July 24, 2015

Loss, and Rededication

UPDATE: Cyrano died shortly before noon today, Saturday, July 25. He would have been 17 on August 15.

Long farewell my dearly beloved, wondrous, loving, beautiful boy. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.


This may be a very strange post. There is so much I want to say, but I simultaneously feel that I don't have the faintest idea what to say. I am indeed sorry about my very extended period of silence; I was quite startled to see that my last post here was two months ago. I had thought I published it perhaps only a month ago. Among all the other losses, I seem to have misplaced my sense of time altogether.

This entire year has been captured by my own deteriorating health, together with Cyrano's. I don't think I misread the signs of Cyrano's ill health last winter, but I was wrong when I predicted that he probably only had three or four months left. My beloved friend and companion is still with us -- but now he is definitely close to the end. No mistaking it at this point. Since I have been almost entirely housebound for too many years to contemplate, Cyrano and I have spent virtually all our time together and. in recent years, with the wonderfully sweet Sasha as well. I don't see the cats only in the morning and when I return from my day in the evening. I don't/can't go anywhere, so we're always together.

Cyrano has been with me almost the entire time I've lived in this apartment (17 out of 18 years), and he's also been with me all of the time I've written the blog. He's kept me company, inspired me, delighted me, given me endless love and invited me to shower him with love. His imminent passing shatters me. I know I'll survive, but I can't bear to think about it.

Months ago, several very kind readers wrote to me with suggestions about supplements and similar ideas that might help with Cyrano. We tried a few of them, and those suggestions may be largely responsible for Cyrano surviving this long. I cannot express how grateful I am to those individuals for their care and concern. I think I also seriously underestimated Cyrano's strength and determination: he simply wasn't ready to leave. He's ready now.

For the last eight or nine months, my days have been shaped by the limits of my health and caring for Cyrano. I'm only able to be up and at the computer, or preparing and eating meals, or washing dishes, and so on, for a few hours at a time. Then I have to return to bed to rest for several hours. Then I get up again, and the cycle repeats. It's been easy to lose track of time, as I obviously have done. I spent a great deal of time taking care of Cyrano, and especially in trying to keep him interested in food. His likes and dislikes have changed a number of times, as have the times he prefers to eat. I've known when he wanted to eat because he would yowl to tell me about it. For a month or two, his hunger yowls began at 4:30 am, and recurred about every four hours thereafter.

I was delighted to comply, and I tried a huge variety of foods and treats to find those things that he particularly liked. The cries for food have stopped now. I'd give anything to hear that insistent 4:30 am demand for food once more.

I wish I could have continued writing essays during this time. I tried many times, but I simply was unable to do it. My overriding feeling has been only this: Just let us have one more good day together. I didn't have room or the emotional resources for anything beyond that. And for more months than I expected, we managed that.

I also wish I could have managed to compose some thank-you notes, but I was unable to do that either. I am truly sorry about that; a full explanation of this particular failure would require that I tell you far more about the twists and turns of my psychology than you care to know. It would also take a very long time. But please know that I am profoundly grateful to all those who have been so kind. And I send special thanks to some particular personal angels, including K.R., H.A., D.K., B.C., A.N.. E.W., and others I'm criminally forgetting for the moment. I offer a huge thank you to all those who have helped us during this terrible time.

My experience with writing for the blog has left me with ambivalent, deeply painful feelings. I had thought -- especially from roughly 2004 through 2010 -- that my writing would find a larger audience. And as part of that recognition. I would find some financial security. On a very modest scale, to be sure, but I certainly didn't think my audience wold dwindle to almost nothing. If you read my work from that period (and, I would add, a number of pieces from the last several years, too), I think you might agree that my work deserved a wider readership. I don't intend such statements to be obnoxiously boastful, but as observations of plain fact. I consider my best writing, including all the articles concerned with the meaning and implications of Alice Miller's work, and I set it side by side with work that brings its authors fame and fortune in varying degrees, and I'm aghast at the insanity and injustice of it. My feelings are made better and worse by the notable fact that Miller herself endorsed my work in this area. That fills me with great joy, and it also causes me to wonder: Christ, what does the world want from me?

I am not on good terms with the world. If I were, I may not have written the articles I have. I know that, too. So, ambivalent. But as my life with Cyrano comes to a close, I feel I must ready myself to write more, especially on the Miller themes, and on a few other subjects as well. I'm beginning to feel a very strong need to make certain issues as clear as I can, to explain why the world constitutes an enormous source of pain to me, and to others similarly situated. The world can also be a source of great joy, even of ecstasy, and I've written about that. Living ecstatically is the prescription I must now reclaim. I will reclaim it for Alice Miller, for Cyrano, for all those I care about and love, for myself, for those of you who still wish to journey with me.

I will never think that the bastards have won. Those individuals whose attitudes and actions lead only to pain, suffering, destruction and death can win nothing. They may prevail in particular instances or in certain periods, but domination is not victory, except for those who are irreparably damaged psychologically. I live, I write for a world which places no values higher than justice, compassion, empathy and love. I would be on the best of terms with that world. I had temporarily forgotten that when I write about what makes such a world possible, I live ecstatically now. As I observed in that earlier essay, that is everything.


Yes, I could use some help at the moment. I've spent a small fortune on Cyrano, especially in the last few months. Now we'll have the end of life expenses, and the first of the month is almost here. The cupboard is close to bare. Donations in any amount will be received with enormous gratitude.

I realize the plea for help may strike some as crass and calculated, especially after this particular post, but I mean every word of what I wrote above. It took Cyrano's imminent passing and the prospect of utter financial ruin to wake me from the trance of the last half-year. It's awful that such terrible events were needed to snap me out of it, but as I said, this world and I do not get along very well. Writing again will enable me to immerse myself in the world I want to see, the world I dream about. When the writing goes well, I am living in that world. Now, I must get back there.

And this time, I will be back here very soon.