Friday, April 21, 2017

happies on the horizon

I have a Big Birthday coming up. Three weeks from tomorrow to be exact, so I've been doing a little prep in anticipation. This is the first birthday in a long time that I have had to rely on myself for pulling off a celebration. When I turned 30 I threw a big party in my back yard, inviting friends to come for a potluck with an international cuisine theme. It was great fun, in spite of being on crutches at the time.

I haven't figured out party plans for the day itself, but in thinking about how to fashion a celebration it turns out that there will be fun things happening all month long. Why limit the festivity to a single day? An interesting discovery is unfolding as a result--I'm planning things that I should be planning and doing anyway as a part of living. Well, dang! What a great by-product of having to fend for myself!

Here's what's on tap so far:
  • Attending a book-launch event to celebrate the publication of Tom Ryan's second work, Will's Red Coat. Tom is the author of the inspiring and life-giving work Following Atticus. Both feature dogs as the hero, and the stories themselves are beautifully written testaments to what we can discover about ourselves, and life, when we pay attention. 
  • A new dog is on the horizon! She's in Maine at the moment, and I will travel northward to pick her up, combining that trip with an overnight with an old college friend, a visit to a pottery studio I discovered via Facebook, a first-time "in real life" meeting with a Facebook friend, and a stop (I hope) at a botanical garden (photo). The latter is contingent upon working in a visit with a cousin in Boothbay Harbor.
  • Volunteering to support the work of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation and Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, CT. Catherine was one of the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, and her family has established the sanctuary as a living memorial to her. There is a week of opportunity to help restore an old barn on the property that will be used to house rescued and recovering animals.I'll be rolling up my sleeves to pitch in one day during that effort.
  • Theater! With a former colleague from my IT days, I'm heading to the Big Apple to see the limited-run revival of Six Degrees of Separation, starring Allison Janney (and others, but she's the reason I wanted to see it). This started out as a reasonable splurge through an organization that provides discounted tickets to qualifying members. Thanks to the outstanding production of the show, however, award nominations are now attached and there are no more discounts. We decided to take the plunge and go broke. Tickets are ordered. Yes!
  • Creating a fairy house. This will happen on the actual day at a local library. Shouldn't we all build fairy houses on our birthdays? Why did I wait so long?
Somewhere along the way I expect a proper party will fall into place--complete with cake (chocolate, of course). In the meantime I am excited about all the fun stuff on the horizon, and look forward to these myriad ways of experiencing delight. I need to make that a habit, birthdays notwithstanding.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

jed's journal: epilogue

It didn't last.Yesterday I reached the difficult and sad decision to relinquish Jed back to the Foundation from which I adopted him. I am heartbroken, and grieving the possible life that might have been ours together under different circumstances.

It was a combination of factors. The neighborhood in which I live contains so many sounds and  "moving parts" that continually spooked him. After a garbage truck ground its various gears into action last week Jed was so freaked out that I practically had to carry him back to the house. This happened so close to home that what may have seemed like a safe place (around the house) ceased to be that. It took him three days to leave the safety of the front porch to walk after that. The wind battering loose siding made him jumpy, and garbage cans that lined the sidewalk were impediments. It became harder and harder to walk him without resistance, and my efforts to tug him along did not encourage trust. At home he began to avoid me, and any earlier bonding moments were obliterated.

I might have been able to work through the above challenge if I wasn't so out of my depth addressing his issues. His needs, in terms of understanding what he is going through and responding to his behavior adequately, were great. Although I had access to some help with this, the support wasn't timely or sufficient, and with every passing day it felt like I lost ground and faced an additional hurdle. I was drowning.

Finally, the context of my life at the moment is also problematic. It's not all bloggable, but what I can say is that there are few places where I feel supported and loved. I am emotionally depleted, and without adequate support and relationships to fuel and feed me, I didn't have much to give to Jed. The hope in adopting him was that we would nurture each other, but he was nowhere near being able to offer love or affection. The sadness of that imbalance, though not unexpected, proved difficult. 

When I decided to adopt him I thought I was up for the challenge. I thought that love, patience, and compassion would undergird the process of helping him heal and recover from his trauma. I was naive, and let my desire to be his hero blind me to the reality I faced. I have no confidence in my decision to bring him home, although I do believe I gave him what I could. It just wasn't enough for him, and proved wounding, in the process, for both of us.

I can't know what will come next for him and what the future will hold. I hope for the best for him. On those few occasions when he seemed open and trusting I experienced a gentle spirit and a sweet soul. I hope someone can lead him to a place where he feels free to release the genuineness of who he is. I hope we both emerge from our wounds victorious.
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