Ever since Eunice fled Montgomery the night of the mass shooting, Sam had been on an excruciatingly emotional seesaw. The police said the case was under FBI jurisdiction, so information would only be forthcoming, if it didn’t affect any related cases. Grief counselors were assigned to those who wanted them and that was all.
“You don’t really understand things like, cancer treatment, learning to walk again or having a loved one go missing. Mr. Hood do you have anyone you can talk to?” Sam’s first counselor had asked.
Sam was blank. He had to do something. He didn’t want to hear, I’m sorry for your loss, or, I can only imagine how painful this must be for you, for the rest of his life.
According to the nightly news someone went missing every day; young, old, rich or poor. They rarely reported the person ever turning up alive again. Loved ones were left on their own, obsessing over updates from authorities or signs from heaven. Sam had given up hope.
Sam was alone and without closure his challenge was living with longing, anger and guilt over the ambiguity of losing her. He still expected her to walk in the door any day.
He sought help from the only person he could think of Dr. Lynch.
“My first certification was in grief counseling,” Lynch said. He was hell-bent on running Sam through the levels of grief. He held up an image of colored circles with the words denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance written on them.
“I don’t get it. That’s a lot of bubbles,” Sam said, somewhat frustrated with Lynch, for expecting his pain to go away with a model.
“Dr. Lynch, have you ever lost someone like this? Until it happens I don’t think you can know what it’s like. No one tells you it hits you all at once,” Sam said.
“I know Sam. Keep working at it okay?” Lynch’s expression was sincere. “The science behind the model is not to remove the pain but to help you move through obstacles over time and accept then what is.”
“I’m primarily angry all the time. Then thinking of Eunice, breaks me into tears, so I get frustrated that I have no control over the anger,” Sam said, remembering how he broke down and threw her clothes all over the bedroom.
Montgomery had grieved publically over the deaths with memorial ceremonies and time faded people’s memories but not his. He believed Eunice was alive since evidence suggested her escape was by her own initiative.
People around him didn’t understand why his grief took so long and presumed he was over it. When a person doesn’t move on, people steer clear. He couldn’t relay how he felt to anyone so didn’t talk about it.
“Dr. Lynch, I resent the fact nothing more can be done by the FBI,” Sam said.
“You said yourself, they won’t provide updates due to confidentiality. In all likelihood they are working on it. The case is still open, right?” Lynch asked.
“Yes,” Sam said.
“So logically, you know it’s out of your control. Let’s keep practicing the letting go piece. Are you still exercising?” he asked.
“Not really. I try to focus on my work at the school. I’m grateful for your suggestions. I guess your help is better than no help,” Sam said, picking up the page of colored circles. “I think I’m in anger now. Not knowing where she is. I’m angry because not knowing is worse than if she had died,” he said.
“Good. Admitting the emotion is progress. Keep that in mind. Tomorrow is a new day. Do you pray Sam?” Dr. Lynch asked.
“Naw. Well I talk to Frank,” he said. Sam would have lost his grip if he didn’t have his imaginary friend. Frank, I know she is alive, please protect her from suffering, being homeless or wandering the streets.
That night before bed, he pulled out a story he wrote about his hot and cold romance, with Eunice called Cat and Dog.
A cat is a creature who doesn’t need anyone, doesn’t show affection or loving kindness. Unlike a dog who runs goofily chasing anything that seems delicious, a cat prefers the safety of pride and arrogance, even though she is starving. The cat instead, tends to watch and judge the comings and goings of everyone else; dogs, raccoons and birds, reveling in snide remarks on their amusing creature habits.
If a dog is around, he is usually dying to be pals with the cat, until his nose has been bat and receives at least one scratch from her sharp claw. He is the underdog.
Mostly, the cat doesn’t accept the love-greedy dog for what he is. Instead, the cat looks for the dogs faults, formulates material for stand-up routines to entertain like-minded felines or for no one in particular, since the cat is often a solo artist.
Over time, the silly dog gets exhausted trying to please the cat. Every dog has his day! When there is no room left in his heart, he snaps! He is the one to push the cat away, even at the risk of appearing intimidating or aggressive. Sometimes the cat is the absolute worst thing for the dog’s self-esteem!
“I don’t understand. What is this?” the dog asks.
“You hit all my annoyance triggers,” the cat says.
“You are never there for me,” he says.
“I can’t help it if you cannot accept my feline ways” she says, completely bored.
“Why don’t I let you go?” the dog asks himself, “It’s not cute anymore. The fun of the chase is gone. I don’t have capacity to take care of you with nothing in return,” but the dog will be long dead before he utters those words allowed, for it is in-his-nature to give love.
The dog is sad.
When the cat is alone, she wonders why she never has any loving kindness to spare. She never thinks of the answer because it has never existed for her. No harm no foul!
“It makes me so sad!” the cat says to herself, alone. Why does she have to accept the dog BUT the he doesn’t accept her?