We All Miss Her

A time has passed since Sweet Lucy Lou went from her heaven on Earth to that Rainbow Bridge in the sky, where she awaits her family in due time.  I haven’t written about it or even posted a short excerpt on Facebook because this feels like such a huge loss, and I didn’t want to trivialize it, and I didn’t want a bunch of FB “friends” extending their condolences that I didn’t feel up to accepting gracefully.

Truth be told, Lucy was my mom’s first standard poodle and she rescued her almost 11 years ago.  I grew up with Lucy, but she came to live with me about three years ago, when it was deemed that my flat house with no stairs would be better for her ailing hips and back.  LarBear and I have loved her to the moon and back and poured everything we have into making her happy over the latter years of her life,  And Lucy and Kizzie, they were quite a pair, always keeping each other company, keeping each other entertained, loving each other.

But as we all know, dogs generally have shorter lives than those of their humans.  Lucy actually lived about two to three years longer than she may have, and I would like to think it was because she was so well loved.  I remember clearly my last moments with Lucy, and the blessing my mother gave me when she took Lucy from my home so that they could visit the vet and Lucy could be pain-free and happy forever.  I never could have dealt with that and my mom knew that, and besides that, Lucy was her love, too.

I have been sad awhile now, not all to be put down on the loss of Lucy, and I have actually been quite in denial, just letting it smack me upside the head at the most inopportune times.  Like today.  Today was Kizie’s first car trip since Lucy left.  She hasn’t stopped looking for Lucy or keeping Larry and I in her signt since Lucy left, and that all came to a head today.  We drove her to the vet for an allergy shot, and she uncharacteristically whined the whole way and paced the seats.  Nothing would calm her.

After her shot, LarBear dropped me at the urgent care clinic to get a prescription for a sinus infection, among other things, and he said that she cried and cried when I got out out of the car and was cocmpletely inconsolable and stuck right to his heels the time he was home.  When I came home from the doctor’s office, Kizzie was just so happy to see me.  She turned into the puppy that I only see so often, and it was clear that she thought, too, that I had left her like Lucy.

And so it goes like this, and I am all heartbroken again.  Lucy was a good dog, the best kind of dog, with a sweet smile and a wagging tail always and the best disposition.  And she really loved popcorn.  And cheese.  I sit here typing this with Kizie at my feet, LarBear by my side, and I miss her.  I miss her and so does everyone else.  The only thing giving me peace is that she is waiting for us and is in pain no longer.

Rest in Peace Lucy Lou.  There is still a whole lot of love for you here in this world.

 

 

Dear Gramps

I have read of such loss lately, Gramps, and just like it always does, any loss (whether it’s mine or my family’s or the guy down the road or my good friend losing her dog or a tragic ending in a book) reminds me of the late August night, almost 12 years ago, when Big Dawg came and picked me up in a raging thunderstorm to go see you one last time.

I remember I was on a low-carb diet at the time, and I had just started eating dinner — flank steak and broccoli and salad.  I still can’t use that particular seasoning rub to this day, without nearly breaking down in my kitchen.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but whatever was said, I had hopes in my head that I was going to get to talk to you again and hear your scratchy and gruff voice say my name, Rosie.

It didn’t turn out that way.  You were wrapped in a white sheet from head to toe and on a gurney and I touched your chest and put my face close to yours and my whole world exploded and, while I don’t remember the exact details, I remember hearing a howling noise and then realizing that noise was me and shutting my eyes tight and saying something about how I had just seen you a few days before and you had been FINE.  FINE, DAMMIT.

I turned back around because I wanted to kiss your cheek before they took you away, but I was in a big empty room, just me and QoB and BD and some nursing staff.  I couldn’t tolerate that I had ruined my chance to say goodbye to you by getting overly emotional.  Whoever thought it was a good idea to wheel you off at that point was obviously a person that did not know me deeply.

The next week was a blur.  I tried to go into work, failed miserably.  Everyone around me was a complete wreck.  I can remember going through pictures to put up at the memorial service and I remember breaking down into tears time and time again.  Hysterical tears, hot tears, fast-moving, and unforgiving tears.

