Today we learned that my mother’s fourteen-year-old dog, Sydney, has lymphoma.

There is no question as to whether he is a good boy. The sweet Australian Shepherd has always captured our hearts with his all-around enthusiasm and his passion for his ball. I wish I could describe the joy he brings my daughter, Violet, and her cousin, Hannah.

Chemotherapy would be torture for the old man. And so with cheeseburger offerings and heavy sighs, we watch. And we wait. And we hope we can express our love as well as he has shown his love for us, all these years.

As I scroll through my pictures looking for Syd, I see flashes of my former life. I’m often told to smile on dating sites because I look so morose. Trust me, fellas, you haven’t seen depressed. And you haven’t seen the lowest-of-low self-esteem. And you wouldn’t believe how it took a little sparkly makeup and an exercise program to get me out of my funk. To make me start believing in this idea of self, if only a little.

And now I think about those former dreams, and those dreams, modified. And I see that I was just a blogger before it was cool. And there is so much that I wrote, and so much left to write about. It gives me hope, and it makes me grateful that I didn’t manage to leave on that insane August day.

The idea that I am worth anything has eluded me for quite some time. Just like Sydney, I have difficulties. But I am surrounded by people who love me. And it makes me capable, and it makes me whole. Because without the support of people who truly love you, you are content to fade away. Or to go out in a blaze of overly medicated glory.

When I was in the hospital many years ago, I was elated at times. Because I realized that my hospitalization would end in eventual divorce. I thought perhaps that the separation would be immediate. That I would be free to live my dreams, no matter how deluded.

Now, I realize that the dream was there all along, waiting in silence. Waiting for me to break out of the cocoon of self-hatred. Waiting for me to see that what I thought was love was the real delusion.

And was it his fault? We are who we are, and it is what it is. It was a tale of two completely incompatible people, trying to make an impact on this world, somehow. Not realizing that we couldn’t do so together. And in our way, we did make a difference in this world, in the form of a little girl.

So not all is ever lost. And hope springs eternal, in different ways, for different people. We are all worthy, and capable, of love.

And I wish him nothing less.


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