Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Emperor's New Clothes



Ignorance is bliss. Is that true? I think denial is a kind of bliss, too, or maybe it's more accurate to say that denial is a form of shock, a type of emotional cushioning to keep the "truth" at bay.

Dr. Granville Moore's used to be my favorite restaurant, and even though the last few times I've been there, it hasn't been as good, I wanted it to still be my favorite. Friday night the denial broke: my dinner was just mediocre and so was my friend's, the service was less than perfect. Dang, man ... Dr. Granville Moore's is no longer a great restaurant. It's no longer my favorite. How sad. Now what's my favorite restaurant?

I remember the day I realized I was actually aging. This might sound weird, but I didn't see it in the mirror, even as my hair turned gray and my body changed right in front of my eyes. I still believed I looked the same as when I was 35, I really did ... well ... until I saw an old video of myself made when I was 35. The truth rushed in all at once. Whoa ... what a bummer.

Apparently Jake was very ill for at least three or four months prior to his final demise. I thought he was just old, but people are all of a sudden telling me that they could see how sick he was. When I described his final symptoms (from his last week) to a friend who is a vet (on the west coast), she said he might have had brain cancer which is why he stopped caring about everything, and that the final symptoms may have been the beginning of a hemorrage that could have been quite terrible if I hadn't decided to take him out. So his death was well timed after all. That's a relief, if a sad relief.

It might be true that ignorance is bliss, because truth is really somber sometimes. Is is always somber? You tell me.

25 comments:

PurestGreen said...

I think the trick is to try to maintain an element of child-like naivity, even as reality clicks through your mind like teeth in a bike chain. To still smile without expectation, over and over again.

Jane said...

Even when truth is somber, it might open a door or flip a switch or reveal a pathway. I try to face it with open eyes and heart, because you just never know...

ellen abbott said...

I think ignorance is bliss but only if you stay ignorant. Discovering what a fool you have been is no fun, believe you me. Accepting reality may not be so much fun sometimes but it's certainly not as painful. I like PurestGreen's idea/attitude.

You may have been ignorant about Jake's health but your intuition told you what was the right thing to do and you listened. I have not always listened to my intuition in the past and it made for some very unhappy moments when the truth finally exerted itself. Good for you.

The Bug said...

My intuition and I are but nodding acquaintances - after the fact I'll think, "oh! that's what that feeling was about - next time I'll listen." But I'm a slow learner, sigh...

Because of that, I agree with Ellen - I like to know the real, whole truth as soon as possible, so I don't do something dumb!

steven said...

hi reya, that's a beautiful image of the pointy turrets and the soft fishrib clouds.
i have found getting older - you know, where you realize you're getting older - has been a gradual process characterized by echoes of my dad's own acknowledgement of his getting older. he'd tell me the physical and emotional feelings as he experienced them. but there's been a parallel growing of my inner self, a coming together of the skitter scatter that i really like. so even as my body is noticeably different to me - and my own children and other people's children who i teach give me their own take on the visual waystations of my body's decline, i hope that they benefit from the goodness that is emerging! i bet you can say much the same reya!!!

Meri said...

Truth just is. We characterize it one way or another.

willow said...

You're such an intuitive person, Reya, I can't believe you are ignorant very often. Keeping your head in the ground like an ostrich and refusing to embrace the world around you is a totally different scenario.

Peaches said...

I think everything starts with a bit of innocence/ ignorance. First there is ignorance, then hindsight. Sometimes the space between the two is mere seconds, other times it is years, or a life time.

Age...is like a oak tree, it gets more complex, beautiful, and majestic with the passing of years. But, were it bowed, supple in the wind in it's youth, it now creaks.

Al In The County said...

What we decide to do with the truth is what I believe makes a difference. One of the things I do regularly when I hit one of these truth walls, though, is write a gratitude list, to remind me of what is right when it seems that things are wrong.

I absolutely love your blog, by the way. The pictures are fantastic and your writing is very strong. Great job.

Elizabeth said...

Poor Jake.
Yes, I think we have our animals hang on a little longer than they need to because we need them to.
Except we can't hep it because we think, against all evidence to the contrary, that they will somehow be rejuvenated........just like us.......hah!

Tom said...

Reya; i always thought animal people were just a little bit nuts for fussing over their dogs/cats like they were children! Heavens! I have 3 kids of my own, and to compare them to animals? Since Toby came along I am starting to see what all the fuss is about. You held on as long as you needed to, and you let go when it was time...for you and Jake. That is the truth. The learning just never seems to end...does it?

