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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

POP QUIZ

tarbaby first day home from hospital


Awake all night. Bawling overtook me and it hurt deep inside so much I got up from the bed and made myself stop it. I was squealing like a child begging, pleading with God, who knows all, to please help me find TarBaby so I can feed and water him and get him to the vet. Through the night I confessed to Tapo that I am afraid. When I started to say it, I held it a moment remembering that I thought I didn't have a great deal of fear in me. I have it. That may be why the crying hurt so much, it was coming from fear, fear TarBaby was dead or would not recover if found alive. I started to say to Tapo, I'm afraid TarBaby is not coming back. It came out, "I'm afraid," and realized I was. Very afraid. Afraid and bawling like a helpless child, no one to turn to but God, and God didn't give any sign of paying attention, as far as I could tell.




I heard myself making high-pitched squeals like a child, pleading, begging for any kind of help, just help me find, guide me to TarBaby. I knew I was calling on God, from the heart, to beg for something I want for myself, TarBaby back, the kind of prayer that doesn't carry a lot of importance, but at the same time I know God knows the fullness of my relationship with TarBaby as a cross-species friendship. "This is not a good time! I can't stand it!" Over the last 5 months since I've been home from looking after Jr, TarBaby and I grew closer that ever at a fast pace. We came to a place we automatically understood each other. I was seeing myself suffering over attachment, wanting, wanting TarBaby back. I wanted it for me. It's one thing to bemoan a cassette tape that slid off the seat of the truck into the space on the floor between the seat and the door. One day I opened the door, my Wade Mainer tape fell to the ground with The Cat Came Back on it and was gone forever. It's replaceable if I want to get another one. But TarBaby is a spirit, a soul, a being, a feline being.




I see myself going against what I believe that we go when it's our time. I didn't want this to be TarBaby's time. Still don't want it. I fell into a state of passionately going against a great deal I hold true, because I didn't want it to be so. Undo it, God. You can raise the dead. Then I get an image of a 6 year old child in Iraq whose entirely family was killed when a shell hit the house by mistake and she's the only one to survive. I was getting with myself, asking if I deserve to have my miracle prayer answered any more than she does? She's not getting hers answered, so why should I think I'm more deserving of God's special attention than this instant orphan. I said to myself, "When it comes to selflessness, you failed that test."
In first light, I was out getting my shoes wet in the dew searching, calling TarBaby's name, breaking down into tears, calling to Heaven for help, and kept on searching. I went to the different places I thought he might be and he was not at any of them. After an hour of some of the best exercise I've had in over a year or 2 I came back to the house and talked with Carole on the phone awhile. Then another walk to look at some new places I had not thought of before. At 10 Jolene turned up by herself. I yelled GIT at her, waving my arms. I picked up a stick and threw it in her direction, not to hit her, but to make her think I was trying to. I yelled at her, "I'm not your friend any more." That didn't feel good to say. I knew it was nothing but confusion for Jolene. Killing a cat is not cause for guilt in her. She looked at me confused like. When I pitched a long stick straight at her, though caught by a bush half way between us, she took off running and went back home. I felt bad doing that without being able to explain. I did her like she did Martha; one day I'm no longer her friend and turned aggressive.
I don't believe Martha was involved, because she wasn't here that day, but she and Jolene have become killers. They're not going to kill Caterpillar and Tapo. I don't like having to turn my back to Martha too, but I have to. She loves me so much, and I love her, it's going to hurt her again after Jolene's rejection when she gets mine too. I don't want them around here. Any time I see them here, I'll run them off. It won't be long before they run when they see me, which doesn't feel right either. But I don't know what else to do to keep them away. It's surely a confusion to them. Jolene looked at me puzzled the whole time I was acting so unpredictably. She kept watching me to see if it was temporary or would last. She'd back away and watch me. Back away again and watch me. At first she started running from me in play, like I was wanting to play. But it never became fun.
These dogs have been my friends for several months. I'd come to love them. Now it's all changed because I believe Jolene killed TarBaby. To him, that's nothing. To me, it's a very big deal. And in this relationship, like Jolene's with Martha, I'm dominant, not your friend any more, get away from me or I'll hit you. I don't like it, but can't find any other way to keep them away from Caterpillar and Tapo. Sitting down for a conversation won't do it. I have to stick with it. When I'm at their house, I'll be good to them and we can be friendly there. But not here. We'll settle into a new kind of friendship, only at their house. They are not welcome here. I don't feel at all good about it, but I have to protect Tapo and Caterpillar. That's more important to me than the relationship with the dogs, which, actually, is important too. The cats were here first by a dozen years. A line must be drawn to keep Caterpillar and Tapo safe. This is the only line I can see to work with self-willed dogs that have tasted blood.
The second search didn't find TarBaby either. I found myself walking in the woods repeating his name over and over, a casccade of tears running down my face. Giving up that search and accepting that he is more than likely dead in a secure hiding place, I drove to town to see Mary at the Hospice office. I had 20 minutes with Mary because our monthly BROC meeting was next. I went over this complexity of losing TarBaby suddenly to a dog I trusted, mixed with the overwhelming wave of missing Jr, that started with a simple urge to drive down to Whitehead to see him like I did for years. I explained to her how I found myself squealing like a child bawling. I'd never done that before. It sounded like a helpless child. I wasn't ashamed of it, because I'm ok with crying. It showed me I was struck deep to the core. It was a measure of how much I love TarBaby, Caterpillar and Tapo. Every one of them is worth a face full of tears. They've given me so much joy and love over so many years, a few days of sorrow mourning their loss is like nothing on a scale.

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