Yesterday, on Christmas Day of 2017, we had to say goodbye to Sherlock, one of our dogs, lost to liver failure that came on very suddenly and unexpectedly. I have also had to say goodbye to Bandit, Star, and Cowboy, all within this past year.
If you are a true heartfelt dog lover, then you know that our animals are part of our family. They are encrypted into our daily lives, and they always find a spot in the corners of our hearts, and sometimes they are front and center in our hearts, if the bond is sacred and strong. Our animals love us unconditionally, no matter what. They carry us through catastrophic loss. They kiss away our tears when we have no one else, and believe me, there are way too many silent still moments of complete loneliness. They fill all of the voids that humans cannot fill, because we as human make so many careless mistakes, and we hurt others, even when we don’t mean to. Sometimes beyond repair, but hopefully not.
I have no idea how I have done this. I have sat in the vet’s office 4 times in one year. I have held my sick dying babies, and I have stared into their eyes as they left me. My mother died when I was 18, and we never had the chance to be mother/daughter in a happy and healthy environment. My Grandpa died, and I tried so hard to will him back in that hospital bed, laying next to him, but he was gone. My husband….the one person who was always laughing and spread so much joy to others…..his light went out without warning, leaving us wondering why.
I am spent. I have nothing left. I cannot say goodbye anymore. Please don’t make me say goodbye anymore.
When Ross died, our whole lives were shattered. Everything that we ever knew was gone. We were lost and delirious, and we scrambled around through our blinding and deafening distress, not knowing which way to go, but going everywhere at the same time. We had support. We had family. We had some beautiful, wonderful friends. But we did not have Ross, and the center of our family revolved around him.
I have taken on sole parenting in an awkward manner, tripping over so many obstacles that had never been there before. I have been very hard on myself, and I have had so much anger in my heart….the bitterness and resentment alone could drown me. But I know….deep down….that my children are my everything, and they love me, and I love them. I will always protect them, and I would die myself, making sure they were taken care of and provided for. Even though I still have so many doubts with some of these life changing decisions, I still push forward anyway, because there are no other options, when you have children who are looking to you for guidance. And they will never forget how you reacted to how the world treats you, so cold and cruel….but you fight to still be tender-hearted, even though you know that others may not be so gracious, and will hurt you the first chance they get.
That is where I am. I am beaten and bruised and broken, and I am still fighting to be happy. I am not oblivious or unaware of how brutal life can be, and how we all have our own demons that we battle every single morning. I am not the only one who has fallen victim to the harsh clutches of loss and disappointment. I understand the walls that we put up, and mine have never gone down (and when they have, I am terrified). If only we could gauge who to put walls up for, and who to take them down for….but we cannot. We can only trust our instincts, and pray that our spirits are not ripped from us yet again. Crawling back into that dark place is cold and lonely.
Surely, there is happiness? Surely, after all of this struggle….this raw aching pain…..this exhausting pushing and pulling, only to be left with nothing…..surely, there is something beautiful that comes from all of this torment. There has to be. I cannot imagine there not being anything…..anyone…..that can shape and enhance our lives. I have to believe this, and if I were to let go of that, then there is no point anymore.