I still don’t remember much of that time, but I do know that I think of you all the time.  The wounds have healed over some, but I still have regret.  That I didn’t see you often enough or say thank you enough or stop by with a box of Cheez-its (our special favorite) just to say hi.  It was so hard being around Grandma, I just wanted my Grandpa back, the one who gardened on his knees for hours on end, even when he could barely walk, and the Grandpa that taught me how to drive by having me take back-roads from Topeka to Silver Lake at every opportunity.

The grandpa after the apartment with Sparky was sad, when he had to live with grandma again, when he didn’t feel as good physically, when PTSD from his time in the Navy rattled him as it never had before, when he couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk, couldn’t do whatever the hell it was he wanted to do.  Because he was like that, he was a man who did whatever he pleased.  If he wanted to whip up a bunch of refrigerator pickles, then he was going to do it, and if he felt like taking a drive or going to all of your basketball games (even though he could barely walk), then that is what he was going to do.

I find that every year that passes, I lose more of my memories of him.  Some are extremely fresh in my mind, some not so much.  In a day or maybe a week where there has been so much loss, the pang to my heart from Grandpa being gone is next-to-unbearable.  Should I be over this MUCH better 12 years down the road, yes.  I don’t need anyone to tell me that.  Some things are really hard, and this is one of those really hard things.  Every loss reminds me of him, and everytime I think of him, I am frightened by how much I don’t remember.

I hope you are proud of me, Grandpa, up on that big pontoon boat in the sky, and I am pretty sure you are.  Sometimes when I don’t feel like being tough, I think about your life and it gives me strength.  I hope you would be happy for me, too.  I have found love and love conquers all, and I know that you knew that.  It is still a month and several days until the anniversary of your death, but I wanted to be the first one to say how I miss you so, and how I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the love you poured into me when you were here.  I know you weren’t into religion or going to church, but I do believe that you and Sparky (and Mom’s childhood dogs) are out there somewhere, catching crappie after crappie, and moving around with the legs and back of a 16-year-old.

Always, Forever, Amen.  I love you.

 

 

Sanity, Apparently, Is Fleeting

Once more it’s the up and down, the crash and bang of my mood smacking into the ceiling and then hurtling down into the basement.  In a matter of hours, minutes sometimes.  Too much emotional reactivity to things that probably don’t really matter, but seem SO important in the moment.

I am telling myself that this all has to do with being sick and isolated and off my game and away from work.  Because, I am NOT going to the hospital again, not now.  Someone, perhaps my therapist or maybe my sister, told me that extended illness could really mess with your mood.  Well, here is living proof.

Like a fool, I have been dredging up these memories of DSB.  You see, he was an ass, but I DO have some good memories of our time together.  And with those memories at the forefront, it’s hard to keep in mind all of the negative.  And it makes me think — where did our love go wrong?  Was it me and all my craziness?  Did I need too much, ask for too much?  Did he love me the most he possibly could and it just wasn’t enough?  Was he just that limited?  But more importantly — I think it was my fault.  It could have been, right?  I could  have made it work if I CHANGED him more.  How ridiculous, right?  Sadness will do that to you, make you think that way.

You see, I’m calling this sadness, and not depression, because the two are entirely different.  I’m still functioning — I just feel really crappy off and on.  I had a very nice evening yesterday with Mom and the Big Dawg.  I even ate some real food — steak and a baked potato.  It doesn’t get more real than that, right?  That should make me HAPPY, right?  It did, for a little while.

And then I got home and it was just me and the pup and I started to think about how excited Rascal would always be when you came home and how DSB was always, always waiting in the office with some trashy TV on to hear how it all went.  There isn’t anyone to tell how it all went when I get home now.  There isn’t anyone to kiss me goodnight or to nag at me to take meds or encourage me to get to bed.  The last voice I hear of the day now is Mom’s, or Dad’s, several hours before I go to bed, and while I know they love me dearly, it’s just not the same.

I got up in the middle of the night last night, and have on several other nights here lately, and was surprised that the light wasn’t on in the office.  Like I expected him to be there.  Why would I expect that or even want that?  I think this must be all  part of the grieving process, that I can’t believe I’m STILL going through.  If I look at it, though, it’s only been a little over two months that he’s been gone.

So is this normal?  Is this grief for DSB and a longing for someone to just be there?  Or is this madness brought on by all the medical problems I’ve had the last six weeks, not including the mental health issues toward the first part of that?  Maybe it’s both.  Whatever it is, I hate it.  Fucking hate it.  Half the time I feel like I’ve got it together and the other half I’m just falling apart.

