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Aug 27, 2007

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Do not Read if you Have a weak Stomach.
Just a little more about my Pandora's box, if you will. About the scenes that I put in that box. They are not Monsters. The only monsters I have seen are poverty, ignorance, racism, and hatred. And the only offspring they have produced is war. The scenes I speak of are real, and I will give you one example, a mild one, of the scenes in the box.

Many years ago, a friend gave me a Siamese cat named Missy.

Aloof she was, but beautiful, and loved nothing more than to wander the fields surrounding our farmhouse. I knew there was no threat of little Siamese cats, as she had been neutered many years ago. There came a time in late summer one year when she did not show up for upwards of a week. We, the boys and I, went looking for her, many times, that week. We called, and searched, but could not find her. One morning I opened the back door, and there she was, full of cockle-burrs, thinner, and obviously having been through a rough time. I picked her up and carried her inside, into the washroom, and set her on top of the dryer, to look more closely at her wounds. One of her legs, while not broken, was stripped raw, and full of tiny holes filled with maggots. Busy little maggots eating away at her rotting flesh.

I remember, even at the shock of seeing this obscenity, telling myself that this was really a good thing. That while it seemed an obscenity, they were actually doing what they were best at, removing necrotic flesh, and perhaps preventing gangrene.

The vet said the same thing, and looking at me, said, "We have to get rid of these you know." And old country vet, he always gave you the truth. "Can you do this?" he asked me. I would be his assistant. I would help him hold Missy down, while he sprayed her leg with the medicine to kill the maggots. "Can you handle this?" I nodded, not really knowing if I could or not, but determined to do so for Missy's sake.

So, a short spray, and what seemed like thousands of maggots boiled out of her leg, like a pot of water boiling on the stove and spilling over, these things came from everywhere. And died. And, while dressing her leg, he spent a long time telling me about the beneficial nature of the maggot. The same things I had told myself. We talked about how they may have saved lives on the battlefields of many wars. Eating away the dead flesh, and saving the good flesh. I knew all of this was true, but the image was burned into my mind. Forever.

With antibiotics, and instruction, he told me, "If she lasts through the night, that is a good sign. I could keep her here, but you can take her home." I liked the way he put that. He was giving her a chance.

We worked with her for days, trying to get her to eat, though she refused. And then she refused water, and I knew it wouldn't be long. And then her death throes began, and I went to get the rifle, as I knew it was time. But, tears and shaking hands, made me so slow, and she died before I could load the gun. And we cried. My boys and I.

And we found a box and a beautiful cloth to wrap her in, and found a spot where she liked to sit, and she rests there today, and rather than curse myself with why didn't you, and if only you, and you really should have...I have placed Missy in my Pandora's box of memories.

So, when it came time at the hospital where I worked to help dress a patients bedsore, infected to the point where the smell pervaded every item in the room, and the tunnels and fissures of it seemed a living thing separate from from the patient, I could say, yes, I can handle this. Yes, I can sit in the room, and talk with her, make her comfortable, because I had been trained by fire.


It doesn't matter who holds the keys to the box. The scenes have no meaning for no one else but you. Other's may find them equally disturbing, but there's nothing in there that anyone can use to possibly hurt you anymore than you've already experienced. And if they climb out, then its usually for a reason. So, look at them, remember them, then tuck them away again. The greatest harm is when they run rampant through your mind, play endless on a repeating loop, to the point that all you see is the recurring scenes of remembered trauma.

This is a visualization technique. Much as laying down at night, and taking a deep breath, and exhaling slowly, but visualizing all the negativity you experienced flowing out the soles of your feet as you exhale. It takes a while, but you can actually feel it happening, if you give it a chance. A deep breath, a cleansing breath, is when you place your hand on your diaphragm and when you breath in, your hand rises. It may sound like psycho-babble, but it is actually a physical response, and if you are going to think about something, why not do your best to make it positive? What can it hurt?


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18 comments:

SpongyBones said...

I hate it when one loses a pet. It's worse when it happens this way. I thank God my mom always told me that mine ran away.

SJ said...

Wow that was powerful in the way you wrote it as much as in the event itself.

Babzy said...

Deb, you are soooooo good at what you do, not just writing it but knowing it.

I do visualization and deep breathing all the time. I visualize blowing the negative thoughts away out the window with a couple of deep breaths. It really works. Sometimes they sneak back in but when I encounter them again... out they go.

BTW your cat story did make me a little squeamish but it doesn't take much. When you love a person or a pet, a few thousand maggots wouldn't get in the way of helping them.

dawn said...

You know you are one of the saniest and straight forward people I know. I would love to learn this technique because things stay in me so long and it sounds like you have found a solution that works. You are so smart Deb and it is a priviledge knowing you

Enemy of the Republic said...

Lord, I'm so sorry.

BBC said...

This is my first look at your blog. I like it but I'm not sure how often I can visit as I'm so busy.

The cat in the foreground in the profile pic, I have four that look like that.

Happy trails, hugs.

alphonsedamoose said...

i still think you should write a book.

just me said...

bbc: drop by anytime, my door is always open. Always nice to see a fellow cat-lover.

moose: maybe I will write a book. stranger things have happened.

dawn: that is the sweetest thing to say, but there are many who would argue with you about the "saniest" part.

spongy: It was an unspoken rule I guess in our house, that whenever a pet died we had an elaborate funeral.

Sj: I'm a powerful woman. So when you going to come see me, sugar doll...lol....i'll turn you ever which way but loose...

enemy: hope things are going well for you.

babzy: It helps doesn't it? I have learned something else just recently. Chanting as I go to sleep. No, you don't have to light a candle, or sit with your legs behind your head. Curl up the way you like, and repeat your phrase over and over until the next thing you know, there's Christopher Meloni in his underdrawers, saying, "Come here baby..." (a dream, of course.)

Queenie said...

Oh I'm so sorry, I just came over to ask you to visit my blog and pick up a little something I would like you to have,no sticking your fingers down your throat but thank you for being so nice and for the kind comments you left me.
Again I'm so sorry its really crap when you loses a pet and like this SSShhh..

Babzy said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm going to chant tonight. And if Christopher Meloni shows up you better believe I WILL get these stiff old legs behind my head. AAAHHHHHAAAAAAHHHH

Oh dear. That's not very ladylike is it? HAHAHAHAHAH

just me said...

Babzy, I would do the same, but I want him to stay...not run screaming from the room. He might mistake me for a gargoyle or something with my legs behind my head or something. "AHHHHH!! Look at the mouth on that thing!!"

Babzy said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AAAAAAHHHH I'M CRYING!!!

Nick said...

Now that was a wild post.

alphonsedamoose said...

I will NEVER chant again. ROFL

Dorky Dad said...

Powerful post. Losing a pet is really tough. But, though I know of the benefits of maggots, I would still have a tough time allowing them to be put on my person, even on the battlefield.

david mcmahon said...

What a powerful message. Bravo!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

You are a gifted writer, and a wise lady, my friend. (Did you know David has included you in his "post of the day"?)

Hugs.

singleton said...

"because I had been trained by fire"....
You capture everything, my friend, and I imagine your Pandora's Box ways a gazillion pounds, but everything there so very very important, safe, for when the time comes....
Peace, love, and keep sharing, people are growing just listening!