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Midweek Musings

Even Jigsaw makes this face for this game. Or maybe he’s just tired of this dead horse of a franchise. Who knows? 

Do you have cats? Do you have multiple cats? Are you a crazy cat lady?

Then you know this game. It’s called Who’s Horking Where?

Winning the game is similar to that game you’ll play with a toddler. You know, Poop or Chocolate?  in that, the best way to win is simply not to have to play.

I was halfway through my second and last cup of coffee for the day when it began. It’s a little after 5 am now and I am hopeful that’s as gross as it gets.

On baby raccoons

A few days ago, my landlord called me to tell me that some friends had baby raccoons. I thought they needed my advice (And I wasn’t wrong, really.) but, it turns out they wanted to off load one of the babies. When the person I was in a text conversation with indicated how said babies were being fed…I knew, oh, it’s gonna be one of those.

Here’s the thing, while you can raise baby raccoons by themselves- you really shouldn’t. If you’ve got siblings, you should keep them together. People don’t understand what a deeply sensitive animal they are- or how they get attached. One was male, one was female and I thought, shit shit shit, this is not gonna go how they think. I warned them about it. I deeply considered taking the one- understanding they were probably going to offload one on some unsuspecting “OH KEWL PET!” person anyway and I had a chance to save a life.

We are about to wild out the cotton tails and my partner isn’t taking it well. He has known from the start that wildlife rescue is investing in heartbreak- it is worthwhile, but: one way or the other, you’re gonna have to let go. He didn’t have to do that with the squirrels because of Ratatoskr’s malocclusion and Fred’s weird behaviors. (He also never had to clip Rat’s teeth. If he had… I kid, I kid.) The possum didn’t like him (Or anyone but me, much. They’re kinda one person animals.) so that didn’t upset him but watching him get hurt feelings and try to hide them at rabbit reticence to interact is interesting. Our son, Fish is 5 and dealing with the same thing. This is all new to me- my two older kids had a pretty good handle on this all along. I have been wondering if maybe that’s helped Aidan cope with his father’s death a bit- and of course, it is not even remotely the same.

However, everyone who lives with me becomes pretty well indoctrinated in the inevitability of death or letting go: because it’s what I deal in. (I’m going to write more on this after I finish this bit.)

Anyway, so I turned to Kurt and made the face. He knows the face. It took a lot of getting used to having to make it, I’ll admit. We had a few bumps along the way because I had a hard time adjusting to being part of a couple in respect to my knee jerk reaction: Absolutely, bring them by! In my defense, here: he’s also had a hard time adjusting to that, too. Part of the learning process of two hermits who fall in love and decide to build a life together- neither of us were used to having to consider someone else. My first experience with that one was picking up two litters of orphaned kittens who still needed milk but were transitioning. (Read: VERY messy stuff.) He didn’t get pissed, because well, Kurt does not get pissed. (I, on the other hand…) We did however talk about it a great deal after. And, I’ve talked to him ever since. It isn’t that we veto shit for one another, it’s just consideration. At the time, I didn’t realize it was less the mess and time/energy spent- and more the fact that he gets attached and doesn’t feel comfortable with that. (Which is a topic for another time.)

He pointed out that I had a lot on my plate and am stressed to the max these days. He asked that I sleep on it, but by the time I’d gone to bed- I realized, I probably shouldn’t. It sucks. Those are the choices you have to make even when you don’t have to bounce your shit off of other people, though- can you make room for more? Can you handle how much responsibility and financial stress it can be? A lot of people think rescues of all stripes are well funded- which is fucking weird. I’ve seen people say things to domestic animal rescues that blow my mind, here. No, funds are always short because most of the funds come right out of your pocket. Any given spring baby season, I go through roughly $500 worth of KMR alone- for which, believe me, I am eternally grateful that I get help with. Add on all the incidentals for wildlife- and whew. That doesn’t go into how attached baby raccoons tend to get. I’ve always thought in this they are very similar to dogs- but, if you take a hands off approach with them: they will cry piteously. They want loving. They comfort suckle.

Of course, boy howdy, you raise a male and if you think you’re gonna keep that little feller- I hope you’re good at field stitches. Also, familiar with rabies vectors and vaccines. You get bit and nobody’s gonna give five shits you off label vaccinated the baby. And you are going to get bit- because he’s horny and you stand in the way. He’s going to die. Keeping them as pets is illegal in Missouri. In the states where it is not- you might find a vet who’ll neuter. You might not. The breeder I know has one she refers people to, which is awesome because: these little dudes are awesome but also an awesome responsibility.

I am in the process of getting things ready for my son to come home- which means meal planning because his diet is important. He had lead poisoning when he was a baby. I was a little worried when I asked about this- because it didn’t seem his grandparents were aware of his dietary needs. Fortunately, Aidan has always been good about food. I also have to look into doctors, schools, and a whole plethora of things. I am taking summer courses, and frankly: man, my plate is super full. I had to bow out of the “normal job” because we got some bad news about Kurt’s mother’s cancer: and while I knew I could handle the job itself, the training is set up in a way that I was just getting overwhelmed and frustrated. Professionalism kinda demands I keep it at that.

Pomegranate Problems

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Persephone, from the insanely adorable Hades Holiday.  The academic in me cringes, the girlier side of me loves it. It would be a guilty pleasure if I felt guilty about it. I do not.

A lot of people refer to me as The Momma. The baby lady. This is because I have a knack for hand raising orphans of all stripes. It may seem like a no-brainer but the thing is, depending on the animal you find: trust me, it is not a no-brainer. It’s knack plus learned skill and there is a lot to learn. The knack is more in line with the fact that this sort of thing is second nature to me- there aren’t many who would happily wake up every few hours to go through an entire system of care starting with feeding: but I do. And I love it. It’s exhausting and it’s worth it. Raising and teaching them to be wild animals is also worth it, though I still get a bit sniffly at every release. Truthfully though the best feeling in the world is spotting one of your babies a bit later on- and that baby doesn’t really know you anymore because its busy living. Because, in so many of these cases, the babies you get won’t all make it. I am incredibly adept at what most deem “the hopeless cases” but- even I have to make The Decision and act on it at times.

Being responsible for life means you are responsible for death, too. The decision to euthanize has never gotten easier for me. Being responsible for death starts when you decide to rescue, really. Doesn’t matter if you are a domestic or wild life- at some point, you have to face this one. I definitely do not begrudge the rescuers who opt to have others euthanize for them- at all. I get it. But I do mine and I take it very seriously.

People might find it gross or dismissive that I draw this parallel but I don’t. To me, this is me comparing one of the most meaningful things in my life to another- but, talk of hospice (For a human) and otherwise of late has me thinking about this. I had a talk with someone I care about who is struggling with a hard choice of her own in respect to death- it isn’t the first time I’ve had this discussion with someone. In fact, I find that a lot of people come to me to talk about death and dying. I’m glad to help and it’s still so strange to me because I know that my perspectives on it are vastly different from those I see around me. Of late, this has been particularly noticeable because talking about my miscarriages and losses is always difficult- but it isn’t difficult for the obvious reasons. It hurts and I am heartbroken and frustrated beyond belief- but, I understand these things differently. Trying to explain the second trimester loss at home and why I was as I was about it with others is usually impossible. I think that it is kind of telling that the only person I ever found to discuss it with: was another member of an oddities collecting group. It was not some sick, macabre thing and she understood because she’d gone through hers at a hospital.

In fact, my mentality is also why I generally don’t go to funerals. The past few years, I’ve had people insinuate that I am selfish for this- but, that isn’t it. I am, however, very respectful of the way that others mourn and grieve. The last one I attended was my sister asking me to attend my little niece’s funeral- because she wanted my perspective and support, specifically.  Grieving people or those who may be facing death often ask me questions they don’t really want the answers to- at least, not in that moment. Though I am kind, I tend to become an unhealthy outlet for incredibly normal anger in those situations. I don’t mind being the whipping boy- but I do mind becoming a focus that way. Misdirected anger is also incredibly normal: but I’ve had a lot of people get hung up there, using me and that isn’t healthy for them.

Many people want a bad guy to lend some sort of meaning in these situations when the truth is: there usually just isn’t one.

I am in a remarkably stressful, terrifying situation with my son for which I am doing my level best to maintain my composure and not give in to fear. Because I heard a mother weeping for her lost child. She does in fact, have mine. I know all too well that we have both heard some horrendous things about the other- things I also know aren’t true on either count. It would be so easy for me to explain them out- but hateful. Hurtful. Even making sense of them as I have as manifestations of mental illness- it’s just not the goddamn time. A lot of people suggested a lot of things- out of concern I understand but: man, this is one of those situations where the right thing is so unclear. The thing is, I fully recognize that my son is all that’s left of her son, in a very emotional sense. I fully recognize how easy it would be for me to become target of misdirected anger: because, shit, I make a great bad guy. But I am not the bad guy. Death is not the bad guy.

It just is.

Being actively responsible for life and death in the way I have been over the years has taught me quite a lot about it and the emotions at play. That is why I do what I do, here. Why I have made the choices I have in spite of the overwhelming desire to go scoop my baby up. It was the hardest thing in the world to tell him we were going to wait, but it was easier to tell him to give himself some time to grieve. Easier still that his grandmother did give a practical reason: he needs to finish the school year and it only had a couple of weeks.

My eldest actually just graduated high school last week, too.

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The sullen one in the center is mine. Are you shocked? 

I did not get an invitation to the graduation. I don’t blame my eldest for that. It’s just a huge part of the overall emotional shitstorm I’ve been running through the past few weeks. Though I do have a tremendous amount of compassion: the truth is, I was actually talking with a lawyer about revised visitation and custody when my ex died on the grounds of parental alienation. There was good reason for that.

While I readily own the fact that I am accountable for being a “late bloomer” in terms of stability- I cannot say that feeling like an incubator for people who seldom consider what that might feel like was ever a tremendously bright spot in my life. I am responsible for the choices I made- and while I absolutely have come to terms with the fact that I made the right choices at the time, in consideration of what was best for my children: I never quite escaped the guilt. You can’t go back and change what you did, why you found yourself in the position to make those decisions- all you can do is persist in improving and doing better.

That doesn’t however, quite fill the empty spaces. But, the march of time is very much like death- inevitable. I know with my eldest, I have been able to be there for him in ways the side of the family raising him don’t even know about- I also know that his step mother has to her credit, had to step in for all manner of responsibility and I respect that. I respect that my middle child’s grandparents have been there for him through this, too.

There are hard choices to be made in the coming days and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I had a lot of anxiety about all of it. I worry a great deal about unanswered questions and anger, I worry a lot about the impulsive rush of emotion that comes of it. Above all I do not want my son to suffer as a result of it.

People often say they do not know how those who are responsible for death can do it.

The truth is, it’s being responsible for life which is so much harder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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