Posts Tagged ‘loss


Let’s get busy!

let's get busyMake any New Year’s resolutions?  I did.  Actually, I’ve been thinking of it for quite some time and began it with my last post made in December.  “What was it?” you may ask.  It was to get busy!

The book and motion picture “Wild,” has been getting a lot of attention.   Society’s response to a strong female and her journey through grief to self-discovery has been encouraging.  It’s also been an awakening to the media for the need for more pivotal female roles on the page, stage and screen.  During a radio interview with Reese Witherspoon, the star and producer of the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Witherspoon referenced the lack of complex roles for women and responded by not only saying, but putting into action her comment:  “…nobody is doing this work.  I might as well get busy and do it myself.”

Obviously we don’t all have the resources like Witherspoon, but we do share the same perspective.  As a result, instead of expecting others to address the needs which have already been identified, I have decided to join Witherspoon and “get busy.”  What does this mean?  I believe that in each of our lives in our own way, we can make a difference to bring about change for gender equality.  From standing up for ourselves or others when confronted by sexism or working to make more opportunities for women available, we all contribute to society’s transformation.  No action is too small, so we must not minimize our efforts.  It’s changing our very way of thinking as a community; embracing our egalitarianism.

Awareness, education and recognition are vital.  However, without following that up with action in our daily lives, our society tends to find contentment with labeling gender discrimination as simply one of many issues which need addressing.  “Issues” tend not to have the same concern as crisis.  Why is it not a national crisis that women do not receive equal pay for equal work?  Why is it not a global crisis that women are surrounded and trapped by violence, rape and sex trafficking?  When perceived as an issue, it weakens the urgency of our condition.   This is nothing less than a crisis which demands action.

So let’s get busy!

Read interview with Reese Witherspoon


Support women artists by buying the book “Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed and see the movie.


just deal with it

just deal with it“That’s life.  Just deal with it.”

Don’t you want to just smack someone in the face when they say that?  You’re sharing a deep and troubling issue and they throw that line out at you and it feels like someone is stabbing you in the gut.  “Just deal with it.”  Really?  Do they have a sympathetic bone in their body?  Or are they just trying to toughen you up?  Either way, it’s really evasive and belittling.

Unfortunately, I heard this two times over the past couple of weeks.  I poured my soul out, sharing my woes about the past year’s struggles which seemed to happen one after another and that’s the reply I received.  “Okay,” I said.  “That may be life, but for most people stuff like this happens over a ten year period or more and mine was condensed into a little over one year.”  This still elicited little to no response.  And then I realized it.  They themselves couldn’t deal with it, so they threw it back on me.

As I reflected on the lives of those that reacted this way, I found a vast differences between them but one consistency; avoidance.  The first person really hadn’t experienced a whole lot of loss or struggle in their lives because they kept themselves at just enough distance from others so that they could quietly back away at any sign of trouble.  Meanwhile, the second person had had their fair share of difficulties and loss, but wouldn’t dare admit its effects on them.  For both, what hardships they faced they merely avoided dealing with it.  Which makes their statement all the more ironic.

Life is not something to “deal” with.  It’s not something to avoid.  It’s something to live and experience.  Good or bad, it’s part of who we are and what makes us human.  And I believe we live it better when we do it together.  So the next time someone punches me in the gut with that phrase, I think I’ll say, “I don’t want to just deal with it.  I want to live it and I hope you’ll take the journey with me.”


telling the truth

telling the truthWhy do we always have to tell the truth?

I felt like I had a bit of a new start today.  For the first time in months I exercised.  In addition, I had to do something to make up for forgetting about it yesterday that took extra time, and I didn’t berate myself about it.  I didn’t even really get upset.  This is huge progress for me.

The energy was rolling right along and then I get slammed with reality; I’m never going to see my dog again.  Bringing home her ashes this week just made everything so final.  Somehow before I could pretend that it didn’t really happen, but now there’s closure.  It’s strange how it’s healthy and considered good to have closure in everything else except this.

I don’t want to accept the truth.  Do I have to?  What says that I can’t make my own reality?  That I couldn’t go on choosing to believe that my dog went to live somewhere else?  That she’s still alive somewhere out there?  After all, do we ever really know reality or just what we perceive to be reality?  What’s so freeing about the truth in this case?

This is difficult for me to say because I am a firm believer in the truth setting one free, but why does one have to accept it in circumstances where a “lie” doesn’t hurt anyone and in fact protects oneself from further pain?  It’s not that you are necessarily denying the truth, but you just choose to believe something different and live in a way that reflects that choice.  And if this helps you heal and find greater joy in life, why not?  Or will the truth always come back to bite you in the butt?

I know the truth.  But I don’t have to tell it.  Especially to myself.


coming home

coming homToday our beloved dog Sam came home.

We went to the vet’s to pick up her remains and had a therapeutic talk with the veterinarian who helped her through these last years.  He affirmed our decision and reminded us of the additional six months of happy, healthy life we gave her after the amputation.  We released her from the pain of the cancer’s return, and that was a gift.

It’s strange the things that speak comfort to us in our grief.  I had been so focused on her death and the fact that her life was cut short because I still have so much life yet to life that I didn’t recognize the good, long life she had.  The vet told us that in human years, she was a 65-70 year old person who lived a quality life.  This really put things in a different perspective for me and forced me to consider that the time she had was both qualitative and quantitative.

