Friday, September 22, 2017

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile - William Cullen Bryant

Happy Friday, happy fall, happy some of my favorite fall photos. As I was looking for these I was amazed at how huge of a difference there is in phone picture quality from like 2012 to now. #thingsoldpeoplecommenton
This is my favorite season, although I have come to hate the words hoodie, pumpkin spice, bonfire. We've killed them, you guys.
Meanwhile, this weekend is supposed to be like summer at the shore.
Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - I try and comprehend you but I got a dyslexic heart

1. Have I mentioned that I have been caught in an early 90s listening pattern? The title might have given that away. It's fitting since I was in Target last night and the clothing section was like walking into my closet in 1997. There's a lot of inexplicable crushed velour out there right now and someone needs to answer for it.
2. I want these signs posted everywhere.
3. I  have a problem with athleisure shoes. Whatever they all have homes, I wear them all, and I got rid of 10 pair of shoes this week. I would still kill a small woodland animal to get these TOMs in a 9. They are out of stock online. I know because I check every day.
4. Flowers make things better. Thanks Peters!

5. It was my youngest brother's 23rd birthday on Tuesday. Kind, smart, and funny. Happy happy kid. I can say kid since I'm almost 18 years older.

6. This cretin, retweeting a GIF of himself striking Hillary Clinton in the back with a golf ball. He is the most unpresidential woman hater ever. This slimy maniac exists fathoms below the dignity of the Office of the President of the United States of America. You don't get a pass to make light of violence against women because you sit your ass in the Oval Office or because you think it's funny. Go to hell. Wait, you're in charge...we're already there. MAGA!

7. This stopped being about healthcare a long time ago. It is about money and power over people, making the rich richer no matter how many people have to suffer or die for that to happen. The GOP needs ONE vote to flip by the last week of September to ruin healthcare for all of us - every single one of us - including those of us insured under employer healthcare. Get on the fucking phone, send a fucking letter, use ResistBot to text a fax, hire a fucking skywriter, show up at your Senator's office, I don't care. Do something, anything, everything to kill this fucking Graham-Cassidy bill from hell. This is your responsibility.  And mine. And theirs. Everyone get on the fucking phones.
8. I'm off today and tomorrow. I'm going for the salt air cure: sweat, tears, or the sea. Probably all three. I'm going to eat bad things if I want to, sleep when I want to, and read. Peace.

9. Reminder:

10. E-card of the week:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Still, like air, I rise

For many years I've told everyone I know I'd need a week off when my dog died. I thought I would be a saint-style stoic person until the moments surrounding the actual death, then lose my shit and take a week off of work to ramble around my house like Miss Havisham.

It happened in reverse. I lost my mind over a declining dog for over a week, remained stoic while my dog was dying, found peace in the moments after, and needed to go to work the next day for some semblance of normalcy.

I am working consciously towards my new normal. That tag is on that tattoo for a reason. I'm here. I'm okay. I can bend, stretch, be compressed, withstand. I am resilient. If I think honestly about who I am and what I'm made of, I realize that resilience is what makes me the most me.

I heard from so many people after Geege died. People I know, but also a lot of people I don't know. Broken hearts over dead dogs brings people out. All the dog people were so great in letting us know we were not fucking nuts for feeling so bad over a dog. Amanda told me that many times leading up to it and I am so glad I had those words in my head because I felt legitimately insane for reacting like this. I pride myself on moving ahead with dignity, and doing so quickly. There is not even one fuck to give for appearing put together in this incident.

Grief is one of the great equalizers, and it exposes us in a way that allows real connection. But man, it's uncomfortable, showing your pain to the world. And it's really fucking uncomfortable for the world to hear about it. Have you ever listened to or read someone express their pain plainly and cringe a little, inadvertently turning away from it, like it's something you need to shield yourself from? I have. You just want them to stop talking about it, to get over it, to move on. We do not want to sit down to a plate piled high with raw emotion because it requires us to respond and it's easier not to. Just pass the ketchup and let's eat in silence.

Throughout this I kept asking myself why the fuck I was putting this all out there, not once or twice or on one medium but on many. It's showing more of the man behind the curtain than I am usually comfortable with. I have no answer aside from the fact that writing is a great purge. Even so, I certainly do not share everything in this space that I write. I don't know why I shared this grief stuff. I don't know why I'm still sharing it. I'm not asking for permission or forgiveness, I just truly have no idea why I refuse to write about most things more than once but this I've theme I have let have free rein. If it wants out it gets out and it gets published without getting a re-read so good God please don't let there be grammatical errors.

