My mother called this morning to let me know her dog, Sugar, had slipped away–with a little help.
Instantly, I’m reminded of when we put Midnite to sleep, and then Lacy, our cat. Both lived long lives–15 years. And I know I’m supposed to be comforted by that.
But I was so lonesome without them.
Midnite was dying, as I struggled to live with what would be the last three months of dialysis. We had become very attached since I stopped working and spent all my time at home.
Except for Midnite and Lacy.
It was a particular kind of relief for me–Midnite had needed help getting outside and accidents were frequent. I was so sick, I felt crushed with the burden of caregiving.
Then, I began to compare my health problems with his. And I couldn’t help but think putting me out of my misery should be an option. A kindness, even.
My husband was oblivious to Midnite’s degeneration until the very end. I think he kept the rose colored glasses on, until they broke and he really SAW how hard living had become for Midnite.
He seemed not to see the pain and misery I was going through, either. Relentlessly upbeat and invalidating. He would not listen to the darkness within me. I craved a sympathetic ear to just witness my process for me.
Nancy was my witness. She was struggling with breast cancer and seemed to really get what I was trying so ineptly to express. I am so grateful for her kindnesses.
Maybe losing the family pets–one just before transplant, the other just after–was the impetus for my spiral into depression. Or the drugs. Certainly helped to focus my obsession with “to be or not to be.”
Fear, not of dying ,but of living. I’d lost any reason for being on the planet.
My son is in college and is busy building his life. And that is so cool.
But with no children and no pets at home, I had no purpose. My husband is extraordinarily self-sufficient. He would be sad and then he would go on.
I was stuck in a world where I was completely at the mercy of my emotions.
My core needy weakness was exposed. And I felt so vulnerable and afraid. And Needy.
I didn’t handle it well.
It helps to know that the meds I was taking at the time were partially responsible for the tangle of emotions–even without all the real life drama.
Almost three years passed before I set out to actively find a purpose. I struggled with the desire for doggie companionship. I’d promised I would not give my heart to a being with an expiration date ever again.
On 12/12/09 (my birthday, too), Forte came to the planet.
I collected weekly pictures of his progress. And I KNOW he’ll only be with me, at the most, 15 years. Assuming the kidney holds up for 15 years, I’ll be in my late 50s when he exits.
I cannot help loving him. He’s every inch a yellow lab, with all the requisite lab puppy tendencies. So, he’s annoyed, irritated, and amused us since he came to live with us.
He will make me lonesome when he goes.