It’s As if You’d Died

I just tried calling DSB, on the last number I have for him.  It went straight to voicemail.  I don’t know what I would have said, had he answered.  I probably would have just continued crying, as I have been for the past hour.  I know I haven’t been great about responding to comments in a timely fashion, but everyone keeps talking about grieving and grief.  I guess it is now sinking in that this is what I am left with — grief.  And I have to find my way through it.

I feel like, for the moment, I am over being angry and celebratory over our break-up.  Now I just feel sad.  The way it feels now, its as if DSB had died and I am left with the emotional and physical wreckage, and I can’t see or talk to him anymore.  Those are all true things, about the wreckage, about not being able to see or talk to him.  But he didn’t die; at least not in a physical sense.

Which is strange, because I have been preparing for him to die for the last six months.  He has just been so sickly and has had some close calls and I spent many nights waking up to check if he was still breathing.  I spent the last six months thinking I could lose him in a split second to another blood clot or from not being able to breathe due to the pneumonia or a septic infection in  his wound vac.  I have been preparing myself, anticipating his physical death.

So why isn’t it easier on me?  If I had been so sure that he was going to pass away from physical reasons, and be gone, then why is it so hard that he is alive and gone?  I made him go.  So that should make it easier.  For some reason, it doesn’t.

I find myself lacking closure.  Everywhere I look, there is a piece of him.  A necklace he gave me, our matching recliners, the entire office in general, TV shows we watched together, sitting at the dining room table having coffee.  It’s just too much.  There is too  much of him in this house and it makes me feel terrible.  It gets worse when I sit outside and think of all the times we hung out in the backyard with the dogs, when we very first got together, and grilled every night and sat back and bullshitted until past the time the sun went down.

I also find myself avoiding any meals or foods that he generally liked or wanted to have around.  This is the longest I’ve gone in two years without eating biscuits and gravy.  Or breakfast, really, of any kind.  In the early parts, he always cooked up a big breakfast on the weekend, sometimes on the weekday if we had the stuff to do it.  He loved making breakfast, but he always made such a damn mess.

I miss the sweet things that he did for me back in the start of our relationship.  The thoughtful birthday and Christmas presents, the sweet emails or putting stuff to make me smile on my FB timeline.  I don’t know what I did to make him stop loving me the way he did in the beginning.  It’s as if, over time, I started to emanate some sort of negative energy and he just couldn’t stand to be close.

I don’t know if there was something I could have done to make him love me like he did in the beginning.  I guess I just wore him out.  He wore me out, t0o.  I think we both decided to end it at the same time.  It’s probably good we’re over, but it feels like my entire world is falling apart and I have to scurry around and pick up the broken pieces.

I Sing Because I’m Free

It will be two weeks this Wednesday that my Grandma passed.  I feel like I am still dealing with the aftermath, but things get better every day.  I went back to Mass this past Sunday and it was really helpful.  I wish I had taken RCIA this past fall, but there’s always next year.  I guess I just wasn’t ready at the time.

My buddy, Pond Princess, has loaned me her rosary and I am learning to pray it.  I find it very soothing and like the prayers I am meditating on are being heard.  I just keep praying for God to make me willing, and to help me to turn things over to Him.  In some ways, I am very willing, in other ways, very willful.  It is a daily struggle to take things as they come, without trying to orchestrate my own life.  It’s all about letting go and floating.

I have been trying all I can do to use the skills that DBT has given me.  I am staying busy, and working constantly at turning my mind from the pain.  I accomplished a lot over the weekend, and that feels good.  I am also using sacred self and trying to take care of myself.  My sleep and eating has been out of whack, but I know that will settle down if I just get back into my routine.  It’s the getting there that’s the hard part.

Prayers for Pond Princess’ mom and more for my family, as it seems we keep going through the death and dying of our loved ones.  If you don’t pray, give some thought or light a candle for us.  My family and I feel loved and blessed by all of our friends, and I know that right now we are leaning hard on all of you.

Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount, His Eyes are On the Sparrow

 

Complaints and Possible Regret

The past few weeks have been both amazing and trying.  I have found that I have much less anxiety with being in a different office than my supervisor, and she supervising me from a distance.  What is clear, however, is that she clearly feels wronged that I went to her supervisor with my concerns, and she now does not give a damn about what I do to an extent.  What is also clear is that I really need to mind my “P’s and Q’s,” because she is a vengeful person and I have no doubt that she will throw me  under the bus at any moment.