Somehow the house seems more complete now that she is here again with us.  Her remains are in a beautiful wooden box with a gold lock and key and a wooden heart in front of it with her name.  She always possessed the keys to our heart and now we have the key to hers.  Now we can watch over and take care of her in our own way.  We hope to release her ashes into the ocean, but are not ready yet to let her go.

Closure is usually a healthy thing, but in this case it is very painful.  There is something so final in receiving her ashes.  As I said to my husband, knowing that her spirit is still with us does not yet console the loss of her physical body because our relationship was so physical – petting, hugging, playing, walking, feeding – all those things every day for over ten years.  She had the strongest, most beautiful and loving spirit of any creature I’ve known and I know that in time, I will feel that she truly will come home in my heart.


further up and further in

puddleEver feel a million miles away from who yourself?

In less than a month I’ll be traveling back to where I grew up.  It’s been almost four years since I’ve seen those familiar stomping grounds.  As I thought about the routes and road and streets, I realized I had forgotten how to get from one place to another.  I couldn’t see the drive in my mind.  It seemed so strange to forget what for decades of my life was so familiar.

I’ve never felt like I’ve had a place where I belonged.  Whenever we moved to a new abode I was more concerned with the outside than the inside; always longing to stretch out and be amidst the life growing up around me.  My favorite spots were always peering out a window.  Our current home has come closest to reflecting the peace from the outside, inside.  It has many windows with vaulted ceilings and endless lines that always take an unexpected turn.

But somehow I seem so far away from it all.  I don’t see myself in any one place, especially now that Sam is no longer in that place.  I’m transitioning in my life in so many ways as I graduate from college and start searching for a job.  My age seems to be more present in my mind and body as I live from day to day and look to the future.  This seems so restraining to me as time always appeared boundless.  It’s difficult to stay focused as I find myself journeying to the past to visit Sam and looking to the future to escape feeling the pain of the present reality.

In the end it all feels sort of surreal.  This life.  This existence.  My spirit seems to be a million miles from me but for the ache in my heart.  It wants to soar but remains grounded for now in responsibility and expectations.  But this too is part of my journey and I’ll discover even more about myself as I travel further up and further in…


the ending of things

the ending of thingsHow does one remember without pain and yet try not to forget?

Got out today in a more social environment.  It was nothing deep; just a shallow trip with some acquaintances to the pier.  The ocean breathed some life back into me, but still reminded me of our last trip together to San Diego which triggered some heartache.  Sunshine continues to work hard to uplift my spirits.  Mornings and evenings are the most difficult to keep the chin up.

Certain tasks demanding focus take longer.  Frankly, I just don’t care about much right now.  As much as I’d like to think of her life and be grateful for the wonderful memories, I can’t stop thinking about the ending of things.  I wanted more time; perhaps I expected too much time.  After all, a dog’s life span is not long in comparison with a human.  But one doesn’t consider that when they fall in love.

So for now I just need to go through the motions.  I told my girlfriend that I indulge in my emotions and mid-morning or afternoon naps, but that I know my boundaries and when it is time to kick my butt out of bed and out of the house.  There are so many other wonderful things happening in my life right now and I don’t want to miss them.  I can’t give my heart to anything else fully yet.  And I guess that is alright.  I’m used to giving myself 100% to everything I do, but in this case I don’t have that to offer to anything or anyone right now.

I know that in time I’ll be able to remember without the sting of pain and see her whole life as a beautiful gift.  Right now I still feel robbed and can’t risk not thinking of her in fear of forgetting every minute detail of her behavior, appearance, smell and voice.  More and more though, I am sure that as she healed me with her touch and gentle spirit in life, death will not stop her from bringing me peace once more.  Her story has not ended for it will forever live in me.



mystery grief

mystery griefGrief is gradual, immediate and mysterious.  It can also take one completely off guard.

My husband and I had different relationships with Sam; we showed our love to her in specific ways.  His was more of a playmate and mine a nurturer.  Towards the end, even when we had her leg amputated, her relationship with my husband changed drastically.  No longer could she run to him or chase the ball or him.  She slowed down immensely which caused us to adapt to her new condition.

For me, this transition went easier because a lot of my interaction with her was based on caretaking and affection.  To put it bluntly, I always gushed over her and now I had an excuse to do it even more.  If it were up to me she would have had all her meals and water in the comfort of her bed.  Her dependency increased until we were helping her with most everything – even standing up.  The drastic change from having her need me so utterly and completely to being left alone has affected me deeply.

I realized it today as I was folding some towels and thought that I’ll never get to give her a bath or dry her after being out in the rain.  That started an avalanche of “never agains” which led me to crawl back under the covers and stay there until mid-morning.  Later I forced myself to get out and do some therapeutic shopping.  I came home and she still wasn’t there.

What makes this loss most difficult is that I cannot look to anyone, including my husband to fill it.  I cannot expect him to need or depend on me as she did.  Yes, we can look to one another for comfort and additional affection, but no one can fulfill the role she played in my life.  Perhaps I’ll learn to live without that aspect in my life or maybe I’ll find a different way to cope.  All I know now is that I’ll never know anyone else like her; and because of that I am so grateful that she was in my life, even for a short time.