My therapist (bless him) keeps encouraging me to write. He’s not wrong, I do love to write….except when I don’t.
Ya ever have a wound or, as they are often referred to, a “boo boo,” that has healed on the top but you know the infection is in a pocket beneath that healed skin? But you know if you pick it will hurt like hell, but you also know if you don’t pick it won’t heal correctly. It is natural to avoid pain (don’t get me wrong, I love some types of pain….but the sick stressful pain of infection or grief is not enjoyable to me), pain has evolved to provide us a warning system. I picked a bit at my grief scab.
It was my father’s birthday on Saturday. I was lucky enough to have a beautifully kind friend spend the night on Friday and spend the day with me while D was at work Saturday. I successfully avoided going down a black hole of sad and late Saturday night I put on the Eagles Greatest Hits, poured a glass of tonic water over ice, and just thought about dad. I remembered good times and bad times, all while listening to music I know he loved and drinking that bittersweet fizzy tonic water. There are a lot of things that zoomed through my head during that 30 minute private memorial but the one that really shines brightly in my mind was the night I was working late in the refinery in 2011 when I finally decided to get a divorce and I called my dad. That is probably something that sounds perfectly normal to a lot of people, but that was never the relationship I had with him. But that evening he gave great advice and I will never forget how close I felt to him as he described that he couldn’t handle when his marriages began to fall apart so he just got lost in work. Because at work, there are things to fix and things you can make better.
So, when I just found myself writing to a friend the something similar to the following,
“Just wanted to let you know that as of tomorrow morning I’m going to be back on the non-stop work, no-time-to-breathe, if I have time to pee once during the day I will have considered it a total win and co-workers will be jealous of my urination (I wish I was kidding, it really is that intense every damn day) schedule. See, I spend my days attempting to triple the shelter’s holding capacity by running a foster care program (meaning dealing with humans as well as providing behavioral opinions on canines that occasionally guide life and death decisions. It’s a lot and it’s non-stop. If you message me and I don’t reply in a timely manner, please know it is just because of work and I will get back to you as soon as I can.”
And then I laughed and thought, “Holy shit Dad! I’m using work to avoid being sad about you dying! Because in our family, that’s what we do. ❤️” I miss my father very much.
And then I realized, I wonder if I LOVE working at the animal shelter because it feels so very similar to working with emergency response teams? Because we honestly do work from emergency to emergency and I feel very close to my co-workers, maybe because they are great people or maybe because we all fight together for the improved welfare of animals? Honestly it’s probably both of those plus hundreds more reasons like we are all absolute shit at taking care of ourselves, but we seem to be pretty good at taking care of each other and I am blessed because of that.
So, I wroted. Cried a bit. Drained a bit of infection.
Now, I’m off to unfuck my morning and maybe seductify my husband.