Rain said...

I think some truths can be somber, but they are also quite freeing. I recently was very truthful with somebody and it's like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Her ignorance may have been bliss, but it was making me somber...case by case!

California Girl said...

You are still being a bit hard on yourself I think. You did the best you could when you could for Jake no matter the timing. It's very difficult if not impossible to know when the "right time" is.

As for the aging thing...oi vey, who wants to recognize they no longer look like they did in their thirties? I think I peaked in my thirties and I mourn the loss of that "other" me. I am hard on myself too. I still look in the mirror and see a young me even though photographs deny it.

Perhaps we're supposed to see the world through rose colored glasses, otherwise we might not be able to get up in the morning.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

The title of your post speaks volumes, to so many of us obiviously. The three cats I have had to make that difficult decision to euthanise, even with my training and experience, probably stayed with me a little too long, even though I follow the "when out of 7 days there are 3 bad days and 4 good days, it's time and don't wait until there are 4 bad days and only 3 good days". But as your friends say, it was not ignorance to wish for a little more bliss.

It is disappointing when a favorite anything disappoints, restaurants especially. I still have my 2 favorites that I always take visitors to, Arties in Fairfax and Jaleo (the 1st one) in DC. I dream about their tapas, honestly.

lakeviewer said...

We trick ourselves all the time; mind over body, believing in the dream, all concepts that help us stay in control and at peace with our lives. We do a lot of thinking, don't we?

spottedwolf said...

I think when we place too much emphasis on any given instant...moment...hour...day...etc, etc ,etc.............life becomes overly mundane. Its like looking for Jesus or Buddha or any heroic icon to be something beyond 'word'....beyond 'sound'...beyond 'expressed' in the final beauty of transience. Expecting more than we're given is ... I believe ...what the Hebrews saw as 'idolatry'. The only way to steer clear of the trap of illusion...is by the acceptance that all revolves in circles....that all life must come and go according to a greater context than I...as though we are 'legends' born of 'legends'...not for stasis...but just for the beauty of experience...and though you may age.....your pretty damned foxy from what I see. ;-p

Reya Mellicker said...

The people who read this blog continually blow my mind. Wow, thank you.

Jane my beloved sister you are so wise! And Ellen - YES, ignorance is bliss until you wise up. Oh god, that is SO true.

And all the rest of you, wow. Tom I didn't know you had kids.

Spotted wolf ... you said

Expecting more than we're given is ... I believe ...what the Hebrews saw as 'idolatry'.

Wow. For the first time ever I understand idolatry, and believ me I've asked and thought about it. Amazing thoughts here.

THANK YOU!

Starry Night said...

Don't get too down on truth. It can be inspiring and comforting. Truth is roses bloom, tomatoes ripen, and stars shine.So, chin up!

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Starry Night - you are absolutely right!

Ronda Laveen said...

In the case of Jake and Reya, I don't see any denial or ignorance. You may not have known EXACTLY what was wrong with him but you trusted your instincts and timing of doing what was needed. And here you have validation that you were there for the highest purpose and best good for your beloved pet.

All is as it should be. So...what is your favorite NEW restaurant.

Nancy said...

Not always. But how nice to have your decision validated by another vet. You knew, in your heart, you were doing the right thing, but it's always nice to have someone else agree, that understands the situation.

As for aging and still seeing the same person - it's because our mind never ages. Can you imagine feeling the same way at extreme old age? I try to keep that in mind when interacting with my mother-in-law, who is 96.

hele said...

i suspect truth is a 360 degree experience. somber, mysterious, ridiculous, light as a feather.

i am undergoing a sangoma initiation this coming weekend. since i found ot my mind cycles through these experiences so fast i feel like nothingness most often.

what i'm hoping for is to spin so fast that i shoot out of the top of this spiral and into another :)

karen said...

I love today's pic of beautiful Jake!! and the bottom photo keeps on drawing me back to it, for some reason... Interesting post, and a theme close to my heart lately! x

Merle Sneed said...

Reya, not to be too trivial here, but things happen when they happen. I think the right time for Jake was when you both were ready.

Could a month earlier spared you both? Maybe, but you weren't ready.

Barbara Martin said...

Reya, not to concern yourself over your choice as you made a correct choice with Jake. You cannot go on in life second guessing yourself over what to do or what you should have done. Take deep breaths, move forward and the divine will assist you in whatever you choose to do.