Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Save it til the morning after

The my dog died starter pack: candles and incense, tissues, water, tea, the best frozen mac and cheese (Trader Joe's hatch chile mac and cheese), book to get lost in, and wonton soup.

Yesterday as most know, Gus left us before 11, and we lost our shit for a bit of course (and I will continue to lose it at intervals and for years LOL, it's just the grief process), then settled to couches for a quiet day. I lit my candles, drank my tea, read, tried to reassure the remaining pack members, and my Dad and Carol got us Chinese food for dinner. Wonton soup, the great comfort provider. I went to bed early as the previous two nights I got a total of nine hours of sleep wrestling with what was coming. It's a hard decision even when it's the right one.

You know that Duran Duran song Save a PrayerDon't say a prayer for me now. Save it 'til the morning after. For me the worst day is not the day I have to put my dog down. It is the next day, because when I first wake up I forget for a split second, and when I am fully awake it is the first day without my dog in X years.

For us in this instance, 16. The first day without Gus on this earth in over 16 years.

Even when the life is good and full, it's never enough time with anyone or any animal we love. When people and pets we love die, we miss them forever, and their absence changes us. We grow around our grief and the spaces we make in our hearts for them to live there. We are not the same, and we shouldn't be. We'll be different but we'll be okay. Touchy as fuck for a few days, but okay. Tread lightly.

To anyone new or who has only been around for Gus’s very senior years, please know Gus was so very many things, but Gus was not a best good boy or a sweet boy so don't think I'm just forgetting to say those things when I speak about him. He was an unruly jackassser from the day he arrived to the minute he left this earth, who cared about very few things and beings other than himself, and he was loved, appreciated, and celebrated for exactly who he was. Here are some Gus posts so you get a feel for his personality: 

And a few more general dog ones:

I was going to go back to the shore by noon on Christmas and spend my week off there but this obviously changed things and I am not keen to split the humans or animals up as we reset ourselves. 

Thank you to everyone who has sent love and sympathy. We’re still feeling raw and navigating a new Gus-less world , and as I was going to reply to some comments on Facebook this morning I started crying so I stopped. Ben was looking at me like Jesus we are all lost at sea LOL. So if we do not reply to a message, please know we are appreciative and feel the love.

Since this blog is a record for myself, the social posts will live here too, as it is unedited (obvi with its run on sentences and numbers that should be words but aren't due to instagram's character limit) and most true to how I felt yesterday. Apologies for the repeat as most of you have already seen this. This is for me. 

First of the pugs, king of them all, our faithful companion since he arrived at our home in October 2005 (& went right back out to Michelle’s housewarming party, peeing on her new rugs), Gus left us today to go where it is always sunny with grass to snooze on and oceans to wade in, where his best first guard Geege has been waiting since Sept 2017 with a host of other furry & human loved ones to welcome their liege with offerings of burgers & bones & adventures free from pain in an old, broken down body. My first dog, he was glued to my hip though my formative adult years, and it is impossible to express how big of a part he is in my journey and how enormously hard it is to close that out even though it is clearly time to do so. Picked out by MFD, he bit through my shirt at first meeting. Sleeping wrapped around my neck like a boa constrictor for 2 years, sitting next to me while I read 1,000+ books, my egg sous chef. He made us dog people, introduced us to the lovely & bizarre lifelong dog nickname process, witnessed our best and worst moments, and initiated 4 other dogs and a cat into our family before his reign ended, passing the torch to no one because he would trust no one with the position. An outsized personality intent on living the full breadth and width of every minute with disdain for anyone who blocked his path. A hater of costumes. An exaggerator of injuries for sympathy and food. Obstinate and dramatic, Gus excelled at rallying all other dogs to join him in creating messes & mayhem on his many adventures in this life. His hijinks are legendary. How lucky are we to have Gus with us for 16+ years, over 3 years after his vet said he would not live more than 6 months due to cancer. He heard that, and he lived on out of spite (with help from CBD oil) because no one tells Gus when to do anything, let alone die. MFD was the majority caretaker the past 1.5 years, making sure Gus was comfortable always while I watched like a hawk intent on not prolonging suffering. Gus has been welcomed, loved and fawned over everywhere, which he of course believed was his due as the king. Thanks to all who loved him with us. Love you forever Gussie boy.  8/29/05-12/27/21

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