Maybe someone will need it in the future, and here it will be. I don't know.

Grief is weird.

Here are some pretty frank descriptions of my thoughts this week. These are not solicitations for sympathy. In fact maybe there's something that makes you laugh. Grief can be ugly but it can also be funny. In my world nothing can get better until things can be funny.

-Attempt real things after Geege's body is taken out but end up on couch in basement where I never go because it sucks down there hiding from MFD, Gus, Mae, life. 
-Spend afternoon obsessing over ordering a Geege bracelet and painting my toenails because what if I die from a broken heart and people see my toenails like that?  
-Leave house simply so I can return to a home without Geege for the first time even though that means subjecting my family to my surly company. My husband is much nicer for them to be around, as always. 
-Fear hugging my niece because I don't want her to feel my sad. 
-Interrupt mourning to receive phone call from Dunkin Donuts owner in an effort to secure social justice for her workers, succeed, go immediately back to sulking
-Tired of life and in bed before 9
-Talk to Geege before bed like he's still there
-Ignore all phone calls, 9/10 facebook comments, and some texts

-Wake up and cry because I immediately remember Geege is not here.
-Forget sunglasses which makes crying on the train awkward.
-Cry twice in the office before 8:30 a.m.
-Exhausted to the point of propping myself up by 9 a.m.
-Tell one coworker so she can spread the news. Most people avoid me, which I prefer, except for those who have put dogs down, and we whisper in my office because we can't speak and cry together four different times like a secret club no one wants to belong to.
-I eat literally all the brownies that come with the staff lunch and since I work with great people no one says a fucking word or tries to take one.
-I fantasize about acting out all of my small, mean thoughts on people who do not deserve it then worry this will happen on public transport. Contemplate working from home for the rest of the week/my entire life.
-Should I wear a my dog just died sign to explain possible erratic behavior?
-Try to care about things, fail.
-Wonder why the fuck I am so upset when I know dogs don't live long and I have never been so upset about a human dying
-Have to face the wall when I tell my boss who is a huge dog lover and who has been there, it is really awkward because we are both almost crying and that is totally not what you want to be doing on a Monday afternoon with an employer
-Consider contacting TOMs and telling them a pair of plaid shoes in my size that are no longer in stock might help heal the heart of a woman who just lost her dog, realize I am opportunistically insane and refrain.
-Spend time looking for myself in the mirror because my face feels physically different from crying so much for the past seven days
-Begin to identify with a straw person someone puts on a bench as a fall decoration because I am lacking human response today.
-Answer most people but avoid one on one interactions like the plague.
-Spend the evening lost in a book.
-Notice Mae is really in distress and vow to do better tomorrow.

-Wake up certain I am in a different stage of life as I no longer physically feel like every part of my body is a nerve ending, nor do I feel sunk into myself. I feel lighter. The bags under my eyes do not. Yikes. Eye cream applied.
-Still talking to Geege like he's here, realize I might do that forever, realize I am fine with that
-Mae goes to the vet and as suspected nothing is physically wrong with her, just the loss.
-On the train I am angry about something on a neighborhood facebook page. Self? Is that you?
-Post some feminist post on Instagram. I know this woman. 
-At lunch I am angry over the shitbox healthcare burger they're attempting to serve up again so I call my Senators. Self! That is you.
-At work I listen to a coworker complain about her husband without thinking shut the fuck up don't you know my fucking dog is dead! I actually feel sympathy because seriously why can't they just fucking call someone to fix something instead of pretending they are going to fix it
-I make a list for the weekend. I'm back. 
-Watch Geege videos and smile. 
-Hug my Dad without crying
-Observe Gus sniff the entire house relentlessly looking for Geege without crying 
-Re-engage with people 
-Go to bed at 11 and realize I have not cried all day for the first time in eight days

Today? Today is a new day and my hair stylist will remove the 314159 grays I have gotten over the last week which will bring me great joy. I will return to the shore alone and that might be hard. I will miss Geegie boy forever. I will be in real pain for a while. I expect to burst into tears at inopportune times. But I will do those things while laughing as much as I can and feeling joy. Joy and pain can co-exist in me if I allow them to. I don't have to choose one or the other. 

