Both let you know you’re alive and both take their toll and teach you what heartbroken is on a whole different level. You can become amazingly good at crying, completely unglued, and sometimes, you can hide it so well… Me, I’m still in the crying and unglued stage. My face is red and raw and my eyes are swollen. I haven’t eaten and I don’t want to. And… it’s all because of a cat. One of our cats. The sweetest cat I’ve ever had, that I’ve ever met.
This is Bits, but we call him Boo Bear…and he was diagnosed yesterday with lymphoma. This picture was taken two weeks ago when no one knew anything was wrong.
Cancer sucks. Be it in a human or an animal, it sucks.
We adopted Bits when he was a baby in a shelter. The first day we met him, he curled up in my daughter’s arms and went to sleep. He chose us, at least that’s the way we’ve always looked at it. That was 10 years ago.
He’s always loved being brushed and he has always come running when there’s tuna being opened or roast chicken being cleaned off the bone. He used to sleep at my feet under the covers when he was little and he has always adored boxes.
A week ago, he was the picture of health, but now he breathes with difficulty and will only lick ice cubes from my hand to get water. 10 days ago he was running through the house, sitting in the window, or stretched out in a large box sleeping. He lays on my kitchen table now but barely sleeps. Does he know the end is near? I don’t know if he does or not. But it’s enough and it’s too much that I know and it’s broken my heart. No one lives forever, not even our animals.
My grandfather died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma and bone cancer. He lived 9 years after the initial diagnosis and we had time to make some memories, to spend together, to remind one another how much love there was between us. I miss him every day and it took about a year for me to be able to talk about him without tears streaming down my face. I was there at the end and it was something I needed to do.
My cat won’t live 9 more years. Not 9 months. Maybe not 6. Likely not even 3.
It’s painful, this knowledge. Life doesn’t stop just because he’s dying. I’d sure like it to though.
I wear my emotions on my sleeve more than most. I can turn into a blubbering mess with little provocation. Animals are my weak spot. They are no less deserving of a good home, of good care, of love than a human being. They don’t deserve our cruelty. They are living, breathing creatures and bring so much to our lives when we let them.
Bits has brought us years of joy and I hope we can make whatever time he has left as comfortable as possible. He is like one of my children. We’ve raised him, fed him, cared for him, nursed him when he was sick, played with him, snuggled with him. So, I’ll sit here with him for as long as this is where he chooses to rest. He deserves to feel that love every moment he has left, up until the very end.
It’s here… The 2014 Nascar season. Speedweeks have been going on and there’s been racing on Daytona International Speedway since the end of January, but this is different. It’s always different. Today matters. Points matters. The engines firing matters. Pit stops matter. Where you end up when the checkered flag waves matters.
I’m a fan and if you know me at all, this is no surprise. I don’t like my driver’s teammates and I don’t like a lot of other drivers out on the track either. What I do like is good hard racing. Single file and falling in line don’t do it for me. I want to see squirrly cars and bumping and banging and rubbin’ is racin’ excitement. Yes it’s 43 cars going left around a track, but what people who don’t watch, who don’t pay attention miss, is the strategy, the radio communications, the teamwork or lack of. If you understand that’s what the race really is, then it’s more than just 43 cars turning left in turns 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Writing a book and pushing the Publish button is about strategy, communication, understanding of the market, teammwork or lack of, understanding of your own strengths, where the high line is and when it’s time to pull out and try another line… I sought some help the other night on this very thing and while I don’t like some of the changes I need to make, in the end, I’ll find myself and what I’m good at. I could do it the publisher way that I was taught for several years and see only mediocre results… Or, I could allow myself to be pushed and shoved and kicked out of my comfort zone and try things a new way. Being that I’m self-publishing more, I’m going to have to let go of what I was taught. This is scary shit, y’all.
Yesterday was my birthday. I’m 43. I’m no closer now to be where I want to be as an author than I was last year at this time when I turned 42. It’s time to shake things up. The books will be the same. Hot, naughty, sexy as sin men. Feisty, strong, curvaceous women. But the branding will be stronger, tighter. We’re going to have fun, even though there will bumps from behind, slams into the walls, maybe even a few tumbles through the air and landing on our heads as we try to figure out this new world. I was comfortable dipping my toe in, but I wasn’t making it anywhere near the new finish line. I wasn’t fighting for it or taking that bow at the end.
It’s time to change and change freaks me out.
I’m re-writing blurbs, changing keywords, looking differently at categories, and re-covering some books to match this new world to look sharper and hotter. We’ll be experimenting a lot, too.
Let’s go get that checkered flag!