Monthly Archives: September 2017

On regret

My life has been kind of a shitshow lately. I don’t really talk about it publically. Besides, it’s small potatoes compared to the actual trauma some people around the world deal with. So whatevs.

But I got a sympathy card in the mail today from our vet, Clairmont Animal Hospital. It contained handwritten notes from Dr. Smith, our vet tech Joyce and a few of the other staff expressing their sadness for the loss of our beloved nut job, Roxy. It was so thoughtful.

That was the proverbial straw. I always fall apart when people show kindness—to me or anyone—and this did me in.

Roxy started acting strange around two months ago. Normally an insane bundle of jumping, barking, tail-wagging happiness, she was more sedate. She didn’t get excited about going for a run, and when we did run together, she lagged behind. I wrote it off to the heat.

Then she started limping off and on, and yelping if she moved the wrong way. She had torn her left ACL last year, so we thought she had now torn the right. “Crazy dog,” we said, and started doing the math in our heads, lamenting the cost of another surgery.

But it got worse–fast. I took her to the vet and they couldn’t find anything wrong. Long awful story short: two weeks, three different vets, many pain pills, X-rays and an MRI later, we found out she had bone cancer. We asked how much time she had. “None,” they said. Our hearts broken, we released her from her pain. She was four years old.

That was almost two weeks ago, and saying I miss her is a massive understatement. I keep thinking about all the signs that she didn’t feel well that I wrote off, or was too busy to think about at the moment. That tears me up. She had to be in a tremendous amount of pain. And the grace and strength she showed that last month just flattens me.

The very worst thing, though, is I remember so clearly the last time Roxy tried to get me to play. Her modus operandi was she’d find a sock, or hat, or something she wasn’t supposed to have. She’d come to me with a sparkle in her eye and a wag in her tail, showing it to me, taunting me to chase her. And around the house we’d go, me mock yelling, “Gimme that sock!” Her pretending to let me get it just before taking off again. It was her favorite game.  That day, I know she hadn’t been feeling well, and somehow she pulled herself together enough to bring me a sock and entice me to chase her. I was working, though, and brushed her off, saying, “Later, Rox.”

There wasn’t a later. She never asked me to play again. And I didn’t even realize it until she was gone. You can’t imagine how that hurts.

How often do we say “later” or “not now” or “I’ll do it tomorrow?” There is no tomorrow. Don’t buy into that “there’s always tomorrow” bullshit. Because there isn’t.

The next time someone you love asks you to grab coffee, read a book, go for a walk, look at their picture, talk, chase them around the house, or whatever, do it. Do it. Nothing is more important. Nothing. Because there is no guarantee that there will be a later.

On rejection

So, I wrote a story. I thought it was a really good, clever story. My writing group thought it was a really good, clever story. I was very proud of myself, because I hadn’t written (OK, finished) a short story in a long time.

I submitted it.

I did the research and picked a publication that I thought would be perfect. It fit the genre. It was the right length. It seemed to match the other things they published. So I held my breath and clicked Submit.

They turned it down. Swiftly. And, since I asked for feedback, they kind of tore it apart. My sweet little story, that I thought was so clever.

It stung. A lot.

I went through the stages of rejection. Shock. Anger. Denial. Wine. Anger again. Acceptance.

Then I looked at the story again, and realized maybe–just maybe–they were right. A little. I shared the feedback with a creative friend whose opinion I value. He kind of agreed with them. So I went back to work–editing, rewriting, rethinking–to make the story better. And I went back with a vengeance, because darn it, this clever little story is going to get published.

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Take the hit, feel sorry for yourself for a minute. Then get up and get back to work.

Photo by Georg Nietsch on Unsplash