I had an idea in my head not only of how I grieve compared to others, but how and for how long I grieve period. I gave myself a hurdle that I then had to get over when I had no strength to do so. I think we have an idea of how we should properly grieve and that holds us back from grieving how we need to. Fuck proper. Grieve in your own way, every time. Even if it's different from the last time. And look for the laughs because they will move you forward.  

L'shanah Tovah, friends. I'm ready for a new year myself.

Monday, September 18, 2017

TWTW - the last one with Geege

Geegie boy, forever would not have been long enough with you. Thank you for one more weekend of cheeseburgers and ice cream and a trip to the beach, of burrowing into my leg, of letting me lay with you and cry my heart out, of just being here. We tried to give Geege the best day ever Saturday so he went to the beach with us solo, rode in the front seat to feel the wind on his face, had ice cream, and didn't spend any time without one of us next to him. 
Geege, I will love everything about you always. I will miss everything about you always, especially your huge heart that in the end was not strong enough for all the love you had in it. I will remember everything about you always, especially never spending a day in your presence without your eyes on me all the time, how you greeted me ecstatically every time I came in the door even if I was only out front for two minutes, how you were always the best boy, how you had your own rabble rabble language, how you were a weekend warrior and always so tired on Mondays, 
how your tongue was always out when you were tired, how you liked to pause during walks and roll around in the grass, how much you loved to eat, how protective you were of babies, how you would wrap your tail around my wrist when I gave you your last pet at night, how we had a nose kiss/inside of the ear whisper ritual before I got in bed every night, how you lay on your dad's pillow before burrowing under the blankets in the winter, how bad your breath smelled but how much you loved to give soft kisses, how you loved your birthday cheeseburger on May 8, how I woke up with you laying back to back with me arching your head every once in a while to make sure I was still there, how you cried throughout our wedding ceremony because you were behind me and couldn't see my face,
how you were the only well behaved dog on car rides, how valiantly you patrolled the bay window ledge and front door, how you both barked and wagged your tail with your whole body, how much you hated fireworks and loud noises earning you the names Heebie Jeebie and Shakey Jakey, how you endured costumes stoically to humor me, how you always waited on the bathroom floor for me to get out of the shower, how you followed me around the house overseeing my chores, how good you were at putting up with Gus's jackassery and Mae's insertion into everything, how you loved the sun and the beach, how you were the best head tilter, how you always sniffed my eyes especially when I was upset, 
how you responded to each of your 190 nicknames, how you would sit languidly on my lap relaxing in the late afternoon sun letting me hold you during our porch sits, how you hated the heat but loved to dash through the snow, how you squeezed yourself into Mae's tiny dog bed, how you dug a nest to make yourself spots, how you weren't shy about making the other two move so you could sit with me, how you made every day okay even when it sucked, how much you loved all of us, how patient you were,
how very much you loved to run, and how you always ran like the wind but stopped at a certain distance to look back for me and wait for me to say go ahead Geege, mama's okay. So like I told you yesterday...go ahead Geege...mama's okay. Run like the wind forever. It is physically painful not to have you here but I am happy knowing you are running like the wind on the beach, through the fields near our house, all over Treat Lady's woods, and along Lake Chrisann as well as anywhere and everywhere I am. I'll carry you with me forever. You are at peace. I am at peace. So many people and dogs were there to greet you.
We are grateful that we had one last weekend together in the sun and in the comfort of our home, which will be okay of course, but never ever the same. We had the best life together, the four of us, then when Mae came the five of us.

Much thanks to Lap of Love for taking my phone call Friday night and for coming out on Sunday to our house so Geege could go peacefully at home on his couch surrounded by his pack. If you are local and you need to make this decision, please consider them. They are kind when you need it, truly compassionate, and make everything as easy as it can be. They left us with a paw impression and a lock of hair, and Geege's ashes will come back to us in a few weeks so he can be scattered in his special places.

Thanks so much to everyone for the lovely words and thoughts last week and especially this weekend. I absolutely loved sharing Geege with all of you - he was the best good boy and we all know it. I want you to know he was ready and at peace. If I have not responded individually, know that in that moment I could not and likely will not but I have read and absorbed and appreciated all of your kindness. Thanks for being with us in spirit, reading the terribly sad things we have posted on various forms of media way more than once, and being patient as we try to get the sad out so it can't take root inside. Thanks also to Kim and Mario who gave us Jake just before he turned three on May 6, 2007. He will always be one of the best gifts of our lives. This weekend was terribly painful but I would not give up one second of our 10+ years together to avoid one second of the grief.

