If history has its say I will die in August. August has three rather formidable anniversaries for me, the specific days of the month are not important for this essay: my mother Virginia committed suicide in 1992, I was shot in 1984, and, my father died in 1969.
It may surprise you to learn that all in all August is not a depressing month for me. While the three experiences just mentioned all brought me to my knees, literally and figuratively to be sure, the fact I survived them and am alive and well and sober serves as a reminder to me that we human beings are far more resilient than we think. Yes, this includes you too. Whether you are able to believe this or emotionally experience this as true about yourself will have something to do with the moment you’re in right now. But I’m right, you are a human being with greater reserves of strength and resilience than you may, at the moment or at this time in your life, believe. because one believes they are absent strength does not mean they are, it means that is what they believe.
Now, while August is not a depressing month for me (I actually feel quite victorious on the day of the shooting, it’s twenty-seven years this month), it is an on guard month for me. A month when I am on a heightened state of alert. And this is all okay.
Having said all this, however, I am deeply saddened that I may have to say goodbye to one of my dogs this month and, if not this month, soon. Milo and I have been together since on or about 1999 and we are quite close. He is a brindle beagle-mix and has been my writing companion for years. Whichever room I’m in, that is where he wants to be. I’ve written many words with him curled by my feet. He has never criticized my writing nor, come to think of it, me. Well, maybe he does get a bit huffy with me when I‘m a bit slow of the mark feeding him. We weren’t together long before I realized his primary goal in life was to eat all the food on planet earth.
I will hold him when he leaves this world. I will not let him be without my arms around him and words of love pouring into his ear. He will not be alone. No one should have to be alone in the end. And while I cannot protect myself and most from that fate, I can protect him. God knows he’d protect me.
While August and I may not be in love, we do have a close relationship. I respect him and I hope, after all these years, he respects me.