notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Coping For Beginners

I’ve often thought there should be a course in Coping.

Maybe in Junior High. Maybe sooner. Maybe Kindergarten.

But I’m not sure it would help. Can we be taught how to react to stress? Should we all react the same way?

Just recently a friend left for a road trip  – a vacation the whole family was excited about – only to have car trouble halfway to their destination. They lost half a day of their precious vacation and were stranded scarily on the side of the highway. … and it cost them a bundle. “We’re fine!” she reported.

At the same time another friend was vacationing at a luxury hotel in an exotic location. And there was no fridge in the room. This was unacceptable.

And yes, I could say the first friend had a great attitude and the second friend had a bad attitude.

But they are not the same people. They do not have the same brain connections. They process stress differently. My friend who wanted a fridge seems to have a bit of OCD (in my perhaps incorrect and inappropriate opinion), and small disruptions can really throw her off balance. It’s not that her expectations are so high; it’s that she needs those expectations to provide order to her perceived chaotic world. She doesn’t need ‘luxury’ – she needs ‘no surprises’.

Then there are two more friends who have completely different reactions to pain. One friend goes to bed for the whole day when he has a headache. The other friend had hip replacement surgery and was up and walking the next day. “I’m fine!” she reported.

So is my first friend here a hypochondriac? Maybe. But maybe his brain perceives pain really strongly. Maybe he hurts something awful.

I won’t deny that I prefer the folks who are cheerful. Who don’t let car trouble or even surgery get them down. Who say, “I’m fine.”

But I can’t feel what others are feeling. And I’m pretty sure the more stressed folks don’t really want to be stressed. They feel what they feel.

Some people can’t bear to visit their sick relatives in the hospital. Some want to sit by the bed all day.

Some people want to dance the solo at the talent show. Some people throw up when they have to speak in a business meeting.

Some people can throw a party for 50 without ever running out of shrimp or toilet paper. Some people burn the hotdogs and drop the coleslaw when the neighbors come over.

Some people grieve for years at the death of a loved one. Some go back to work the day after the funeral and say, “I’m fine.” And it doesn’t mean they didn’t feel real love or don’t feel real loss now.

And some people can hold their aged cat’s little body and cry and cry.

But some people go into the kitchen and cook and cook, and use every pot and dish and fork. And then cook some more. And they say, “I’m fine.” And it doesn’t mean they didn’t feel real love or don’t feel real loss now.

I’m fine.

stewart peeking edit

Stewart. Goodbye, Sweetheart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

48 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry for you loss of Stewart.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. *your loss

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ❤ Me too.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Marianne

    Such a lovely, thoughtful tribute to Stewart (and us humans). So sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sallie

    the four footed friends we lose are some of the best lights we have in our lives. Condolences. and you’re absolutely right, everyone handles these things differently. (Although the headache might be a migraine. Those things suck)

    Liked by 1 person

    • We all need the freedom to cope in our own way. Thanks.

      Like

  6. He looks like a lovely boy. I’m very sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I understand. Pets are family members and are often the most understanding and loving members of the family. We may all grieve differently but we love with all our heart.

    Like

    • He was a stray that a friend found and gave to us. We don’t even know exactly how old he was, but he brightened our lives for more than 15 years.

      Like

  8. i’m so sorry

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As I refer to my pet as my 4 legged human, yes they are human too. As with human’s, it is heartbreaking when the time comes for them to go on a new adventure. Great post x

    Like

    • My pets are my children and he was a sweet and loving child.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Judith

    Much love to you, our cat is our family and our friend, sending you a big hug x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You ARE fine. Cope as you need to cope.

    Like

    • Thanks. We all need the freedom to cope in the way that works for us.

      Like

    • Thanks for the re-blog.

      Like

  13. Elizabeth

    Oh, I’m so sorry. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Deb

    A beautiful boy. So very sorry Nancy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. Our pets are family members. My thoughts are with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. terri

    i’m so sorry for the loss of your wonderful little guy..

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sorry,, Nancy…you expressed this beautifully.

    Like

    • Thanks, Cindy. Whether folks are stoic or emotional, they are all trying to cope as best they can.

