Be Brave of This Everything!

As I was scrolling through my facebook feed, I came across this post allegedly conveying a five-year-old’s advice to his mom when she was facing a daunting meeting. It made me smile, not because I think affirmations and so forth ever change reality, but because I like the playfulness of substituting “I am brave of this meeting,” for, “I am afraid of this meeting.”

I take an endless procession of cats to the vet. Have used the same small-town practice for the thirty years, and they are good folks. They know me. They know I wrangle a feral herd as best I can, which–given the ability of feral queens to stay out of traps–isn’t adequate. A couple weeks ago, one of those feral mamas had tangled with the wrong set of tires, and it was clear she was not going to recover from her injuries. I caught her (at last), and in we went for that one-way ticket across the rainbow bridge.

This is not a rare occurrence in my life. I have owned many pets, and they tend not to outlive us. So. I always offer the soon-to-be-departed a word of thanks or appreciation, and what I told this old gal was, “You have been a wonderful cat. I will look after your babies, and now you get to go someplace where you don’t have be fierce and brave all the damned time any more. Just take a nap, old girl. Take a peaceful, easy nap, and steal away from the pain. Job well done.”

And then I tried not to cry too awfully hard, but if you can’t cry a little alone in your Prius while tooling down a country road, you aren’t doing it right.

Today I was driving into the vet’s office to drop off little Beowulf, a tabby fella of about four months who was ready to be relieved of some potentially troublesome small parts. He’s had eye trouble and upper respiratory trouble in his short life, but he’s amenable to treatment and the guy does have an abundance of charm. I predict a long and enjoyable life for Wulfie.

I was giving him the pep talk. “It’s going to be a bit of challenging day, my dude. Some passing ouchie, though we’ll get the pain meds for that and they will put you under before anything medical transpires. Just be brave for a few hours and you’ll be home playing crunchie-hockey in the kitchen. Better still, you will never be challenged to any stupid duels by the other lords of the couch.”

Through the bars of his carrier, he gave me a look, and it occurred to me: I am sick and tired of being brave. I have had it up to my eyeballs with being brave–brave about every sniffle and headache. Brave about finances. Brave about never seeing my loved ones. Brave about there’s no wet cat food to buy anywhere in this backward, mask-avoidant county. Brave about coming up with new ideas when I have stared at the same walls for two long years. Brave, humbug!

Wulfie made it through his day out just fine and so did I, but it helped to just say the truth–not the affirmations, not the pep talk, not the philosophical euphemisms. The truth.

What are you sick and tired of? I’ll add two commenters to my ARC list for A Spinster by the Sea.


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15 comments on “Be Brave of This Everything!

  1. Dear Grace,
    I am sick and tired of those who do not know me or any of us telling us what is good and safe behavior without realizing that we all want to live in a safe and low risk health environment.
    Honest open words and intentions for change for the better for all of us in undemanding oral and written language I would have hoped created a positive and undeniable way forward observing the health protocols to resolve the devastation and destruction of an abiding citizenry.

    • Where I am, the stores all post their policies on the door, and that does make life a little easier. I just mask up and distance in public, period. But you are right that simple business of following public health guidance has become a flashpoint, and that is tiresome.

  2. I am sick & tired of being brave & steadfast concerning my body. I’m sick & tired of being diagnosed with more & more problems. I’m sick and tired of people not understanding, not knowing facts & judging me for the things I can no longer do. And I’m sick & tired of not being the woman, wife, mother & grandmother I use to be. In the past 10 years I have developed 3 differing types of arthritis, fibromyalgia,two bouts of cancer I’ve fought & defeated and six months ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.At my last visit with the neurolgoist I was told I have an inoperable brain tumor. I have not told my husband or grown children yet. I am sick of ruining my loved one’s joy. I miss the woman I once was. I was strong, active, a servant to those in need and I no longer am.

    I’m so tired of people telling me it’s all imagined or in my head. They say just be more active, exercise more, lose weight, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I smile & nod and shove my note from my sweet doctor in their faces. It reads “I’m her doctor & you need to get off her back. She’s my hero.” Sweetest doctor ever.

    I want one day without extreme pain. Just one. One. I want a day my husband doesn’t have to bathe me & put my underwear on me. I want a day I can throw a ball to my 3 year old granddaughter as I use to do with my grandsons back before my body betrayed me. I want one day. ONe day where I can do these things and go shopping with my daughters without them having to push me around in a wheelchair.

    But most of all I want a day when people are more concerned about being kind than they are their politics, or who does or doesn’t wear a mask. A day when people care more about children & the elderly than they do about their right to not be vacinated or their right to force other to be vacinated. I want a day where people simply care enough to be kind to others no matter the differences they have.

    And I apologize for this self-absorbed crybaby fest I’m posting. I read your blog at just the moment I was losing my bravery and everything poured out. Please know if this is inappropriate I’ll truly understand if you choose to delete my post.

    I think I’ll go reread The Soldier, it always cheers me up. Thank you for sharing your gift of words with us & bringing joy & hope to those of us tired of being brave.

