notquiteold

Nancy Roman

I No Longer Wish To Decide

All my adult life, I have been a decision-maker.

When I was a little girl, my hand was always raised in class. In fact, I was usually jumping out of my seat in my enthusiasm for answering a question. Any question: Where is Mexico?  When was the French Revolution? What time is lunch? Having two older and very smart sisters – it was not always easy to get my voice heard. But I was a determined little shit.

Some folks think that kids become obnoxious know-it-alls when they get too much attention and praise for any tiny accomplishment. And that is certainly one way. When kids constantly hear how wonderful and amazing they are because they can eat and walk and poop, it’s no surprise when their tone-deaf little selves expect to be the next American Idol.

But I know that there’s another path to Obnoxious Know-it-All. The path of insecure but competitive little sister. That’s the path I took. You may think it’s a road less traveled, but believe me, a lot of bad bosses executive decision-makers have arrived via that route.

How I wanted to go first in a game. To win one once in a while. To watch the TV show I wanted. To pick out the Christmas tree. To have a teacher say “Wow – You got all the brains in the family.”

When I was sixteen my parents moved and I switched to the high school on the other side of town. No one knew my sisters. (Except for one teacher, who had taught my oldest brilliant sister. And often remarked that I was nothing like her. Oh well.) I was me. I was in no one’s shadow. But to my astonishment, my light didn’t pop out dazzlingly from under its bushel. It turned out that I still was an average skinny high school wallflower.

And college wallflower. Although during class discussions I still about jumped out of my chair waiving my hand – anxious to have the professor notice me. And then I went back to the dorm and studied some more.

But then… but then! I got a job! And I was good at it. Who knew that a debit and a credit would make sense to an artistic, sensitive little English-major hippie? And once in a while the boss said, “What do you think?” To ME! Well, ‘What I Think’ had been bustin’ to jump out and take over. I could tell people what to do and how to do it. And I sure did.

I’m not mean. I try very hard to respect people. I’m tactful (mostly). I forgive mistakes. I look for the best in people. My parents – (and my two big sisters as well) – were examples of genuine kindness that helped me more than all my education and hand-raising to be a decent boss.

But I DO like to be in charge. I DO like to decide what to do. I DO like my suggestions to become The Rule.

At work. And at home. I’m The Boss. I like power. I like having my way.

Or rather, I DID.

I don’t want it any more. I don’t want to be the boss. I don’t want any more responsibility. I no longer wish to decide.

Last week my twenty-year-old cat went into a serious decline.  We could see that he was suffering. My husband said, “What do you think?” The very words I used to relish.

And I said, “I think it’s time to help the poor old guy into his next life.”

And I no longer wish to decide.

merlincherrytree

Merlin

33 Comments

  1. Oh Nancy, I’m so sorry. The fact that it was absolutely the right decision doesn’t make it hurt less. Give yourself a big hug and a hanky from me, a fellow youngest know-it-all.

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    • Thanks. I’ve loved being the decision-maker in the family. Until now.

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  2. mercyn620

    Sorry you lost such a wonderful companion. I am sure he is smiling down on you and saying,”thank you”.

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    • Merlin was a “rescue” – and was a part of our family for almost our whole married life. He had a really good long life.

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  3. This is just the decision I hate to make. I can buy a house and a car. I can invest money and fire people. I have a very hard time ending a life and yes, you have to do it. You do it for them because you really care. I am so sorry for your loss.

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    • Thanks. We’ve had (and lost) several pets. But I never had to make this decision before. I wanted him to just go quietly in his sleep – to spare myself more than him. But he was a stubborn little bastard right up to the end.

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  4. So sorry. Never an easy decision and one of the hardest parts of life.

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    • Something I don’t wish to repeat. But I know it is a part of having a pet. The wonderful little companions have a shorter life than we do, and having to say goodbye comes with their joy.

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  5. June

    It’s always saying good-bye to our beloved fur-babies. But we know when it’s the right decision….it does NOT make it easier. My sympathy on losing a member of your family.
    Hugs,
    JuneK

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    • It WAS the right decision – just very hard to make.

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  6. I am so sorry! It’s one of the saddest decisions we have to make. My heart goes out to you. We had to do the same thing with our old dog Rozie just this October. Doing the right thing doesn’t make it any easier, except we know we helped make it just a little easier for a beloved pet/family member.

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    • Thanks. And yes – there was no point to adding a few hours or a few days to his pain.

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  7. I’m so sorry, Nancy. Making these decisions is so very difficult and as others have said even knowing you’re doing the right thing doesn’t make it easier. It’s also why I no longer have pets, after having to make that decision four times, I cannot do it again. Happily, my occasional petsitting jobs allow me to experience the joys of pets without the tough end of life decisions.

    Your old guy was one cool cool kitty and so very lucky to have you as a companion.

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    • Pets add so much joy, I can’t imagine being without one. But now I know the sadness that comes with ending the life of a little creature who has spent his whole life loving you.

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  8. So sorry.

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    • Thanks. Merlin had a really long (almost 21) really good life.

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  9. Sorry about Merlin. As much as they bring to us, it just hurts so much when they have to go and even though it was right to help him along, it doesn’t make it easy. MJ

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    • For a lot of his life, Merlin was kind of a clingy, annoying pest. But he was OUR clingy annoying pest.

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  10. You were fortunate to have had such a loyal and lovely companion for almost 21 years. These decisions are soooo difficult to make. Over the years, I’ve taken two cats to the vet at the end because it seemed like the ‘right’ thing to do; I’ve also sat for days with three others because I felt they wanted to die with dignity at home. Both decisions were tough and each time I swore I wouldn’t get another cat (all of mine have been ‘rescue’ cats) because I couldn’t bear to go through it all again. Suffice it to say, I now have two cats (sisters) and they’ve brought enormous joy back into the house. Peace be with Merlin.

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    • We tried to give him a peaceful ending at home. But when I realized it wasn’t going to be peaceful, I knew I had to make the hard decision.

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  11. Sorry to hear about your lovely kitty. That is the hardest decision to make. I don’t blame you for not wanting to making it but then, with all your experience and love, you know what the right one is. 😦

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    • It feels sometimes like a betrayal – he depended on us for his life and we ended it. But I am reassured that it would be a bigger betrayal to have let him suffer so that I could avoid the responsibility.

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      • Indeed. I’ve had to make the decision a couple of times now and believing it’s kinder to end a difficult or painful life.

        My heart goes out to you, Nancy. Keep the faith.

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  12. I nominated you for the Shauny Award, the details are on my page, appreciate you!

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  13. Aw, so sad. It’s such a difficult decision, but it’s your final act of love for him. I’m sorry for your loss.

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    • Thank you. What you have written is true – that it was an act of love, but such a terribly sad act of love.

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  14. Ray Goudreau

    Nancy, I almost don’t like that you mentioned Merlin. I was one of the fortunate ones who met, and petted, and really liked him. But, I’m typing this while I weep.
    Ray

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  15. Nancy, I’m so sorry about Merlin. Somewhere Merlin is thanking you for loving him enough to make that very hard decision. Hopefully there won’t be anymore of that calibre for awhile.

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  16. Let the Games Begin!

    Merlin looks just like Secret (the cat the boys brought home after the hubster declared: NO MORE CATS! hence her name). Secret went to her reward (unlimited Fancy Feast and a box she didn’t have to share with her feline companion Beeswax) last February at age 17. That’s 4,623 in cat years. She used her time wisely.

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  17. Oh, so sorry for your loss!

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  18. A hard decision but a good decision.

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