This is bound to be a messy, all over the board kind of post. Life, in all its wonderfulness, can also be damn hard. I know friends who have family members battling health problems, friends who've recently lost parents, and friends who are enduring financial hardships. Life is messy, and sometimes it hurts.
Right now, for me, it hurts. And all because of a sweet little cat. My pets are family members. I adore them. I had a cat for 19.5 years, and losing her was really hard. Devastating. Another cat died at 16.5. Long lives, but not long enough when compared with ours.
Last summer, my beloved Miss Pitty Pat suffered a thrombosis, otherwise known as a saddle thrombus. She wasn't supposed to live, but she did. She lost a leg, but she regained strength and went on to be her old self again — running, playing, jumping up to her favorite window seat, sleeping with me, sitting on my lap at the computer and my legs on the couch.
But the vets warned us her time was limited. Yesterday, we were jolted by the reality of that. She's survived seven months beyond her initial episode, but yesterday she suffered another blood clot. This time it's to a front leg, much less painful, but she can't use the leg much. As I write this, she's at the emergency vet. We don't know if she'll survive, but of course we hope she will.
I am devastated and furious — because we can't control life, can we? We can't prevent innocent children, beloved friends and family members, furry or otherwise, from getting sick and leaving us behind. Life is amazing, but life hurts.
It's love that does this to us. Love gives and loves takes. I adore love, I write about love, but I know love makes us so vulnerable. What's the choice though? Not to love? How empty would that be?
This gets me to writing. Yes, it's damn hard to even think about that at the moment, but I'm in the middle of a book and my characters are in such pain — and I know how they feel. I know that pain always comes from me, even if I can't understand the precise incidents that caused it for my characters. The truth is that I draw on that well deep inside, that place where I try to stuff all that hurt and anger down, when I write.
I think all writers do. Life and love have given us gifts, and they have taken those gifts away, and we don't forget. I've written about the character, usually male, who refuses to love because he doesn't want to hurt. Some readers and reviewers might call that cliche. I call it reality. If we could protect ourselves this way, mightn't we try? Some of us would, and some of my characters do.
Naturally it doesn't work out for them. The hero usually finds out he can't stop love, and he becomes so terribly vulnerable when he realizes how he feels about the heroine. That's got to be scary.
I saw a photo this week of a woman holding her husband's hand while he lay in his casket. And I thought how sad that was. How awful that she would never see him again in this life. That all those years together ended and she was alone.
Pain. It's what we write about. It's what we try to overcome and control, at least in fiction. If you're a writer, you have to put it all out there. You have to put your feelings on the table, or your fiction will be flat. You want to feel and you want the reader to feel.
That doesn't happen if you leave your own sorrows untapped. I know it's hard, but tap them. Mine them. Does it help? Hell if I know. I do it anyway, and maybe I feel better somewhere down the road.
Right now, I feel like hell. I ache and I'm frustrated because I can't fix this. But I have a book to write and characters to torture and I know part of that is me working out my own feelings on paper. It's how I cope. I couldn't imagine not writing for a living, because I think I'd burst otherwise.
I put my heart on the table every time. I give it my all.
And now I'm going to bed and pray my kitty girl gets to come home again. It's borrowed time, I know it, but I want more of it. Don't we all?
EDITED TO ADD: There is good news for now — the clot resolved and MPP can come home. I am relieved, and still scared because I know I'm going to lose her to this awful disease. But hopefully not just yet.
Prayers go out to you and your family, including Miss Pitty Pat. Thank you for sharing such personal information….
I can relate to everything you said. Life is too short – for all of us. We take life for granted, especially during our growing-up years. (It just takes longer for some of us to grow up!) There comes a time when you realize any little thing can happen and – poof! – your life (and/or that of others) is in jeopardy or instantly gone. We have had young friends die in car accidents, old friends get fluid on the lungs, middle-age friends have heart attacks or get cancer, and – poof! – they’re gone. In a heartbeat. And there’s nothing we could do about it.
What we CAN do is enjoy and love our friends, feline and otherwise, every day, which you are and have been doing. I am blessed to have lots of friends. Unfortunately, that also means that I will most likely lose most of those friends during my lifetime, especially the older ones. It’s the yin and the yang. You have to experience death in order to experience life; you have to experience death/life in order to experience love. And love makes everything easier/better (IMHO).
Lots of love….
Thank you, Laney! You are so, so right. Life is too short for everyone, and the older we get, the more it hits us that it is. We have to have that love, though, or life isn’t as rich. I think that’s why I love romance novels and why I write them. Love is painful but worth it. We have to enjoy every moment, knowing that goodbye is coming someday. But the joy is in the moments, for as long as they last.
I am so sorry to hear about your sweet kitty. Plus we have had two people in Otto’s office who have had family die already this year. It has been a really cold and unpleasant weather year. I am hoping for better weather soon.
Thinking of your, the hubby, and the kitties.
Take Care– Cyn
Cyn, you were in the spam folder! So sorry! But I have freed you now. 🙂 Thanks for your good wishes. Hope you are doing well!
I’m so glad you have good news for MPP this time.
Thank you, Jean! It’s a relief, however tempered with caution it may be. 🙂
Lynn….Life reminds us that the time we have here is precious. Never forget to tell the one’s you love how you feel because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I recently lost my cousin and she was 56. I made it a point to call her every other weekend since she was alone. The rest of the family didn’t talk to her because she was a little slow and liked to gossip. After the fact my mother said she felt guilty. I just know that life is precious. Your little Pitty Pat has lived a beautiful life that was filled with love. It doesn’t make the pain less in our hearts but just to know that they will no longer be in pain is what gets me through. Our Collie lived 14.5 years the last 4.5 was with a tumor in her throat. She waited till all the kids came home to my parents house as if to say goodbye. Even now it makes me cry. Our pets are a part of our family and when they hurt we do too. Writing is a good outlet. If the pain your feeling goes out to your characters then that makes them more real. I’m sorry that you are going through this but I’m glad you can talk to us about it. My way to get through it is to remember them in my heart and also to think of them in a better place. Take care. -Alexia
I’m sorry you lost your cousin, Alexia. Loss is never easy, but it’s an integral part of life. If I didn’t have writing, and this place here to blab, I don’t know what I’d do. 🙁 Sometimes it just helps to say it.
Hi Lynn. Your post is just beautiful. Even tho you’re talking about something that brings you great pain, the love you feel your you pussy cat shines thru your words like rays of sunshine… I’m so pleased to hear the good news. Hugs to you and yours xx
Hi, Tash! I do love that little sweet thing! She’s the best cat — even the vets and the techs say so! She’s just so full of love and joy and it’s so unfair this is happening to her. 🙁
Hopefully, she won’t have any other problems for a while. :/
😥 😥 I’m so sorry for your loss. Hugs and prayers to you.
It’s okay, Alexia! She’s still with us right now! I was very emotional when I wrote this post, but she’s hanging in there for the moment. She’s back home and happy right now.