Geege was thoughtful even at the end. I had all last week alone to grieve what was coming, and he knows I grieve best alone. He has watched me do it many times. Do you think dogs can be soulmates? He was mine. I will have other dogs but not another soulmate dog. He also knew his dad would need a few days when he got back, and he gave him that too. Yesterday we told the vet what we did with him on Saturday and he was shocked because by Sunday morning he was so very ready to go. We thought Geege's Best Day Ever was our last gift to him but it was actually his last gift to us. His heart and generosity with his love were huge even when the rest of his body was finished. 

Knowing it was time and having the vet confirm it does not make it any easier. I feel at peace because he is at peace and his comfort is more important to me than my own. Yesterday I learned that peace is not solace. I don't find solace anywhere right now. 

Universe, please be gentle with our household this week as our pack attempts to navigate the world with four instead of five. I feel like my skin is on inside out and I think every other living thing in this house feels the same. It's a very raw feeling like a small touch would burn. Sunday I did my food prep and over cooked my eggs and purged my house and read my book and acted in any way I could, because that's how I get through things. Action. Movement. And Geege was following me around like he always has and always will, watching that I do things right.
Goodbye for now in the physical sense, my best good boy.

Friday, September 15, 2017

It's the end of the world as we know it and I do not feel fine

Yesterday I compared this week to a down on its luck country song, and I wanted to be able to come back today and say that feeling is gone but it's not.

Don't worry, I am not going to be the person who talks daily about how her dog is dying. But he is, and that is affecting me in a major way so to ignore it is inauthentic. I can't have this blog if I can't be authentic. I cannot show you my joy and refuse to acknowledge my pain. Please don't feel like you have to say you're sorry or anything every time because that is annoying for you, you know? Just send some love.

On one hand I feel like I can't keep writing about this and on the other hand I feel like I can't stop. I know, you're like please...stop. LOL. I don't want to talk about it and I can't stop talking about it to myself. I don't care about anything else and that makes me angry with myself because there are so many other things to care about. I am trying to get through the day at work without crying at my desk (about half successful all week) so I can go home and be alone. I prefer to be sad alone. It was good for me that MFD was in Houston all week.

Monday night I cried and moped and Tuesday night I was in a fog. Both nights I was in bed before 9 pm. All of those things are quite foreign to me - if I cry, I am a quick crier. I don't mope and I don't walk around in a fog unless I have taken conflicting cough medicines and made myself feel like I was on ludes (are they still a thing?). Wednesday night I set out to be more productive and that's when I felt the best. If I am upset about something, I am most comfortable with action, even little things unrelated to what I'm upset about. So I tried. With my usual little self care perk me up things.

Like fresh nails in one of my favorites, OPI My Private Jet. I never use this color without singing I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
I started a new book and said fuck it to two, one that never worked for me and one I loved but felt like I couldn't spend another minute reading. I've gotten more ruthless in the past few months with my do not finish books. And another great Show Us Your Books month, of course. I am still getting around to reading the last 10 linker uppers. Did you catch up with the end ladies?

I saw my niece and I think she was literally the only thing I smiled about on Tuesday. It is impossible to not smile at her. She's funny.

I made a batch of power breakfast muffins to freeze. I always feel better having frozen food ready.

Shoe purging and organization has begun. When things feel chaotic, simplify. Simplify. And if your handwriting is like mine, for God's sake use a label maker. We're not heathens.

Fresh sheets + completed laundry. Freshness never hurt anyone.

Dogs. Always dogs. The incredible love they give is worth the heartache of watching them wane. 
Because it is fucking heartbreaking and it's not going to be something that can be solved with my usual perk myself up tricks. Last night MFD returned from Houston and I was back to laying around crying all night. I want to say I've gotten a grip, I'm handling this! But I haven't and I'm not and that's just how it is.

I think what surprises me the most about how I'm dealing with this is that I'm very straight forward when people I love die. I am sad, sure. I will miss them forever, of course. But I am also very circle of life and I handle it better. I am usually the one in the funeral line who does not cry. When it's time for someone, it's time. I accept that and I want them to have peace. I of course want my dogs to have the same but I want their time to be up when my time is up. For the millionth time, I wish my dogs could talk. This is animal grief this week, and it is ugly.

But this weekend, to the beach, which Geege has always loved. We'll carry him down to give him what might be his last few days in the sun.

Enjoy your weekend. Hug your people! Hug your dogs.

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