Friday, June 11, 2010

10 in june part two: writing through heartbreak

June is a very busy month. The end of the academic year means that there are meetings, plays and endless school-related events (most are fun but they do keep me busy). Also, I've been very distracted because J-Dog (known to us as Jasper Friendly Bear) is very sick.

We are waiting on the biopsy results of tissue taken from several large tumours in his mouth. Honestly, it doesn't look good. Even if the tumours are benign, which is highly unlikely, the surgery to remove the growths would be dangerous and painful (not the mention the fact that having half his upper jaw removed would leave him with a dubious quality of life). Leaving them where they are is out of the question because they are making him very uncomfortable and affecting both his breathing and his ability to swallow.

We love this dog a lot. He's a very sweet old soul, who was born with tremendous dignity, intelligence and loyalty. I can't bear the thought of losing him but I can't stop thinking about it.

And you can imagine that this family would find all of this especially traumatic. As a wise and dear friend said to me, "You have to make sure the kids understand that he's not you." And even as we all understand that, this is all rubbing salt into some wounds that may never fully heal.

This was meant to be a post about writing, though - something I am reminded means more to me than an obligation or an item on a 'to do' list - so let me get back to that now.

Here are my goals for the month (taking up the numbering from where I left off in my last post):

5. Write for ninety minutes, four times a week (or 300 minutes per week). Given how busy I knew I'd be, I thought I'd set a more realistic goal (I'm already behind but not iredeemably so).

6. Write the speech for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers fundraiser (I don't have much of a choice about this one because I'm delivering it on Monday. I've got some detailed notes but a fair bit more work to do. Did I mention that I'm delivering it - at least in part - in French?).

7. Write a first draft of a short story (I've had this idea about Elvis and my home town for a while now).

I'm also going to continue to re-read and edit my draft novel but I'm not going to write that one down as a goal, since it's an ongoing process and I'm on track, thanks to my writing buddy and our regular exchanges and phone meetings.

It felt good to write all of that - about the fear and the grief but also about the goals I have set for myself. Writing gives me hope and a sense of purpose. When I do it well, it gives me confidence.

It's also very therapeutic.

Update: The vet called this evening. It's cancer. We have some choices to make but none will be easy. 


Lene Andersen said...

Aw, crap. I'm so sorry about Jasper and the wounds that are being ripped open again.

Sending all of you love.

Andrea Ross said...

Oh, Laurie. I'm so sorry to hear the bad news. Wishing you and your boys extra strength and resilience.

Please let us know how we can help.

JuliaR said...

Trying to think of something positive to say at this time - man, that is difficult. Give Jasper lots of kisses, be there for him right to the end, wait until he is gone to cry for him, take a deep breath and regroup. That's why dogs are so wonderful, because they aren't here for very long.

laurie said...

Thank you. Your comments mean even more because I know the three of you know what it's like to really love an animal. xo

Melanie said...

I'm so sorry, Laurie. Had been praying for you all after S told us the news. Hugs and much, much love to you all -- especially Jasper.

Michael said...

A big hug for Jasper and all of you.

zoom said...

I'm so sorry, Laurie. You clearly love him a great deal. Your wise friend advised you to make sure the boys know it's not you...make sure you know it too. I can see how the parallels could set the stage for some pretty intense emotions. It's hard enough losing a beloved pet even without the rest. Life just isn't fair sometimes.

Dee said...

Laurie, I'm so sorry to hear about Jasper. That really sucks. I am sending you all strength as you make a decision about what to do.

Also, I updated my lists for this month. I forgot May. My plan is to get better at this this summer.