Some thoughts, on emotional retrograde.
Our tuxedo cat Jazz got diagnosed as diabetic this week. I didn’t know this until she had to begin taking laxatone for her hairballs, and it sent her blood sugar levels through the roof. She’s been sluggish and losing weight. We put her on a high-fat food, and that gave her stomach gas, so we picked up the laxatone to stop her hurling up spit. That’s when the sluggishness got worse, and she wasn’t gaining weight. The doctor tested her and got her on an insulin treatment. The worst part of this entire affair was watching my youngest break down because she thought Jazz had kidney failure, or something fatal. Jazzy-chan has been Mag’s buddy throughout their teen years. All the headaches, ups and downs, and the frustrations of being a trans teen in Texas was made bearable by the presence of Jazz. A pure agony aunt in every sense of the word. The thought of having to euthanize her, and then cremate her, tore Mag apart.
I did the best I could, holding them while they cried, but emotional support is my Vietnam.
I didn’t grow up acting on my emotions, nor was I exposed to physical expressions of any kind that didn’t involve violence. The sheer act of affection at will remains difficult. Yes, I had to learn it. Raising my kids, I made a concentrated effort (thanks in part to therapy) to learn the motions of being a loving person. I refuse to let my children grow up like me. Ian and Mag are raised, and I’m woefully out of practice in the ‘display your love’ routine.
I love my kids, and my spouse, but for me, physical contact was when you got in trouble, and if you were lucky you got a brief hug if going somewhere–or you were presented with something at a party, and people were watching. Most folks take for granted things like hugging, kissing, and saying I love you. These things were in my life when someone was dying, or going to prison. Physical displays of caring, love, and affection were an undiscovered country for me upon leaving home.
As my youngest was melting down, and I was hugging and rubbing the back and saying the words they needed to hear, I felt so incredibly out of place. I cannot return to the physically incapable construct I was when I first left home.