Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Patch that Is Rough

Honestly, I have the best friends. You should get friends like mine. They can't be beat.

S is a children's librarian. I've known her since pre-school. We stayed in touch when she went to private high school, we drifted, I got invited to her wedding anyway, and now we've settled into a relationship that I'm not entirely sure how to categorize.

We don't speak every day. We have people in our lives that we connect about. She's the person who traveled with me to see our 5th Grade Teacher last summer. We have traditions. On our birthdays the other person calls up a local independent bookstore and buys books to have waiting there for the birthday celebrant. We're not picky about the timing of "birthday" either. The real joy is in finding a gem that the other person, an avid reader, won't have read before and will feel, after they've read the book, as though they've been waiting for it all their lives.

S gave me two books this year and this morning I sat down to read one of them, The Rough Patch. It looked so good and S's choices are always amazing and I had a few minutes before I had to walk the dog and head to work so I sat down and read it. I don't want to spoil it for you but I broke down in tears. It's a beautiful book about a hard subject with universal themes and now I want to buy a copy for each and every one of you.

You see, this year has been a bit of a rough patch. Not just for me, a lot of people are having it rough. It's all hitting a little close to home.

In December I started taking this cancer risk reduction drug and my cat, Anna, was diagnosed with a tumor on her intestinal wall. In January my father and his dog were hit by a car. His dog did not survive the injuries. Dad did and is healing very well now but it's been a long road. At the end of January my uncle died. The day after that Anna died. Two weeks ago a different childhood friend with whom I connect similarly but on different subjects than S wrote to let me know that her father was going into hospice. Last week he died.

It's been an especially rough patch for dads.

I put all these things into one paragraph and it feels very special and heavy. Then I realize that I'm celebrating my 50th birthday (all fucking year, what's to stop me?) so it's, in fact, normal that so many funerals and accidents and life events occur in succession.

Good things are happening, too. When I went to my uncle's funeral I stayed with a friend and we got to hang out and it was lovely. One of my cousins had her first baby. I spent 4 days in Florida with a group of friends and my mom as part of my year long birthday-ing. The other book that S gave me is by a writer who I love. S gave me the next book before I even knew it was out! A couple of weeks ago a friend invited me to come by and pick up a gift for having hung out with her dog while her husband was sitting with his mom in the hospital (didn't even mention that one, did I?) and she wound up inviting me to stay for dinner and it was delicious and nothing I would have made for myself and I was so grateful for just being able to eat and not think about it. I'm knitting something new. I have several new clients. We hired an administrator for the school where I teach dog classes. I'm going to get Reiki done for the first time as part of a friend's training in that discipline. There are a lot of exciting things going on!

It's a bit of a rough patch, though, and I find myself falling into the trap of thinking that every rumbly strip of road is a step on the path downward. Every time it gets dark out I have trouble remembering that doesn't mean that we live in the dark now and forever.

Floating in a pool every day for four days helped a lot. Remembering that floating in a pool, napping in the middle of the day, sitting in a hot tub, laughing with friends is possible helps me to remember that those things are probable. They are, in fact, much more probable than a life of drudgery and darkness because I have good friends. I have great friends. They make great drinks and tell funny jokes and buy me amazing books and do math when I can't, and a million other wonderful things.

I highly recommend getting friends as cool as mine. They make even the rough patches smoother.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad and his dog! And you having to take a cancer risk reduction drug (I've never heard of that!). But I am over the moon happy with your awesome friends! That book thing sounds amazing. Thinking of you with love and light <3

  2. Rumbly strips are put on the shoulders of highways in Oklahoma to "wake you up" if you start to fall asleep at the wheel. They also come before stop signs to warn you to slow down. Rumbly strips make you pay attention. Hang onto those good things you have posted up there in that post.