I really do have to say that this year has been by far the most trying I’ve ever survived—and that counts the nearly five years of physical and emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of a mentally ill ex and the eight months I spent bedridden with Lyme disease and Lyme-induced lupus. Still, I’ve learned a lot this year. I learned that I’m even stronger than I thought I was. I learned that sometimes you don’t get to forgive someone who’s hurt you on your own terms (because death strikes on its time, not ours). I learned that life and the connections we make are far more precious than I’d previously believed.
For those who don’t know me, thanks for reading. Some pretty personal stuff is coming, stuff that probably won’t interest you. It’d be pretty cool if you kept on reading, but I’m not going to hold you to it. For those who do know me, those who have some kind of emotional investment in who I am and where I’ve been, I thank you for your love and support. What follows is a doozy. Here goes:
Nearly eight months to the day, I lost someone who’d filled in for the empty spot most would designate as “son”; he’d have turned 15 the month after his death. Some of you might stop reading here when you learn that he was a cat. Those of you who ever knew him will know he was so much more than that. “Kitty” (he named himself—another story for another time) would have given you the stink-eye if you’d treated him like a feline. While he knew that’s exactly what he was, he strove to overcome species and form. Tommy and I used to jokingly call him our Pinocchio Cat—there was no question he’d longed for nothing more than to be a “real boy.” He’d taught himself to use doorknobs.
He’d taught himself to say a limited number of words—in English. (Tommy had thought me insane when I first shared our little secret, as before then Kitty had only spoken for me—until shortly after we’d moved in with him, Kitty led him to the sink and very clearly asked him for “wa-er.”) If you treated him like a cat, he’d slink away, mortified and hurt. He’s the reason Tommy and I got together, and telling this story always makes me smile.
When Kitty died from an incurable infection he’d caught at the local veterinary clinic, life seemed to stop. Everything changed. Tommy and I (and Kitty’s sister, Kadie) still grieve his loss. It’s so unfair such a special person—and I mean that in the most definitive of terms—left this earth in such a terrible way. His illness was horrific. No one, the least of whom being someone like him, deserved to die in such a terrible way. But life had to go on.
Despite all of the loss, I’ve clung to my will to write. I’ve allowed the pain to fuel me just as much as it’s held me back. Some decent stories have arisen from the horrors, and for that I’m grateful. Horror comes from various inspirations. Sometimes the greatest horror comes from places that are deeply personal, painful, and life-changing. Much of my horror comes from a place very deep and real. Perhaps one day I’ll share the inspirations behind some of my darkest stories.
Anyhow, I’ve rambled on long enough. I commend you if you’ve actually made it this far and thank you for taking an interest in my bizarre world. In a nutshell, it’s been a crazy life. This last year has been particularly trying. I survived, though, and I’ve emerged stronger, smarter, older.
And do I have some stories yet to share with you … 2014, hold onto your hat. We have some important business, you and I.