So, the anxiety is still there.  She is basically ignoring me, which I suppose is fine, but it makes for very uncomfortable exchanges between the two of us.  Or, rather, very uncomfortable when I attempt to tell her anything and she ignores me.  It doesn’t seem to matter what I say, her answer is “Ok.”  Nothing more than an “ok.”  Well whatever.  I wish I didn’t care so much, but I do.  This is painful.

To some degree, I regret going to her supervisor because it has made her swing her attitude even further against me, but at least now I have my own office and am not stuck in that hell-hole with her and my other two negative co-workers.  I trust about 1.5 people in the whole facility, and a few at Central Office.  It is difficult not to have a go-to person when I am having a problem, because I sure don’t feel like I can bring anything to my direct supervisor and she has discouraged me from contacting anyone else.  In a way it is still a very negative work experience, and I guess I should just get a thicker skin, and realize that there will be no pleasing her, no returning to the easy relationship that we once shared.  In some ways, I am grieving that loss and dealing with my own issues about wanting to please everyone.  I just don’t understand why people (myself and her included) can’t just get along.  I really don’t.

In other crap news, my Grandma died yesterday.  It hasn’t fully hit me yet, but I know it will.  Right now, I am just feeling guilty because I haven’t seen her since this past Spring, even though we live in the same town.  After my Grandpa died in 2004, it was all I could to to bring myself to visit Grandma.  I was so angry at her for such a long time and then felt nothing toward her.  No sense of obligation, no sense of love, nothing.  As QoB said last night, her death is somewhat the loss of what could-have-been.  That desire for acceptance never faded, but it seems that I lost that from her a long time ago.  Now, there is no going back and trying again.  In some ways I care about that, in some ways I don’t (at least not right at the moment).  I think what I am struggling with most right now is my complete ambivalence about her death.  It’s difficult to think that I cared so little that I don’t have an opinion or a feeling about her passing.

The Wallflowers, I Wish I Felt Nothing

 

The House That Lives

Today called for the breaking out of a new candle.  It is now lit and to my left side, along with my Sondra dragon and my favorite framed picture of my grandpa.  I feel like we need each other right now.  To add to the comfort factor, I have a cold Chelada and am cooking myself some Fordhooks.

We had a family reunion of sorts today, under the general guise of garage sale preparation.  Sondra’s sister was here from TX.  We haven’t seen her since the funerals a little over a year ago and it’s bizarre to see her in this town without Sondra here.  Dave’s wife and kids were here, too.  Gavin even came over.  It was a mixture of sad and sweet to see everyone together.  Left me with some serious memories floating through my head.

It seems like just the other day since Sondra passed.  I remember the whole week like it is in Technicolor, engraved on a stone that I must have swallowed at that time.  Living in this house, I am reminded of her every day and often it feels like she is right across the table smoking a Kool and chomping on ice.  I don’t really know how to describe it.  I think she knows I have needed someone to be there.

Karis and Annette went to the gravesites today.  I haven’t been and don’t know that I will ever.  That is not where Dave and Sondra are for me.  They’re right here in this house and I see them every day.  As for Grandpa, he’s out at the lake.  He’s also here with me in my kitchen when I’m frying eggs and eating sardines right out of the tin.

I have so many beautiful memories of growing up with those two in my life.  There have been times in my life, in times of desperation and despair, that I have asked God to wipe my memory clean from the horrible things I have seen happen.  So that I can start over and not be haunted.  Upon reflection, I realize now that this would be the worst thing that could possibly happen.

All of the memories, with Sondra, with Grandpa, with QoB and Big Dog, they can’t be replaced and I visit them often.  Even while I am making new memories with my family, the memories of growing up and coming to where I am now give me comfort.

Sure, there are things in my life that I wish I would forget, but if it meant that I were to lose one of those positive and heart-strengthening memories, I’ll deal with the bad ones.

I wish I had given my mom a big hug and kiss when she left today.  I wish I could be more patient with how hard this is for everyone else, not just how it affects me.  I find myself praying and praying here recently.  For courage and strength and compassion.  For my family, as big as it can be.

MTLI.

We didn’t get to hear it when you wanted us to, Sondra, so here it is:

Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb