It’s been a while between cocktails…

700Ahem. *Clears throat and looks around nervously*

It’s been a while.

If you’ve dropped in while the tumbleweeds were blowing through this part of my online space, I’m sorry I wasn’t here to offer you a cup of tea and a biscuit. Or a gin and cheese twist, if that’s more what floats your boat. If you had been relying on me for party-style sustenance, you’d have faded away to a shadow by now.

And now I’m going to share why I was away. It’s a bit long and a bit sad, so if you have better things to do or just aren’t up for sad, feel free to stop here, with the assurance that I will be around much more reliably in future.

For those who’ve stuck around, here’s the rest…

I’m sorry I’ve been away – for myself, as much as anyone else. I have missed being here, but I’ve been, if I may adopt an Austen-like expression, unfit for company. You see, a few months ago, I lost my dear old dog Cleo, companion of many years, and it made me very sad.

Those with pets, or who have lost them, will understand. Those who haven’t lost a pet will probably find it strange to be so affected by the loss of an animal, but when you consider that she was my shadow for sixteen and a half years, it might make more sense.   I hadn’t realised, until she was gone, just how constant a companion she was, especially in more recent years, as she got older and I spent more time writing.

I knew she was old and we were on borrowed time but the end, when it came, was sudden and I wasn’t ready.

I miss her.

And in missing her, I am reminded of other losses and other grief, for friends and family who’ve died and for friends who are sick and who have lost much of what they were, in activity, if not in personality. And sometimes it is hard to shake the sadness.

But life doesn’t take much account of sadness. It goes on and requires me to show up and do things and still try to work on my new projects, because I have reached an age where loss and grief are becoming a much more regular part of life. If I let them stop creativity completely, I will never get anything done. But it can be hard to write happy stories when you are sad. And that can be a source of grief in itself. (Can you see a vicious cycle here? I can, but it took me a while to work it out.)

So although I have thought of blogging many times, and even started posts, I just haven’t been able to muster the wherewithal to complete them and get them up. And of course, with each week (and month) that I stayed silent, the harder it got to come back. It’s one of the hardest things about grief (and depression, for that matter). It robs you of normal contact, sometimes for extended periods, and when you come out of the fog, the apparent neglect that’s gone on can make re-establishing contact hard.

But as another loss recently has reminded me, embarrassment is not a good enough reason to stay away from people and places you like. This one isn’t a personal loss, but one I shared with the world. When Robin Williams’ demons caught up with him, many people felt they had lost a friend. Although we never knew him personally, his genius, his humour and his heart touched us and we were saddened by both his passing and the manner of it.

Robin_Williams_2011a_(2)

Image from Wikipedia

But I don’t want to say that he lost his battle with depression. Yes, he lost it that day. But he had been fighting that fight probably all his life and he won it for 63 years. That’s not the story of a weak person or one who didn’t reach out to people or seek help when he needed it. And it’s not the story of someone who let fear of being embarrassed keep him away from the people he loved.

So in honour of Robin and Cleo, I have bitten the bullet and come back. If anyone reading this has felt neglected, or missed me, please know that I didn’t mean to be neglectful. I was just doing the best I could at the time. And if you’ve been struggling with keeping it together, know that I’m thinking of you and do keep fighting the good fight. Because there are more people than you know who care about you.

Here’s to sharing a drink with some of them soon!

Imelda

15 thoughts on “It’s been a while between cocktails…

  1. I saw ‘Wine Women & Wordplay’ in my inbox just now and my heart did a lovely little tumble of: “Ooh. Something from Imelda.” I don’t care if it’s sad or happy – I love coming to share your space because I always find wonderful worthwhile things here… and I just enjoy being part of your world Imelda. I knew you were missing your dog. I know from my other lovely friends involved in RWA just how much voluntary work you do for RWA too. There are only so many hours in a day.
    xx

  2. Thank you, my lovelies. You’re right, Lily, there are only so many hours and only so much emotional energy, which is sometimes more to the point. But I really am feeling better now and I hope I’ve learned something this time about seeking some help a bit sooner! And thank you, Helene and Sandra, and Zeus and Budman, for being part of my extended family of all breeds!

