It Will Be Dead By Morning

But it wasn’t.

My stepdaughter called us late one evening with a sad story about a baby squirrel. She called her dad and I could only hear his half of the conversation.

Awww, how cute. Awww, how sad. No. No. No.

No to ‘will you take it?’

No to ‘can you save it?’

No to ‘can I bring it over?’

His last words were, “Do not bring that animal to our house.”

I had been able to squeeze in a question or two during this conversation and learned that the kids she worked with at the pool had found a baby squirrel. A little one that had been crying all day under the dumpster in the parking lot at the country club. They were trying to feed it and save it and would we help.

I told him to go ahead and let her bring it to us. My logic said by the time we were able to tend to it it will have been away from its mom for more than 24 hours and there is no way it will still be alive. My logic said it will be dead by morning, so we will not really be taking on the care of a baby squirrel. My logic said  we would only be taking on the burial of a baby squirrel.  We took it and I fully believed my logic would become fact.

It was not dead the next morning. So I got on the web and googled many, many, many questions about how to save a baby squirrel. Then I went about saving him. This is the story of Sheldon the squirrel and how I saved him and at the same time, how he saved me. This is the story of how I prayed to God for something to fix my sadness and how God answered, with a squirrel. It’s going to take a while. Get some coffee.

I realize now, looking back, that when Sheldon came to me I had not been in a good place for way too long. With the deep, deep sadness comes apathy. I didn’t care, actually, I couldn’t care, about anything. I’d nap a lot, sit on my computer, eat unhealthy foods, decline invitations, neglect housework, have no desire to cook. The effort involved in just trying to make the decision about what to cook was too much for me. I don’t think Bob understood that when I asked “What would you like for dinner?” I was actually asking because I couldn’t make the decision.

So his answer of “Honey, everything you make is so delicious, I don’t care what you make.” was meant to be a compliment. He really is that good to me. It could be taken as flippant but he means it from the heart and my head knows this. A depressed brain on the other hand treats words like a kaleidoscope treats glass. What goes in looks one way, what comes out, how it is interpreted, is not anything like the original.

My reaction to his response is totally irrational.  I feel like I have just asked for help and he is refusing to help. So screw it, I’m not cooking, you can have whatever you want, I am eating ice cream. And I do. For dinner. For more nights than I care to admit.

It gets worse, this kaleidoscope thing. Later in the week I decide to cook. I can cook, I make good stuff. I make a meal and  my sweet husband says how delicious everything is and the depression kaleidoscope turns it into a passive aggressive move. My brain convinces me that what he is really saying is, “It’s about time you actually took care of me, acted like a wife, stepped up to your end of our partnership and cooked a meal.” And I decide that is absolutely the last straw, I don’t need his attitude and don’t cook for the next eight days.

The only thing that made me happy  then and in the days to come was that squirrel. The only thing that I was able to do consistently was take care of that squirrel. The only thing that made me smile, gave me hope, made me feel worthwhile was that squirrel.

This is a long story. I can’t write it all out in one day. Please come back and read on tomorrow.