Just Maybe

There is no deadline on grief.  It never goes away.  To judge another person on how they deal with grief is unjust.  We ALL grieve in different ways, and there is no right or wrong way to fill that emptiness.

I have blogged about my Mom, my Grandpa, and now…..my Bandit. It is quite the struggle, going about my daily routine, as if she were never here in the first place. But she was, for 14 years, and she has left me broken. I don’t think I will make it the rest of the way, with my remaining 5 dogs.  I can’t even go there in my mind.

The day that I came back from the vet, after I held my dying baby in my arms, and her heart had stopped…….I crawled in bed, and pulled the covers up to my neck.  I did the ugly cry.  I cried so hard that my throat hurt. It didn’t stop for at least a week, and every now and then, there is that one thing that sets me back.

Bandit left an oily residue against the wall, where she used to lay….her bed, in our closet. Sasha has taken over that spot, and though I love Sasha, for some reason, I didn’t want her in Bandit’s spot.  It was HER spot.  I will always see her sitting there. There is no way around it, walking by that closet, going into that closet. She will always be there. l cannot wrap my head around the fact that I wanted nothing to do with my other dogs. Why did I not want them near me?  It wasn’t their fault she got sick and died.

The other night, my husband heard a crash of pots and pans in the kitchen. His first knee jerk reaction was to scream out Bandit’s name, because she was always licking the pots, pans, and cookies sheets in the cabinet, and she was very noisy about it. She had no shame in her mischevious acts. Ross had this noise he would make with his straw that freaked her out, and after he blew on it, and she would scamper away, and shake like a Chihuahua. I would yell at Ross, go and find her, and pick her up to reassure her.  At the same time, it  made me laugh inside, because that was their “thing”, and she was normally on her way to create havoc.

I had a “thing” with Bandit, as well, though only the TRUE dog lover can relate to it. Many years ago, I was holding her, and for some odd reason, I did a little nibble on her ear. She flinched, and spun her head around to look at me. I didn’t BITE her, of course. It was just a playful nibble, but she seemed shocked that I would do that. Moving forward through the years, that was our “thing” and it was always something that made me crack up. It got even funnier, because she would turn her head, and glare at me with her peripheral vision, as if to say, “try it again, just try it!”.  NEVER, not even once, has she ever snapped or bit any one of us.

She did, however, have a love and hate relationship with Star. Star and Bandit used to run in fast circles around the yard, in this crazy frenzy. It was very entertaining, and they had a ball together. Through the years, though, they developed food aggression, and they had MANY fights, some brutal.

Then there was the darn skunk. It was awful, the smell, and both of them ran back in the house and proceeded to roll about all of our linens and furniture. We bathed them in de-skunking formula, and we bathed ourselves several times, as well. Ross and I could NOT shake the smell. Ross even got sent home from work because his co-workers couldn’t stand his stink. I found that very funny, of course. I knew for a fact, that it was Bandit that tormented that poor skunk, and she got what she deserved when it retaliated.

Everything is different now. She isn’t wandering around our home, searching for me. She isn’t seeking me out for comfort. When we had made the decision that it was time, I went bonkers with pictures and videos, but I have one huge regret. I never took videos of her when she was young. I want to close my eyes, and I want to remember her in her prime. I want to remember her jumping up to grab a treat, running in circles in the yard, making her grand escapes several times a week, because she could jump our 6′ fence, and her shying away from my forced hugs and kisses.

I miss her terribly. I want a do-over with her. My stomach hurts when I think of her. I can honestly say, that it hurts as much as the loss of my Mom, and my Grandpa.  It really does.

She was family, and now she is gone. And yes, deep down, I know it was the right decision. I KNOW.  It doesn’t hurt any less, knowing this. It hurts more, knowing that she had to suffer at all, because I couldn’t let her go.

If you consider your pet(s) part of your family, or your “child”, please make sure to take lots of pictures and videos, from the very start, all the way to the bitter end. Any maybe, just maybe, one day I will look back at her pictures, and I won’t be devastated by her absence.

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#sobusted

My Letter To Bandit

bandit

It’s really important to me for you to know how much I love you.  Love, not loved.  Because I’m still holding on.  I came back to this quiet house, and I can feel your presence. I fed the dogs, and there was your bowl, with Bailey’s carefree writing of your name.  I set it aside, because I can’t bear to throw it away, or use it for another dog.  There is no one who can replace you.

You were our smallest dog, and yet you left a huge, gaping hole in our family.  We are devastated and so extremely sad, to have said goodbye to you.  I wish I could take back all of the things I screamed out to you….. even though you pulled out our Thanksgiving turkey from the fridge, jumped out a two story window and landed on all fours, eaten more pacifiers, toys, and DIAPERS than I can count.  You had more lives than a cat, because you have always been a fighter, heart and soul.  You have fought for your life every step of the way.

You were blind, but you ran about this house as if you weren’t.  You smashed into obstacles, only to shake it off and go around.  You gobbled down your food, only to have your ailing body reject it.

You found your solace, and your comfort, with me.  You were never a cuddler, but here you came, searching for me, and desperately seeking safety in your world of confusion. I was there, oh so willingly, for it was my time with you that will be instilled in my heart for the rest of my life. I loved on you as much as you would let me.  I let my guard down and gave you my all, even though I knew you were slowly leaving me. Now your absence has left me lost, and all I can feel is this gut wrenching hole in my stomach.  The tears won’t stop, but I have to fight through them, and be strong for my children.  They will come home, and they will also feel the impact of your absence, and they will not know how to process that.

I miss you so much, my Bandito. I want you back.  I am so angry that your body failed you, when your fighting spirit would not relent. I am so angry that you were taken away from me. And I cannot bear that I will never feel your cold nose on my leg, always looking for me to bring you familiarity and comfort in your darkness. I wish you could come back and bring me out of mine.

I’m so sorry I couldn’t give you more than 14 years. You deserved so many more.

I love you more than you’ll ever know.