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21 November 2017

I Was Tired Today

I Am Tired

"I am somewhat exhausted," wrote Arthur Conan Doyle once, "I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?"

This afternoon, as I sat by my computer, I felt like a drained battery, I knew what he meant. My head nodded while I was typing – that never happens to me –  and I felt spent and weak.

For a moment, I thought I was sick, I wondered if I had the strength to get to a doctor. I wondered if it might be emotional. I was tired, but did not feel sick.

Was it Connie? I don't know, Maria thinks so.

I have doing therapy work for more than a decade now, and have seen too many people die to count, I believe I have learned to compartmentalize loss and death, these are not my people, not my family, not my friends.

They are just people I have come to know and care about. Am I being macho? In denial? Disconnected from myself? Maybe, it has happened before.

I have suffered from mental illness at different points in my life, I am not always aware of how I feel. I have worked hard these last few days, Connie's death was powerful for me, an opportunity to capture an experience, this is what writers do.

I could barely lift my head, which was spinning, my arms and legs felt week, I wanted to lean back in my chair and sleep. Instead, I got up and walked in the crisp fall air. I sent Red out to work the sheep. I took deep breaths, and came back to life.

Something had happened, it either entered my  body and soul or left it, I don't know which.

I wanted to do justice to this week. As Aristotle said, excellence is a habit. And excellence is made constant through the feeling that comes right after one has completed a work that is satisfying, even awe-inspiring, like the death of someone who is special, who reaches into one's heart and soul.

This does not often happen to me, I guard against it, that is the only way to do this work. But I am no robot, I am all too new human. I don't know about excellence, but I felt good, I thought I had captured the special moment.

Isn't that what I do?

I sometimes think I only want to relax until I am ready to renew such a feeling all over again because to me, everything else becomes trivial at the moment.

So this process was either emotionally exhausting, or perhaps I am sick in some way which has not yet revealed itself. My fatigue is complete, is encompasses my whole body.

I admit to being driven, rest does not come easily. Tonight, I'll listen to music when I get into bed, perhaps watch a British mystery until dawn, and the spinning whirlwind that is my head cools down.

Tonight, I am feeling energized, as if I have completed a work and am satisfied with it. But I am still spent. I'll see what the morning brings.

Thanks for reading. Much love and good wishes to you. I guess I am tired, but also in awe of life.

Posted in General

Red And The Pastor: Speaking About Connie

Red And The Pastor

Death is not discussed much in the Mansion, although it is a resident there sometimes, just like people. It is often in the air, an accepted part of life, everyone there has seen a good deal of it. This morning, at Connie Martell's memorial service, the Rev. Debbie Earthowl was talking about life and fate, and Red became concerned for her, he walked up to her and looked up into her eyes, and she put her hand under his chin, and the two of them just gazed into one another's eyes for a bit.

It gave me the chills, I will admit, although Red's intuitiveness doesn't surprise me any longer. He saw something in Rev. Earthowl that caught his eye and he came up to support her. She seemed very grateful for it, and the two held this pose for a good long time.

I am no prophet, but I might be a deranged mystic, and I never claim to know what it in Red's head, but this seemed like a beautiful and powerfully spiritual moment to me. I'm glad it lasted awhile. Rev. Earthowl was also.

The Mansion residents have grown used to Red, many of then have had moments like this, but I have never seen Red do this before. The moment came just after the pastor asked people if they had anything to say about Connie.

I'm thinking that Red did.

Posted in General
20 November 2017

Red At Work

Red At Work

Connie's family was deeply grateful for Red's work with Connie.

Above, he met Connie's son Mitchell for the first time. Mitchell was one of Connie's strongest advocates, he helped to make certain she died the way she wanted to die.

He and I have talked several times, he is a warm and compassionate human being. It was good to meet him, it seemed as if we had known each other for a long time.

I will always be grateful to Karen Thompson for bringing Red into my life. She appreciated his sensitivity to people and her wish was for  him to do therapy work. I will always be faithful to that promise.

Posted in General
15 November 2017

Red: Time With Jean In Her Room.

Loving Jean

Jean dearly loves Red and all dogs, and misses having her own. This afternoon, we were walking down the halls and Jean's door was open, she came to the door and invited Red to come in. I asked him to  hop up on the bed so Jean could reach him more easily, and she was grateful for that.

She has a photo of one of her dogs above her bed.

The two communed and hugged for about 20 minutes, it means so much to Jean. She has a toy dog bed with a stuffed bed on the floor next to her bed. You can write Jean, c/o Jean, The Mansion, 11 S.Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Posted in General
13 November 2017

Saint Red

Saint Red

Red takes his sheepherding very, very, seriously and cannot be bribed with treats or distracted while working. Gus, on the other hand, takes nothing too seriously and has concluded that herding sheep is just another game for him to play.

I can tell you there are many border collies who would not take kindly to having a Boston Terrier stand on his head while working. Gus believes the earth is a kingdom, and he is the King. He seems to be af raid of nothing.

This morning, while Red was giving the sheep the eye, Gus simply stood up, put his paws on Red's head, and waited for further action. Red did not move. Eventually, and in his own good time, Gus hopped off.

Yesterday, he wasn't paying attention and the sheep ran right over him, rolling him like a bowling ball. He got up, shook himself off and started eating disgusting things.

I think Red might be a saint, after all, he has infinite patience and grace, he simply does his work and screens out the distractions of life, including an impertinent and intrusive Boston Terrier.

Posted in General