I’m ready for another good year, like the year that happened between May 2007 and May 2008. Nothing went wrong during that year. When I think back on this year, all I’m going to remember is that this year is the year that I lost my best friend, again. This was the year that my son broke up with his first serious girlfriend and I watched him cry and all I could do was tell him that I understood, that I loved him and offer him chocolate, even though I knew it would do no good and that this kind of pain is not something a parent can mend with band-aids and a hug. This was the year that we began having serious obedience problems with Jet. This was the year that a freaking tree collapsed into my back yard, thankfully no one was injured, but a fence was destroyed. This was the year that I learned that not all contractors actually show up when you give them a job. This was the year that Jazzmin was diagnosed with cancer and I begged God to give us one more Christmas with her. Then of course, there are the tragedies that struck the world this week. The mall shooting in Portland, OR. The stabbings at a primary school in China. The school shooting in Newtown, CT and the fall out on Facebook and Twitter that has every politico on the planet screaming for or against gun control, when the problem has nothing to do with guns and the gun discussion is deflecting attention from the actual problem. The problem is that families of the mentally ill have no resources to help them before they commit a crime and trust me, the boy that did this (and I don’t care if he was 20 years old, he was STILL a boy) was mentally ill. Families of the mentally ill can’t just hire ANY therapist to treat a 13 year old that may turn out to be schizophrenic when he’s in his twenties. Your average therapists are not qualified to handle patients with violent tendencies. Families of these patients are often told by social workers and attorneys and even the therapists they do have access to that they have to wait until charges are filed against their family member before they can get access to the care they need.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that the therapists that are qualified to treat people with violent tendencies are contracted by your local county government and are barred by those very contracts from treating non-offender patients. Now you do.
So remember this: This country shuttles the mentally ill into the prison system and that is the reason that these mass shootings occur in the first place. If these boys got the treatment they needed before they committed a crime, the children that died in Newtown, CT would not have died, but we’ll never admit that it was our society and the stigma attached to mental illness that was to blame for that. We’re too chicken to take responsibility for this tragedy.
And, don’t even get me started on politics and the economy. We’re just not going to go there. Besides, I think my meaning is coming across here. This year sucked, not as bad as other years, but it still sucked. That’s where I’m at with 2012.
I’m still in a grieving cycle and I feel like it’s never going to end. I miss Mugen like crazy, especially now that it’s Christmas. The first Christmas after losing a family member is hard. Since 2009, I’ve lost 3 dogs. One to old age. One to cancer. Mugen to accidental poisoning. I don’t blame myself for what happened to Reilly. That was nature taking its course. He went in his time on his terms and I made peace with losing him very quickly and he was incredible and our life with him was how it should always be for every dog. Lucy was my whole heart. I still miss her all the time, but we fought like hell for the life we had with her. I don’t regret anything that we did and I know that when she went, it was her call. It took me a long time to let her go, but I did it and now I look back on life with her and smile. Mugen is another story. I still wonder if there was something I could have done. I go over the three days before he died in my mind a lot, trying to see how I could have done anything differently and if it would have made a difference. I know that I can’t control everything and I can’t change the past, but this is something I will always wonder about. I still worry about Jet every time I send him out in the back yard alone, but I don’t watch him like a hawk like I used to. I do check the fence perimeter on windy days, like today, because my neighbor’s fence has turned out to be assembled with chewing gum and transparent tape so I’ve made several emergency repairs to it, particularly on days like this. Other than that, I peek outside every now and then to make sure he’s still in the yard and he always comes when I call and if he doesn’t, which is rare, he knows I will go into the yard and bring his skinny butt inside, so the second he sees me, he comes running.
It’s so hard not to focus on all of this bad stuff, especially because I’m still in so much pain after losing my brown dog, but there were good things this year too.
My daughter got her learner’s permit. She’s not ready for her license yet, mostly because I’m still not one hundred percent comfortable with her driving. It’s improving and we do need to drive more often and a lot of that is my fault. She’s very excited about driving and I’m loving being her mom at this time in her life. We adopted Lexi in April. Lexi is perfect. She’s just what we needed to put our broken hearts on the mend. Jet’s obedience problems got me back on track with taking the dogs to dog school. Jet now has his CGC and we’re starting Rally in 2013 and planning to do Flyball in the spring and I can’t wait for classes to start again. Lexi is also working on her CGC and I would like to do Rally with her as well, if we can, but she has some socialization issues that Jet doesn’t have, so I don’t know if it will be possible for her to attend any canine sports off lead, ever, but we’re going to try and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.
To run down the list of other awesome things that happened, I made some new friends this year and some new contacts. I published a piece of short fiction (which I am shamelessly plugging right now). You may purchase a copy of the book that I was published in from Amazon.com and I encourage you to do so! The proceeds from this book go to fund activities for the Spokane River Writers. This group provides activities throughout the month of November that encourage a love of the written word in people of all ages.
I wrote my first fantasy novel in over a decade, which I am now neck deep in revising. Hopefully, I can start submitting this thing to agents some day, but the important thing is that my husband has been reading it as I go and he loves it. Everyone else’s opinion seems terribly unimportant compared to his, especially when he’s been asking me where the next chapter is as I write. I also got to meet my beautiful little niece for the first time and I met Lucy’s foster mom in person.
So, not all bad. Still, I hope that 2013 will be better. I’m waiting for another amazing year like the one we had just before my grandmother passed away. The downward trend, IMO, began, when she died. I still miss her every day, but I had a dream about her and my grandfather the other night. They were sitting in my living room with me and my dogs and we were laughing and cracking jokes. I woke up feeling like they were okay and that, where ever they are, their souls are happy and they are always with me. I’ve decided to take that as a sign that the downward trend has finally hit rock bottom and things are going to start looking good from here on out.
Here’s to 2013 and to more positive things and I wish you and yours, a very Merry Christmas, even if you still think guns should be banned.