Friday, February 1, 2013

An Apology to All Who have Helped Me (I've had an Oprah moment)

Photo by Miss Miniature Rhino. My dear, loving friend!

"Can I have a room that faces the cemetery?" As soon as I said it I realized how weird it sounded. The guy checking in next to me whispered to the woman checking in him, "What a view."

I drew back the blinds and could see a big portion of the cemetery. Tonight's plan could work– I set up a Facebook invite to try to get everyone I knew to stake out the areas she'd be spotted in the past. I would stay in one spot, ready for a sighting and then would run over and coax Myrtle into my arms.

But it was a Friday night and the temperature had dropped dramatically. Long, hard work weeks had taken their toll on my Find Myrtle army and one by one they called, texted, emailed to say they just couldn't make it tonight.

I sat there and felt as sorry for myself as I had ever felt. I felt helpless, alone. I was mad at myself for never getting my driver's license, something I've always wanted to do, but just never made happen. I felt disappointed. I was angry at myself. I was angry at the world for expecting me to go through this alone. And then I was angry at myself for not being the fiercely independent person I always prided myself on.

I retold this moment to my therapist who responded, "So no one helped you this weekend?"

"Some old friends did come out and help me Friday night. They rented a car and took me out for a bit. And on Saturday, in the afternoon, some other people came out to help."

She pointed out the way I had told this story and I felt ashamed. These friends – and some of them nearly strangers – had come out to help and I left them out of the story completely.

I immediately thought of a moment from Saturday. A guy came out to help, someone who does good work and spends his time very thoughtfully. Together we walked in the cold, checking the traps I put out to try to catch Myrtle. He went to a butcher and asked for the best meat for bait and brought it with him.

"I wish I had a brother. So I could make him check these traps with me all the time."

Wanting so badly to have a partner, a brother, a best friend, my mom with me every day, is not a terrible thought. His presence there just made me want some kind of constant, protector like companion in this search. However, he was right there, helping me, and I was oblivious to exactly how fortunate I was in that moment.

Do you know when you learn something about yourself and that moment just feels like it's going to change everything? It feels like there was a door right there in this room the whole time, and you've never opened it.

Oh what a sad, sad, story I was telling myself in this room. The truth, the real truth – when you take away all the layers of my very human, but very selfish inner monologue, is that I am incredibly lucky to have so many people, all different kinds of people, some friends, some complete strangers, helping me. And how incredible is it that so many people who I've met once, or never met, would take time out of their own lives, their own responsibilities, away from their own friends and families, to help me.

We are all trying to find or fix something – whether it's ourselves, our family, a cause – how absolutely generous so many have been to lend me their compassion, their time, their care and support. I see now that, I have the support of a team of big hearted, animal loving, compassionate creatures. A motley crew of gift horses.

I apologize to this crew, my Find Myrtle army, for saying "thank you" but not truly being present to thank you with my whole heart. I didn't fulling understand how lucky I was to not be in this alone. Yes, I'm alone, as many of us are in this big city, but look at all the people I have thinking about me and Myrtle, taking time to help me, donating to the Find Myrtle fund, checking in from all over the world to wish me luck. If I didn't have this, I would not be able to still be out there looking for my girl, I know that with my whole heart now.

And how crazy fortunate is it that there is a cheap hotel with a window that overlooks the cemetery my Myrtle is hiding out in. I'll take the room with the cemetery view, yes please and thank you!