  3. I tell my family, every time I go to the grocery store, I am fighting the *Battle of Bedford Falls*. In the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” while George’s brother Harry is being a hero and saving lives, George is running rubber drives and paper drives and rationing coupons and being the air raid warden etc. He’s doing all those things to help his community get through the war. It’s not exciting or glamorous but it’s necessary. Harry’s the hero but George helped maintain the society he was fighting for.

    I am tired of trying to find Borax or food storage bags or the kind of soup my autistic son likes. And of seeing some of my fellow shoppers blatantly flaunt not wearing a mask and being defiant enough to act like it’s their right. No one is polite or considerate of others when it comes to rationing something as simple as toilet paper. We have a tradition in our household of putting something on the weekly grocery list and of me picking it up when I go shopping. During the last almost two years, they’ve gotten used to me not being able to get something they need. I almost always tell them I will try but I never know if I will be able to. I suppose I’m spoiled–I’m not the only one I imagine–but not being able to find saltines in the middle of the suburbs of a large metropolitan is not being spoiled. 🙁

      • Thank you! It’s Italian Wedding Soup and the brand is Rao…..but no worries…my brother called me this morning to tell me he found some at his local grocery store and bought ten jars. 🙂 I’ll see him in a couple weeks and give him the paper plates he likes…we’ve been doing that since March 2020…what can’t you get and I’ll look around here and you do the same!

  4. “Lords of the couch” – I love it!

    I m sick and tired of the lack of social activities. I live in an area where almost no one masks and no one seems to take covid seriously, so its hard to find others who are filling to follow safe practices to get together with us. And it’s too cold to do things outside right now (not for me who has lived lots of cold places, but for those who live in this part of the country where its usually warm, and so they don’t have cold weather gear or understand that it’s ok to do things outside when it’s not 80 degrees outside)

    I am just sick and tired of life, right now. I am fatigued.

  5. I am sick & tired of hypocrites. You know, the ones who spout super-religious ideas about how to behave and then embrace and vote for a “man” (doesn’t really meet my definition of same) who violates all their supposed principles. Or the ones who refuse to get vaccinated and/or wear a mask in public because it’s their body and therefore their choice, but are working very hard to take all choices away from women about their own bodies. Or the ones who say they are “pro-life” when in fact they are “pro-birth” (thanks for that to a Catholic nun!) because as soon as the baby is born, they are against any and all social programs that help the child have a decent life. Or the ones that belong to a political party that loudly believes in getting the government off the back of the people but then works very hard to impose their rules for how the rest of us can think and act, especially those who say local governing bodies should make their own decisions and then pass laws at the state level that deny them the ability to do so. There’s more but this is long enough and I think you get the point–I hate hypocrites. I may not agree with you but I’ll at least respect you if you’re honest about your views. Yes, I currently live in Florida (because it is my late father’s home state) and have to put up with all of this, but I’ll be getting out as soon as I can (though it won’t be soon enough)!

  6. I am sick and tired of being sole caregiver (as well as taking care of everything else) to Brian, my partner of 33 years, who is now wheelchair bound and and has dementia. I would like to add, dear Grace Burrowes, that looking forward each day to reading whatever book of yours I am currently reading is one of the joys that helps me through! Thank you.

  7. Grace, bless you for the care you give to your 4 legged friends. I’ve taken some of my best friends for that trip over the rainbow bridge my conversations always go something like “you’ve been such a good friend, you lived a good life and you don’t deserve to suffer…” There are no sniffles on my way home, I’m a blubbering water pot and I’m not ashamed of it. If you love someone, it hurts to lose them no matter how many legs they have. Thank you for taking care of those little lords of the couch.

  8. I agree that saying the truth, at least at first, is an important first step to being able to deal with some of the difficulties we face.
    I realized at one point that, for a medical issue, I needed to just say, “this sucks!” I had not been allowed to have these types of emotions for the first 40 years of it and it took a toll on me physically and emotionally.
    I am very much tired of dealing with a medical condition that is like walking a tightrope every moment of every day. And, when I fall off the tightrope, there are dragons to fight. Those dragons are (to use a euphemism) a bear!

    And, I know what you mean! What is up with the dang wet cat food?!?!

    • “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast:…”
      ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

      Not so far-fetched? . Our son just moved into an apt. called Revela #1304, and my brother-in-law was trying to be funny. Take care.

      • Dude! That’s wild! I didn’t know dragons were mentioned in the bible. =:o

        I hope your son isn’t regretting moving into apt 1304!
        Sometimes these offhand or “trying to be funny” comments can reshape how someone sees something.

        Thank you, Marianne. And, you take care, too!!!

        Everyone here, please take care!

  9. I am heartily sick of those who insist that their decision to remain unvaccinated and reject masks is their right, when, in fact, their refusal to take proper precautions affects us all. Not only are they likely to spread Covid to the rest of us (even those of us who are vaccinated and boosted can get sick, and those of us who are elderly are still at risk), but the mass of the unvaccinated fosters mutations that may be even more deadly and able to evade vaccines. It comes down to disdain for their neighbor and I find it despicable!

  10. My list grows longer every day. I am sick and tired of myself for having such a list! As to my pets and ferals, I have never cried as hard for any human as I do for them.