. Each of us processes grief differently; I’m not sure there is a “correct” way. Using the death of a much beloved pet as an example, I know people who raised a dog since it was a young pup, making her a part of their family. Their “human” kid and their “fur” kid grow up together. Play time was filled with squeals of fun from both and many times the dog accompanied the family on vacation. Years passed and one autumn day last  the now grown child, college bound, left the family home after tears and hugs were shared with his parents along with  tears, hugs and wet kisses with his furry best friend. At first the dog’s slow pace was attributed to melancholy from her “kid’s” absence. As  autumn waned and winter approached the aging dog didn’t shake what her owners initially thought was sadness. Their once frisky 2 month old puppy was now approaching 14 so they  scheduled a comprehensive examination with her trusted  veterinarian.  After a battery of diagnostic testing they were stunned to learn their “girl” has advanced canine lymphoma (Stage 5) and at best might gain a few extra months with chemo. They agonized and even argued with each other about telling their son. Ultimately they did not because of concern  he’d come home early to see her and the ramifications it could have on his semester finals. They devised a treatment plan with their vet which was palliative, addressing the pain and stress of illness while providing as much quality to her life as possible. When the son arrived home for Thanksgiving he was shocked, angry then heartbroken to see his faithful companion lying on the sofa, a fraction of her former self. Two weeks after he reluctantly returned to college the old girl passed with the help of her veterinarian. Here’s the tricky part; how does one handle the loss of a beloved dog after sharing your life with her for 14 years? The couple in my post chose to find a new dog the same day. They reasoned that a puppy would fill the void created by the old girls death and give the son a surprise when he came home for winter holiday. They called him to say the old girl was free of pain but never mentioned the new family member. In this particular case it created a terrible rift when their son arrived home for the holiday. He had no anger at the new puppy, only with his parents. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. While immediately replacing a deceased pet with a new one might work for some, it could be a recipe for disaster for another. And once again I beg the question; does time heal all wounds? Does the instant family addition negate the years of love one shared with a companion animal? Does it signify a vacant heart or rather, one that is so shattered it craves puppy kisses from a new friend?

This is Callie Ann, my beautiful companion, best friend, protector  and muse for 10 years. I mourned her loss in November 2015 the polar opposite of the family above, opting to ride the “Crazy Train of Grief” yet we both loved our girls without reservation. Their deaths created scars which burned into our very souls, but we handled the time following our losses very differently. Does that mean their wounds were healed in one day or that they loved their dog  less?  Somehow I doubt it. They just chose a different healing process than me. My emotional scars are deep but are also a testament to the unconditional love I shared with a sweet black dog and I am slowly learning to embrace them because they define who I am.

 

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Today also marks 2 months since my dear friend put a gun to his head and committed suicide. I’ve tried to keep busy because to dwell on the “why” is a moot point as I cannot change the outcome. Time has passed slowly but I am coming to accept the loss. I’ve had a few people  comment about his possible reasons but I chose not to engage, even with  one individual who diagnosed my late friend as “prone to suicide” because of his lifestyle. He lived in a sweet cabin set back in the woods for 20 years. By choice ~ his. An environment that was perfect for someone who loved nature the way he did, rife with animals in their natural element, stately trees and an abundance of sounds. Like me, my friend was a voracious reader but the similarity stopped there because he enjoyed fantasy and  paranormal whereas I prefer my reading a bit more grounded. I bought him a series of books about a shapeshifter which he enjoyed immensely. In one of the books he found a quote by the author that he shared. I was dumbstruck when I heard it for it could have been written by him instead of author Patricia Briggs in her book “River Marked”:

“All life is rife with possibilities. Seeds have possibilities, but all their tomorrows are caught by the patterning of their life cycle. Animals have possibilities that are greater than that of a fir tree or a blade of grass. Still, though, for most animals, the pattern of instinct, the patterns of their lives, are very strong. Humanity has a far greater range of possibilities, especially the very young. Who will children grow up to be? Who will they marry, what will they believe, what will they create? Creation is a very powerful seed of possibility.”

Those words so accurately sum up my late friend. He had many losses in his life, many wounds that were so deep that they were incapable of closing. Yet he had a remarkable quest for knowledge, engaging in meaningful conversation/readings and pondering the future and all the possibilities it held. Yes he had deep, gouging scars which perhaps time did NOT heal, yet he used the years to his advantage; to question and learn ~ constantly growing. If only he could have seen that but his past  clouded his vision. I had terrible guilt following his suicide, that in some way I’d failed him. Time has relieved me of that burden and I no longer accept the onus of his actions yet time has not brought me the healing I still need to move forward. It will, just not yet.

