Making amends before a ride into the sunset

A good friend took me to the woodshed the other day for a Come to Jesus meeting about a nasty tone in too many recent articles and an increasing tendency to let the roller-coaster events that have shaped my life over the last few months affect my writing.

Her pointed comments were long overdue and came in sharp contrast to others who have simply met my anger with more anger, which led to pointless confrontations where emotion replaced reason and hyperbole substituted for rational thought.

“Something is eating away at you,” she said. “Confront it, before it consumes you.”

She’s right, of course, as good friends so often are. Something is chipping away at the core of my being, turning my writings into off the mark rants, my reasoning into angry outbursts and unleashing my always volatile emotions on those who deserve far better.

At the core is my seriously-ill mother, whose long-term health care has dominated my life in recent years.  She is dying and there is nothing I can to do ease her pain, her suffering and her unhappiness. I feel as though I have failed her because I can no longer provide the level of care she needs in her final days and must depend on others to do what I cannot.

I also have failed Amy, my loving wife, injured more than a year ago in a work-related accident that has destroyed her mobility and well-being at the hands of a uncaring company that avoids responsibility for her injuries and a system that denies her the care and treatment she both needs and deserves.  I have not been there for her as often as she needs because I have been too preoccupied with my mother’s care and needs.

A third person, very dear and very special, is suffering simply from knowledge of my existence.  I cannot, and will not, go into detail.  Chalk it up to another failure on my part, another testament to my ability to bring pain into the lives of others.

I do not offer these as excuses for my behavior or as a crutch to support my failures.  They are personal matters that, like so much else, I could have handled better.

In the past few months, I have used this web site to vent my frustration, my anger and my out-of-control emotions on others.  That was wrong and a cause of tremendous personal shame.  I have lashed out at others who deserved better.

Anger is a cancer that rots a person from the inside.  As a recovering alcoholic who took his last drink 18 years, two months and 18 days ago at this writing, I have dealt with anger issues and the need to control my rages for nearly two decades.  Sometimes, I succeed.  Too often, I fail.

Also, as a recovering alcoholic, I know the need to make a list of those I have wronged and the even greater need to make amends for those wrongs.

Some, in recent weeks, have come under fire simply because of an misplaced need to vent at a nearby target.  To those who have felt wronged by me or the language used on this web site, I offer a sincere, and heartfelt, apology.

I apologize to members of the Floyd County Volunteer Fire Department, whose unselfish willingness to put the protection of others above their own safety.  The articles that were unfair to the fire department have been removed from this web site.

I apologize to State Trooper Tony Mackian.  My poor attempt at humor about his reputation as a one-man ticket writing machine came across poorly.  He was gracious enough to tell Amy that he holds no grudges and did not take the article personally but I could have written the piece with more care and consideration.

And I apologize to each of those involved in “House of Good and Evil,” the film that will be shot in Floyd County in September.  They are a hard-working crew who face incredible odds to put together a film on a limited budget but with the help of a lot of good people here in the county.  My apologies to writer/producer Blu de Goyler, his wife Sue Whalen de Goyler and her parents, Floyd County’s Bill and Ginny Gardner.  They didn’t deserve the tone of two articles that I wrote about the film and those articles have been removed from Blue Ridge Muse.  Blu was gracious enough to accept my apology and offer his prayers for my mother.

A fundraiser is planned in September 15 at Chantilly Farm for the Floyd Humane Society and actress Tippi Hedren‘s Shambala Preserve.  Ms. Hedren is appearing in “House of Good Evil” and other members of the cast and crew will be present.  Tickets for the event, which beings at 6 p.m., are available at the Floyd County Chamber of Commerce office at The Village Green.

We urge everyone who can to attend this event and contribute to the worthwhile causes.  Amy and I will be purchasing tickets but will give those tickets to others to enjoy the event.  I do not wish to spoil the evening for those who might be disturbed by my presence.

Finally, an apology to the readers of Blue Ridge Muse.  You deserved better than what I have produced in recent weeks and months.

I’m going to take a break from writing articles, opinions and observations on this web site for a while, at least until I can bring some order to the chaos surrounding my life.  We will continue to report news of upcoming events and I will let let my visuals — photos and videos — speak for me.  Perhaps they can project the beauty around us that I have overlooked.

I will continue to shoot photos and produce news articles for The Floyd Press.  They have editors to keep me in check.

Thank you for reading and for caring.  A special thanks to those friends who took the time and care to offer counsel, advice and concern without rancor, anger or accusations. You are true friends and I could not face this without you.

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5 thoughts on “Making amends before a ride into the sunset”

  1. Doug, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re human and your friends know the incredible emotional burden you’ve been carrying with your mother’s and wife’s health issues. Take all the time you need. You are an asset to the community and your friends are here to help you. Please let them in.

  2. It is clear that you care about Floyd County and are a talented contributor to the community. Really enjoy your photos.

    Condolences on the loss of your mother. She appears to have enjoyed life greatly when she had the chance. Peace, and good humor!

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