  3. Dear Imelda,
    Seems we’ve been rowing a similar boat on different lakes.
    First my sincere condolences about Cleo! I so understand the emptiness from such a loss. Several months ago I lost my 17 year old cat, Pupkin. I’m sad to say my sister will follow him soon.
    I, too, need to shake this state of loss and impending loss and get my mojo working , again.
    Working on it!
    It’s a lovely post, and tribute to both Cleo and Robin.
    Good to hear from you again, I never felt neglected, but have been waiting for a new book!
    _Resa

    • Oh, my dear, I am so sad to hear about Pupkin and your sister. When I saw that things had been quiet with you too, I wondered if you’d been in a tough boat as well. I will be thinking of you and all your family and sending you the best of everything in the time you have left. As a friend of my says, I’m holding you in the light.
      And I’m working on your story this very day. I hope you like your namesake, when you finally meet her. I don’t think she is anything like you, except in name, but she came into my head fully formed and insisting that she was Resa and I thought it best not to argue. She’s a bit stubborn!
      Thinking of you always, Imelda

  4. Welcome back Imelda. Sorry to hear that you have been struggling. I’ve been battling some serious personal issues for a number of months now as well, so I feel your pain. It’s so hard to fight through the inertia of sadness. I’ve continued blogging but most of the posts are of the “miserable, scare people away” variety. I write when I need to and I say what I want to. If I can’t write, I don’t. I’m glad you were feeling well enough to post this,

    • Thank you for your kind words, D.A. Good on you for continuing to write your truth, even if it is of the scare people away variety. I think people need to hear the hard stuff. We do tend to present our best selves in public, especially in our professional spaces and it can make public a very lonely place for people who are doing it tough. You never know who you might have touched by sharing your hard times. Write on and I hope your battles let up soon. 🙂

    • Thank you my dear! You’re right. They are family members, especially important in our little family! It’s funny, we had a thunderstorm the other day and my first thought was to look for Cleo, as she HATED thunder. Actually took me several seconds to realise she wasn’t there. But I like to think of her in heaven, not scared any more, giving the thunder a good barking and having a lovely time. There was nothing she liked more than giving things a good barking.

  5. Yes, it’s very sad to lose a pet. My hamster died suddenly back in March. It may seem odd to get sad a bit a furry little blob, but they’re such sweet natured creatures. Dogs are lovely, too, so it’s such a sad time. And Robin Williams was a horrendous shock, and add into that Rik Mayall in June. It’s not been a good year, many heroes of mine suddenly passed on.

    As for Williams, I think he was very brave with his battles and it’s such a sad loss. He’s made tens of millions of people happy and I’ll miss his talent.

    • I will never think anyone odd who mourns the loss of a pet, whatever it is. I’m sorry to hear about your furry little blob. Size isn’t a determinant of importance. Anyone or anything we have a relationship with will leave a hole when they die or leave. I’m sure that’s why artists feel like such a loss when they go. Through their skill – especially when they make us laugh – they touched us and that makes a relationship. Let’s hope for less loss and more relationship next year! Thanks for coming Monsieur and for not ragging on me for neglecting ours. 🙂

  6. Hey Imelda, hope you are doing better. I totally understand the after waves that come with the loss of a pet. It’s hard to put into words how your life has to reshape itself after that…as though the universe has to recalibrate for the shape of the loss. My world hasn’t been the same since my last pet passed, and my family has recently lost my mother’s twin sister, which was a shock. The effects are much more far reaching than you ever expect. Take care xox

  7. This is a magnificent post… that is all I can find to say. Having lost a dear fur family member myself recently, I totally hear the message you’re heralding. Viva the furry loved one

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