To be continued…

 

The World Makes No Sense

The World Makes No Sense

Much has been posted on social media today about gun rights following the horrific tragedy in Orlando. Let me make my position clear. I am not anti-gun. I pulled a trigger for the first time when I was 7. I spent many days target shooting in a boggy area by my home in NJ, sometimes most of the day because it kept me out of my mother’s way. I am not nor ever was a hunter so my gun activity was limited to a line of cans than bullseye then skeet. I’m extremely proficient with rifles, pistols and shotguns. It used to irritate both my father and later my husband that I was a better marksman than either of them. My first gun is mounted high on my living room wall and I have a CWP (which I don’t even use). Having said that, I do not nor ever will believe that assault rifles should be legally sold to John Q. Public. No civilian has need of such a powerful weapon – period. And to the gun enthusiasts who believe in owning/carrying a weapon for the purpose of protection I say this. If you are in a mall with friends or family one day and a deranged person begins randomly shooting with an assault rifle, do you really think you can stop them with your gun? Are you that confident in your ability that you believe you can fire upon and neutralize the shooter? In a crowded place full of running, panic-stricken people? Without harming an innocent person? I consider myself an excellent shot but I would never attempt a neutralization unless I was miraculously standing near the shooter. Even then, a handgun is no match for an assault rifle. They have detachable mags and they fire in powerful bursts which travel well over 300 yards. I just pulled up a recent update on the Orlando massacre and sadly was not surprised to see that the shooter used an AR-15, the same weapon used in San Bernardino, Aurora and Sandy Hook. It’s a military grade weapon yet somehow it’s become the most popular assault rifle in America. The AR-15 can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator.
So I ask one more time, why do civilians need these weapons?

And finally, hours after this senseless and savage act, a blood-donation foundation in Orlando, OneBlood, posted on Facebook and Twitter, “There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors.” The irony struck me. It’s legal to buy an AR-15 assault rifle but pushing aside all the technical jargon, it’s illegal for a gay man to donate blood to victims of this massacre. The world makes no sense.

A brand new key ~ or not?

A brand new key ~ or not?

 

Had my initial session with the new therapist today and she’s very nice but ………………………………………It’s so damn hard to start over. It took nearly 10 years for me to develop enough trust in my previous therapist to bring up my childhood. Starting anew was more intimidating and stressful than I had envisioned. Plus when she asked me what brought me there today, I really had no clue what to say. Anxiety of course but over which thing? My trial in less than one month? Jury selection next week? The almost four years of depositions, mediations and mud-slinging that it’s taken to reach this point? The fact that the defense attorney wants to eviscerate me because of something that happened when I was a child? Or the fact that she can even introduce it? The suicide of a much-loved friend less than one month ago? The grief over the death of my beloved dog in November? Or the medical issue my German Shepherd is currently facing? Or maybe it’s just the constant growing fatigue coupled with absolutely no desire to do anything. The bone aching fatigue that develops after years of watching nearly everything you attempt  morph into clusterfucks of what seem like behemoth proportions.

Perfect example. I did my income taxes this year, plain and straightforward like every other year. I e-filed in mid January, pleased that finally something went off without a hitch. The months passed and my refund wasn’t direct deposited. I finally called the IRS at the end of March and after a few attempts, figured out how to reach a “live” person only to be told the most ridiculous thing by someone they obviously hired directly from the unemployment line. He was truly clueless and I honestly think he was just pulling things out of the air. End result? They would send me a letter within two weeks. When it didn’t arrive I called again, this time getting a polar opposite response along with the “letter in two weeks” promise. Waited until the end of the first week in May and called again only now I was really mad. Spoke to a woman who had no idea why I had not received a refund, why it hadn’t been processed, why it was in the “Review” section but hey! I would receive a letter in eight weeks explaining everything. Eight weeks??? Oh hell no! That would bring it close to July 4. The next day I emailed my congresswoman’s office and after several days of back and forth emails to provide requested documents, they were ready to roll on it. The aide from the congressional office found out what the problem was (basically there was none), reached out to the Tax Advocate’s Office and within two weeks the refund was deposited into my bank account. This begs the question but why? Why does everything have to be a battle? Why can’t things go smoothly ~ not every time but once in a while? I’d definitely settle for that.

So as I sat here tonight pondering the whole therapist debacle the phone rang. It was my original therapist. I let it go to voice mail. When I listened a few minutes later the first thing I noted is that she was rambling a bit, unusual for her. She said the reason she hadn’t returned any of my calls was because she didn’t have any openings. I realize she only practices two days a week but since we’ve had an extremely long patient client relationship, a return call should have been in order, even if she didn’t have any openings. Especially after the two teary messages I left following my friends suicide. She ended her message by saying she has a cancellation for tomorrow (Thursday) at 5 PM and to call her in the morning if I’d like it. Now I’m really in a quandary because the thought of starting over with someone new wasn’t quite as appealing to me today in her office as it was when I wrote about it last night. She’s also in a town that for some unknown reason I’ve had an aversion to ever since I moved to this state. I know I know. How can someone have a hangup over a town? I have no explanation for it other than I do. Usually when something like that happens it’s because the person or object triggers unpleasant memories from my past which is something I can understand, and rationalize. But a town?

Not really sure what I’m going to do tomorrow ~ take the 5 PM appointment with the old therapist or not. Frankly I wish I could just run away from ALL of this the way I ran away from my traumatic childhood but this time it’s not that easy. I just want SOME of it to be over so I can try to get back to figuring out my life.

Stay tuned because I have no clue what I’m doing!