For the last week or so, every time I thought about sitting down to write this post I suddenly found something way more important and interesting to do. Cutting my nails into tiny shapes of farm animals, watching a maimed spider crawl up the toilet (fascinating), cleaning my eyes with Windex.
Anything not to sit here and be with this post for even a minute. Because why?
There. I said it.
It scares the hell out of me. The vulnerability it’s taking to write it makes my stomach hurt. Which is most likely why I’ve been on a mega-bitchy angry-asshat bender for the last couple months.
That, and heat.
See, I’ve come to realize, consciously, in the last couple weeks, it’s much easier to be a cantankerous jerk-face than it is to be a grieving mother.
I can build a wall.
I can pretend (my dog) The Goon’s rapid descent into frail slow-mo is not really happening, that somehow in this whacked out alternate reality in my head, her relentless decline is a personal affront to me. I become irritated, frustrated, and impatient with her and the world over the fact that I’m very little more than a caretaker now for her ancient little self.
I get angry and close off. I hide behind that wall o’mine so I don’t have to acknowledge the sad truth that with every breath she takes, she’s one breath closer to leaving me for good.
Because, my God, being a Superhero Sensitive, how do I cope with it any other way? I’d just be a big walking puddle of snot otherwise.
This has been my subconscious rationale for the last couple months. I’ve been a spoiled rotten baby jerk. I fully admit it. Acknowledging is half the problem, right?
And now I’m entering a different stage.
The Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief goes like this: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
Anger. Double check.
Think I’ve skipped right over bargaining, because, well. I’m not Superman and I can’t spin the world backwards 15 years, or even five years, so.
I’m sure you’ve figured out which stage I’m currently sitting in then.
I’ve torn the wall down, come back to my senses and compassion and everything is beef carpaccio raw in me right now.
Everything means something. And it’s all really sad.
Sometimes, when The Goon is on her way back inside from potty time, she’ll stop and stare at me sitting on the step waiting for her. More and more lately, it feels like she’s seeing through me. Like maybe she doesn’t know exactly who I am anymore.
Like all the years we’ve spent together, the great and terrible things we’ve been through, the amazing adventures we’ve shared, all those precious moments come crumbling down to rest in piles at her feet like our life’s detritus. Left behind as she walks away from me toward that damn bridge.Rainbow Bridge makes it sound whimsical and fun like childhood and ice cream. Rainbow my ass. Click To Tweet
Then, in the next moment, as if all of that was simply happening only in my head, she slowly limps to me, every step measured, and tucks her little head into my armpit nook, her special spot, the place reserved For Goon Only. I cradle her and pet her, rub her bony little back that feels more like a mountain ridge now than a spine.
But I know. I know she remembers because she’s still doing this. Maybe she doesn’t remember the way I do, but she knows. She knows how much I love her.
Walls officially torn down.
And that’s when I really disintegrate.
How do you keep saying goodbye over and over every day? Every time I check to make sure she’s still breathing I’m hoping for the best, but somehow expecting the worst. In a lot of ways I feel like I’m shrinking, shriveling, failing, falling down the hole with her.
I know it’s the depression speaking, but there’s not a lot in this world that excites me these days. I’ve got major ADD when it comes to my writing projects. I can’t seem to focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time.
I don’t know if this is a normal thing that happens to people losing a loved one slowly or not, because I’ve never been through this before.
♥ ♥ ♥
Sometimes I reminisce about all the kooky things she used to do when she was a puppy.
The hell bent, out-of-control figure-eights with the crazy wide-eyed ‘I’ve-got-way-too-much-energy-and-I-need-to-take-it-out-on-this-lawn’ face.
Lying next to her bowls instead of standing when she ate and drank.
Sleeping on her side, belly up against the dining room wall in our old apartment, fully stretched out like Superdog, holding up my whole world.
Humping all the dogs she played with at the park. Not embarrassing at all to explain that she’s a she. I know I know. Dominance and all that. Still.
The day we met at Wanda’s Golden Retriever Rescue, she tore past me from her quarantined crate in a back bedroom to go pee outside then bolted right back and sat at my feet staring up at me, daring me not to take her home.
Like she knew.
She knew something I didn’t then. I didn’t want her. I needed her.
She’s been by my side, walking with me, every day for 15 years. My little girl, my angel, my soul. I don’t want to be without her. But I understand life and that’s not part of the contract.
So the most I can ask for is as much time as she can give me. And I guess I’ll have to accept being that big walking puddle of snot because I’m tired of being angry about the whole thing.
When she goes, I want to be right there with her, holding her paws, petting her, singing her to sleep. I want her to be at peace. And, if it’s at all possible, I want to be too.