Wednesday, July 4, 2018

when the other end of the leash is empty

As I approach 6 dogless months, my understanding of the dynamics of the relationship with dogs & the role they play in my life has never been more clear.
A tremendous amount of emotions & healing has occurred.
The pain of saying goodbye and the relief that his pain was gone.
Realizing how exhausted I was from 17 months of anxiety and care-taking after the cancer diagnosis.
Missing HIM. And feeling lost when navigating life activities that were ours.
Facing that emptiness and doing the things we did.
Visiting the lake and the beach and his/our friends.
It all had to be faced and relearned.
Walking the neighborhood.
I can kayak and observe the garden and drive to the bagel store.
But there is no joy.
Life is mundane, many times it flat out sucks.
There is no diversion.
No ridiculousness.
No playfulness.
I miss feeding him, feeling responsible for his care. There is a connectedness that goes along with that, that isn't the same as with another adult.
I miss training and learning what his skills and preferences were. Learning to read him and communicate with him.
For some, a dog is fun but in a sense a burden.
Not one day did I feel burdened.
6 months later, I know that life without a dog will never be enough.
A dog provides relief from the monotony of work, life tasks & worldwide strife & chaos.
You are greeting by that wagging tail, a hope & belief something great is going to happen, and plain old joy. You smile from the inside out. The day washes away. The world is less ugly.
All I had to do was say, "hey bud" and he'd stare into my eyes, like "absolutely, I'm in. What are we going to do? If its with you, I know its awesome"
Go ahead & try to keep hold of the day's frustrations with that beaming back at you.

Everytime I see an owner walking their dog, I see that bond. I see a human & dog in their routine; trusting, purposeful, connected.
I walk everyday & no longer cry missing him at my side. I am just empty & bored & unable to leave the world of strife. There is no connection to purpose, no fascinating trails to track.
Just steps.
For me, when the other end of the leash is empty, so too am I.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The amazing life ends, now what

Two weeks ago today it was 'time'.

Fourteen days later and I still feel like he's here.
But he isn't and there are times when that hits me and the sensation is indescribable.

It goes far beyond feeling sad. Or alone.
It feels as if all kinetic energy in the universe suddenly leaves your soul.
Crumbling to the ground, assuming fetal position and slipping under the duvet is the only thing that seems appropriate.

But life doesn't allow that.
And Bugsy wouldn't let me do that or want me to.
So as the song says, "time only goes one way"

Fortunately that feeling is fleeting and only occurs here or there.
Most of the time I think of him with the biggest smile on my face, one that emanates from my heart.

To have had such a powerful force of love and energy in your life for 12+ years is a blessing.
And the outpouring of love for him has been at least as powerful as the love and joy he shared with all of us.
It is overwhelming in all the right ways and my heart is so full.
As I type this, a silly grin is so permanently on my face, my cheeks are cramping.
Friends and family have contributed $860 to a local charity in Bugsy's honor.

The charity builds fences for dogs that live on chains and tethers in low income areas. We'll be building a fence for two rotties on Feb 11 with supplies purchased in Bugsy's honor.
I cannot wait to see those dogs happy to be off those chains. And they'll zoom.

So that is the positive.

The hurt is worst in the morning. Bugsy & I woke up every day for 12+ years pre-dawn and cheerfully explored the early morning and started our days with joyful energy.
From the moment I wake, I hurt deeply, DEEPLY.
I try to summon him to my soul with limited success.
I look to the sky as I walk get the paper - a friend told me I could see him in the sky in Canis Major and Canis Major is easily visible while walking down our drive.  I wish him good morning.

Nothing so far has been as difficult and as painful as going for my walk..........alone.
From the moment I walk out of the kitchen door, I feel as though my heart has been removed.
My God it hurts.
As I turn up the street I am so aware of all the things I no longer 'see'.
Bugsy didn't just walk, he worked. Over time, I learned to read him; I knew what critters had been out or were out, well before I'd see them.  I knew if a friend was out in the darkness too. Heck I could tell you which friend just by his body language.
Now I am lost. I know nothing.
It is just so fucking empty.

The first quarter mile, I cry. I sob. I see and feel so many walks - from the first one when he was such a cheeky confident pup, through the hot, humid summers, through soaking rain and stinging sleet. Every step seems to recall a different day, a different laugh, or new challenge.
I keep going.
I have to keep going.
Bugsy always kept going.
When I get to the top of the road and turn, suddenly I'm OK.
I'm walking.
The memories make me smile and remind me of what a special thing we had over the years.
The rest of the way, brief moments of loss crash through and I work to shake it off.

This morning when I turned back on the road home, a beautiful sunrise was beginning. Once again my heart sank, WE walked into so many sunrises.
I promise you Bugsy, I will not forget the lessons you provided.
#nobaddays <3 p="">