It dawned on me today that this might be the longest stretch between blog postings in the history of this mess. I’m not going to go back and check that statement, but it does seem that it’s been a very long time since I posted.
I have a very good excuse: life. Since you dropped by to read this, you get the bonus answer that non-readers may not guess: I’ve been struggling emotionally since Stormy had to be put down.
For those who have never had a pet, you will think this is stupid/lame/pathetic. I can see your point. For those who have cherished pets, you will totally get what I’m about to discuss.
So, if you want to hear about it, great. Read on. If not, drop by next week and pick up there. I won’t be offended. I won’t know.
Over the last 6.5 years we’ve had to put down 3 of the best dogs a human could share a house with on this planet. That’s a lot of dogs in a short time. Maisie was the first, and she passed in the fall 7 years ago. She had every genetic defect a dog could have, and ended up horribly crippled with arthritis. Her passing was not unexpected, but she knew what was coming and fought the final medication with everything she had. I felt like a war-criminal in the aftermath, but intellectually I knew it was the right thing to do .
Stormy came to live with us a month later, and she joined Edzell in our household. He was the king of the Shelties, and had a great life. The two of them helped me get over the guilt I had over Maisie’s death.
The next summer, just 6 years ago, Ed died. He lost the ability to walk, and he was tired. He was totally fine with the whole deal, and he went very peacefully. I knew it was okay, and he was kind and generous in his acceptance. But he’d been with us for over 1/2 of our married life, and he left a big hole when he died.
Stormy filled that hole. She did it reluctantly, and it took years for her to be totally comfortable with me. I worked almost as hard as she did to make the relationship work. In the end, all that time and love grew a friendship deeper than I’d anticipated. I knew when she came to us as an 8 year old rescue we didn’t have a lot of time. But I was blindsided by her death.
So there I am with a very supportive family and friends. And a ton of projects on my plate. Asked to be on the board of a non-profit, co-chair of a very active ministry at the church, three books in progress, and an audio book in the box waiting to be started. I dug in, moved forward as best I could, and kept moving.
Until this week. I pulled up lame on one of my long walks and couldn’t walk to work. Heck, I had a hard time getting up and down the stairs at home, and I hobbled at work. The pain wasn’t all that bad, but it took another brick out of the wall I had built, and the wall was very unstable.
Combine this with our work in getting a new dog being foiled by circumstances beyond our control, and no furry friend for at least another month. Things were not good. I would wake up every night a couple of times and look at the doorway still expecting to see Stormy guarding me while I slept. Each time it broke my heart a little bit more. I truly expected to see her round the corner while I was in the living room. Each morning I’d check the yard for monsters – she insisted I do it before she’d go out and do her business.
And, then the last two ingredients came along to the whole recipe.
First, every day for the last month Edzell’s passing was noted on my calendar. Each day closer to his death, and farther away from Stormy puttering around the house deepened the darkness.
Then, on Saturday, I woke up with vertigo. Just like the weekend before she died. It was too much. I couldn’t walk to burn off calories, I didn’t feel like writing, I missed all my dogs, and now I couldn’t get out of bed without the room swinging in circles.
I did the exercises to beat the vertigo, but it left me with a migraine and a bad attitude.
I was miserable. Lonely. Isolated. I think you call that depression if you’re honest about it.
Don’t worry, I’ll be okay shortly. I actually feel a lot better today with the anniversary of Ed’s death behind me. New vistas and all that stuff.
But it’s been hard. And I’m blessed to have a wife who understands me, and my need to have a dog in my life. She’s the best wife I could have in this life.
Tomorrow? I’ll get out of bed, do the Epley exercise if the room spins, put on the pack (with no extra weights for the moment) and walk to work where I’ll write for an hour before the shift starts. I have deadlines and people that need me to get things done. And I’ll be okay. God’s blessed me with the faith that it will get better. I’m counting on it. Just like I’m counting on a new backyard fence, and a new dog.
You see, that’s how life goes with those ups and downs. I know it, and I’m working on it heading back up. Thank you to all of you for excusing my absence. I promise it won’t happen again soon.
Oh, Joseph, my heart grieves with you. Lost ours on March 15th, and he did his best to beat death, but it was not to be. I’m weeping at this moment. Unlike you, I can’t bear the thought of another loss after him, so we are pet-less near Seattle and will remain so. It hurts so bad.
You get back to us when you can. I certainly understand the grief. Thank you to you and your wife for having such love for these precious dogs. God gave you that kind of heart. He will heal it in His way and in His time. I know for me it’s slow going.