When in doubt, give yourself a pep talk.
I’m good at pep talks, not just for myself but delivering encouraging, motivating words to others. I’m actually a pretty good speaker when I put my mind to it. It’s one of my minor gifts.
Thursday, after venting on a post about all going down, I felt down, diminished, lost and weary. Donning a mask over my nose and mouth, I ventured a walk through the warm, smoky neighborhood. Time alone was needed to clear my head and re-calibrate my direction.
Some guilt about Scheckter’s ill health haunted me. As I walked, I saw that I had made mistakes but so had my wife and the vet. These were clear in hindsight, something to remember for the future. Accepting that the guilt for his health wasn’t wholly my fault raised my spirits although some sad bitterness could still be tasted. Thinking it through more, I realize that with cancers, even early detection doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save the patient. It wasn’t a comforting thought but I accepted it as a truth. What else can you do with truth but explore it and accept it?
With that, I reminded myself that while emotionally painful, a pet’s ill health and probable demise isn’t my world’s end. I still had dreams, plans and goals. I reminded myself of what I had done, what I hadn’t done, and what I wanted to do. Perhaps it seems like a strange tripod of support but that’s what came out of my ruminations as I walked fast and hard, dripping sweat.
With that I sealed off my emotions, went off and wrote like crazy. Perhaps it seems like that was too easy but I’d gone through the emotions of loss through the past ten days. Scheckter is still alive but seems to be sinking. His purr, once as plentiful as sunshine in Florida, has become extremely rare. He’s a talkative cat but he hasn’t said a word in days. We fight the battle each day, mostly ensuring he knows he’s loved, hand feeding him, medicating him, and keeping him comfortable as we can.
Writing was and is a wonderful release and escape. Much like ill players finding greater focus, so did I, feeling stronger by focusing on one point of existence and intention. Thursday was a strong writing day, as was Friday and today. Each day after writing, I release myself from it, much like I’m leaving a room in my mind, and return to the existence of work and living. I experience some guilt about being selfish, and keep banishing that, although not easily. If I let myself dwell on the situation, the guilt steals in like lengthening shadows.
So it goes. I’d love a writing retreat. I’d been planning one before Scheckter’s illness but such is the control we can exert over our plans. Whatever writing retreat plans I want to make will need to wait until Scheckter’s situation is resolved. Meanwhile, I’ll do what I can to cope, setting aside time for myself to write like crazy.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com