I’m sorry to report that November has been one of the most depressing months I’ve ever experienced.
Normally, I’m an optimist, a class-clownish fellow, a weisenheimer punster, and one who takes time to smell the roses or stare in wonder at a sunrise or sunset.
But November did a number on me.
First off, I had to put down Pochi (Japanese slang for “pooch”), a poodle-mix rescue, and my furry companion for the past 5 1/2 years. On Halloween, of all days.
I’ve had seven dogs over the span of my life, and loved them all. With the earliest ones, my parents took care of the Sad Events, as I was still not yet an adult. Later, I raised two from newly-born pups, saying my tearful goodbyes to them when selling them to good homes at 6 months. Their mommy, a devilishly cute chocolate toy poodle, was my responsibility to put to sleep. However, I made the selfish mistake of not facing her time with her. The look on my pet’s face as the vet took her away made me vow I would never again let a dog go to the Rainbow Bridge alone. My previous rescue, Nix Nutz, passed away while frolicking in a boarding kennel, while I was working out-of-state. But my latest rescue, Pochi was the first and only dog, where I made the decision to end her suffering, and held her as life ebbed out of her old and decrepit body.
The experience has affected me more than I expected. Even as I write now, I still have to pause as grief overcomes me again. Not just because I miss Pochi terribly, or that I finally was grown-up enough to do the right thing, but because of the guilt over the possibility I strung out her suffering, missing earlier clues she wanted to leave. Is it strange that Pochi’s passing is depressing me far more than the day I was at my Mother’s bedside as she breathed her last? Or when I was not able to stand by my Father’s side when his time came?
Add to that the following: I have been on edge all month, and probably will be for another month, as my home is turned upside-down during the major remodeling of the basement. It is affecting me in the weirdest way. My house currently has the aspect of a terminal hoarder’s domicile, as the ground floor is crammed with furniture and paraphernalia displaced during demolition and remodeling. Such a state of living is disturbing enough for a person who normally has a place for every thing, and a thing for every place. But what is affecting my psyche worse is the fact that I have destroyed everything that my recently-departed Dad built and fashioned on that floor. Time, dry rot, ancient wiring, water and black mold have taken their toll, requiring the whole floor be gutted down the stone.
Another factor adding to my dejection, is that I spent most of the holiday alone. Usually, my circle of closest friends invite me on Thanksgiving day for an evening of food, friendship and festivity. But this was the year (thanks to the relaxing grip of Covid) when they all were with their respective extended families. And rightfully so. Mine are almost a thousand miles away, but I couldn’t leave the house during mid-construction. [Post-note: I was rescued by some good friends, who invited me over for “2nd Thanksgiving” later that weekend. Blessings on them!]
The rotten cherry on top is how all these burdens have shut off my writing. Hard. Because of the remodeling and contractors, writing time is minimal at best. And when I do have time to write, the words struggle mightily. On a good day I might get 100 words a day. At that rate, my next novel will be out in 2027. To make matters worse, this becomes a destructive feedback loop. When I can’t write, the Blues become deep, deep, Marianas-Trench deep Blue. As in black.
Despite all that — don’t worry for me, for I have my support networks. I have so much to be grateful for, I know eventually this dark cloud, too, shall pass.
But to express my summation of November in the vernacular…
Damn, this month royally sucked.
Janice Monahan Rodgers said:
Chris, It’s been almost a year since my knee replacement and I must say things did not go well. Yeah, it was rotten. I’ve only now started writing again and finally released my fourth book of short stories. The other day I was looking over some notes and found some really great lines. I don’t even remember writing them. But, damn, they were good. So hang in there. You are a really great writer. Here’s to finding those damn fine lines. Janice Rodgers