      Like

  18. I love how you wrote this, taking your time to get to the end. Setting the stage for Stewart’s departure. It’s always sad and we mourn in different ways. We are fine until we see the shadow that we think is them or the cat hair on their favorite chair. Then the memories flood. You have lost cats since I started reading your blog. Do you have any left? *hugs to you all*

    Like

    • Christine

      Kate – she still has Lillian. Lillian and Stewart were very close so she will be a little lost. But she has lost both Fritzi and Snickers in recent years and before them there were others. We kind of set ourselves up by having pets we know we will outlive but they bring so much joy into our lives. Tom and Nancy love their furkids with all their hearts.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I remember Snickers. Yes they are pet people for sure.

        Like

        • God (or nature or whatever) made a terrible mistake by giving our pets shorter lifespans that we humans have. Saying goodbye to these sweet little creatures is the saddest part of loving them.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Yes although after adopting Gracie in January, I wondered if she would outlive me.

            Like

  19. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Thanks for sharing the strong and lovely tribute with your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ellen

    If there is one thing that I learned in my 45+ years as a nurse, it is that pain and grief are a personal thing. Everyone responds to a similar situation in a different way, that doesn’t make anyone right or wrong. I always taught new grads not to decide who had pain or didn’t. We all have the right to feel as we feel, we are individuals with our pain and loss – not a group. Long speech to tell you to embrace your pain and loss however it works for YOU. My condolences in the loss of Stewart. Thank-you for this beautiful and heartfelt post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s true: We cannot know what others are feeling – we just need to respect their need to cope in their own way. I tend to be stoic, but some people read that as cold. And since I am not cold, I have learned by those who misjudge me, to be generous in how I judge others. We are all just trying to get by.

      Like

  21. Our pets are members of the family, and their loss is felt sometimes worse than that of the human kind. It doesn’t make us bad people feeling more for one than the other. It takes a pet owner to know. I am so sorry for your loss Nancy.

    Like

    • Thanks. I remember one particular cat I loved (I have to say after all these years that he was always my special favorite) – Casper died 3 days after 9/11, and I remember feeling that it was not right to grieve for him – with so much sadness and horror in the world. I didn’t even tell many of my friends that my cat died… it seemed so inappropriate. But the poor guy – I loved him so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved cat! And you are absolutely right, people feel things differently and react to things differently, and have no right to judge. We all get to be ourselves, and we all get to grieve the way we want to. Sometimes people even use their grief to write an excellent and poignant reminder of that….thank you for this post!

    Like

    • Thank you so much. Writing this piece did help.

      Like

  23. Reading this piece was a process.

    1. I read the very beginning and thought it was going to be about the need for counseling and about how hard life is, and blah blah blah. So, I thought I’d come to tell you…
    2. Oh, wait… that’s exactly what I came here to tell you – that people cope differently, their “pain” thresholds differ, etc. I see, you already know this. Now, I’m intrigued.
    3. By the end, something moist started welling up in my eyes. It hit home. So simple, but so beautiful.
    4. A surprising ending. We form such strong bonds with our furry companions… So sorry for your loss…

    Like

    • If I took your thoughts on a journey that surprised you, then I did my job as a writer. If I moved you, then I did my job as a human being. Thank you for your kind and interesting comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. So sorry Nancy. Peace be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. We all cope in different ways, when we experience loss it can shake our foundations and cut to the core or we can shake it off and say such is life and some fall apart completely and never recover which is not good, that all said I am sorry to hear of your loss.

    Like

    • We all do the best we can to survive our sorrow. There is no right way.

      Like

  26. Oh, Nancy, I’m so sorry you had to say good bye to your furry little family member. Stewart probably comforted you through lots of life moments like this. Keep doing whatever you have to, to be “fine”.

    Like

    • Thanks. And yes, he was a sweet and affectionate little cat.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Oh no. Sweet Stewart. Lucky boy to have lived with you for 15 years. Lucky you to have had him. Know that he’s fine. And that he will always love you as you will always love him. I’m so sorry.

    Like

  28. I also have an aged kitty named Rocky. I can’t imagine losing him. They’re such wonderful companions. So sorry for your loss, Nancy.

    Like

  29. Donna W.

    Nancy, I’m very sorry to read that you and Tom have lost your much loved, Stewart. I remember so many stories you told me about him; and how your eyes sparkled in the telling! I saved a card you gave me back in 2004 when I had to say goodbye to one of my precious cats. I send these words back to you and Tom today: “Condolences for your loss. May you find comfort in knowing that God takes each cat gently into His arms and places them on the lap of an angel.” Love, Donna

    Like

  30. No you’re not, and yes you are. Our world is always one of contradictions. I’m sorry for your kitty loss. They are often our best friends.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: