Category Archives: coping

I’m Not Ready . . .

This is about the dogs . . . no, there isn’t a health crisis or anything to worry about . . . they are fine . . . each of them got a clean bill of health at their annual check-up . . . and I heard the “as they get older . . .” speech from Lovely Vet . . . and in my mind I’m screaming “they’re just puppies!!!”

But they aren’t anymore . . . Rocky is 8 and Millie is 7 . . . according to Lovely Vet that classifies them as “senior citizens” in the dog world.  Rocky came to live with us in February 2009 – he was just shy of four months old.  Millie came to live with us in April 2010 – she was about 8 months old.  They were babies when they entered my life and, for some odd reason, I still think of them as puppies . . .

Millie has a touch of arthritis in her front legs and is getting some gray on her muzzle.  She has gray eyebrows and a lot of gray hair on her belly.  Other than that she’s still as active as a puppy.

Rocky is just generally slowing down.  Getting pickier about what he eats, slower to get up in the morning, sleeping a little more soundly and harder to wake up sometimes.  But let the dogs next door start barking, a cat cross his path, or a squirrel make a dash across the yard and he takes off like a puppy.

They were with me during the last months of my marriage to XH.  They were by my side when I was learning how to be a single woman for the first time ever in my life.  They happily embraced Prince Charming when he came to live with us.  They were the reason I got out of bed a lot of the time after Prince Charming died.  They have been the one constant in my life over the past 7 years . . . and I can’t imagine my life without them.

But . . . but . . . but . . . I know that day is going to come . . . and with them being so close in age and so attached to each other it’s entirely possible that I might lose them both at about the same time . . . something I can’t bear to think about . . . .

But today is not that day.  Today they are chasing the birds, meeting the new puppy that lives behind us, introducing themselves to the new kittens that live next door (long story involving Lovely Neighbor Mike and his feral cat).  But in the back of my mind I know that I need to think about this . . . and I do my Scarlett O’Hara impression . . .  I’ll think about that tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day . . .

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Conversations With Rocky & Millie

I’m a single girl.  I live alone with two large dogs.  Some of the conversations I have with them are pretty funny.

Yes I’ve actually said all of these things to them on a pretty regular basis.

What are you doing?

You aren’t helping.

I’m not going anywhere without you (when they follow me into the bathroom because they think I’ll sneak out and go walking without them.)

Come back here.

You need to move.

Do you have to poop on a hill?

What are you eating?

You can’t eat that!

Don’t eat that!

Don’t let him pee on you!

Don’t pee on your sister!

You have to wait.  Bubba has to poo

You have to wait.  Sissy has to poo

We aren’t going that way (when they smell something interesting in the area we just passed).

Watch your head (when they aren’t paying attention and about to run into something)

Wait, wait (when we are waiting to cross the street)

Wait, there’s a car (when Millie thinks we’ve waited long enough and she wants to go.)

Careful (when its slick and I need them to stay close to my side)

You have to wait for him to finish (once Rocky walks away from his food dish, anything he leaves is fair game for her.)

That belongs to him!

My finger is in there.

Do not make me put on my shoes and come out there! (Usually when they are out in the yard barking and they won’t come when I call their names.  Last time this happened was a couple of weeks ago . . . there was a possum in the alley playing possum.)

Make up your mind you’re letting out the hot (winter)/cold (summer).  (After Rocky scratches at the back door and wants in but hesitates when I actually open the door to let him in.)

And everyone worries that I’m lonely living here in The Little House all by myself . . .

 

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Hachiko

Hachiko, was an Akita dog that belonged to a professor at the University of Tokyo. Every day he would meet his master at Shibuya Station until one day in 1925 when the professor never returned. Unbeknownst to Hachiko, his master had suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage and would never come home again.

Over the years, I’ve heard the story of Hachiko and thought it was wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time.  The poor dog never understood why his human never returned . . . and spent his life waiting for him . . .

After Prince Charming died, I saw a real life example of the devotion that Hachiko showed for his human . . . Rocky never understood why Prince Charming never came home.  He sat at the door that first night waiting for the car to pull up in front of the house and Prince Charming to come and “rassle” with him.  When I finally went to bed that night, Rocky sat at the top of the stairs sure that Prince Charming would be home shortly and he didn’t want to miss him.  It shattered my already broken my heart.

It went on for a many weeks after the funeral, Rocky would walk through the house wondering where Prince Charming could be.  He’d sit at the front door, or outside at the gate, waiting for the car to pull up in front of the house.  He’d sit at the top of the stairs every night and rush down them first thing in the morning expecting to find Prince Charming at his seat at the kitchen table.  Every time it happened it shattered my already broken heart.

After a while, Rocky’s vigils got fewer and farther between.  I would find him occasionally sitting at the gate or at the front door just looking at nothing in particular.  Or sitting at the top of the stairs when I would say good night to him and tell him I’m going to bed.  Each time it happened it shattered my broken but somewhat healing heart . . .

Fast forward to this weekend . . . for some reason Rocky has started his vigil again.  And it’s breaking my broken but somewhat healing heart.

I guess I’ve gotten used to the hole in my heart and my life from where Prince Charming should be.  It’s usually when someone else tells me how much they miss him and the big hole in their heart and life his death has left that I totally fall to pieces.  But when Prince Charming’s beloved Rock Lobster (his nickname for Rocky) shows me that he misses Prince Charming, too, it turns me into a puddle of snot.  And I can’t really do that because it upsets Millie to see me cry so much . . . it’s just a damn vicious circle.

I think the people who told me that this gets easier over time lied to me.  This shit never gets any easier because it jumps out of left field and strangles the shit out of you.

 

 

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Getting Chastised for Chastising

Last week, I was chastised for chastising someone for using the “r” word in a public post on Facebook.

A friend from high school posted an article about Sarah Silverman calling for a military coup to oust President Trump from office.  His only description of the article he posted was the following “You went full retard.  Never go full retard.”  Apparently this is a quote from a movie called “Tropic Thunder” . . . a movie that I’ve never seen and I was not familiar with that quote.  My only comment was “You used the word retard.  Never use the word retard.”

After a short discussion with me and another friend who objected to the “r” word, the friend who posted the article apologized for using the offending word, changed his description of the article and removed the posts that discussed the offending word.  I thanked the friend for the changes he made to his post and we parted ways as friends.  At least I think we parted as friends because he and I never had any further discussions about the post.

During the discussion about the offending word, a second (much closer friend) said that I was wrong to post my comments publicly and I should have shared my comments with the posting friend in a private message.  My response that the posting friend made the comments in public and it was proper for me to make my comment in public.  It was no different than if we were sitting somewhere enjoying dinner or drinks and he had used that word.  Again, the closer friend told me that I was being disrespectful and unprofessional.

Well, here’s where things got interesting.  My close friend said that if I had made such a disrespectful comment to him in public, our friendship would have ended.  He went on even more to tell me that I was unprofessional and disrespectful and things would be better served in a private conversation.  I pointed out to close friend that it only took one sentence to show posting friend the error in his ways and he changed the post.  The only one who seems to have a problem with my tactics were him . . . and he didn’t make the post.  After a few more back and forth messages, I told my friend that we would have to agree to disagree on this topic.  It was too close to my heart to act in a “professional manner.”  I’m not a professional FB user, and I don’t think I offended or upset posting friend (I didn’t call him names or use vulgar language).  Everybody that knows me knows that I don’t pull punches with my opinion (especially since Prince Charming’s death – life’s too short for stupid shit) and everyone knows where they stand with me.  Close friend agreed to the “agree to disagree” truce and we ended the conversation.

But now I’m wondering if close friend is really such a close friend after all.  I can’t express myself freely in his presence?  He can’t accept my “bulldog” mentality about things I’m passionate about and allow me to have discussions with others in his presence that he might not agree with?  He is only comfortable with my opinions if I express them in the same matter that he would.

This disturbs me more and more as I think about it.  I am sad at the way the world works these days.

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I Thought I Could Do This

Right after Prince Charming was killed, I wanted to stay in bed, under the covers, and wish the world would go away.  But . . . I had to work to keep a roof over my head, keep the dogs fed, keep the dogs healthy, keep paying the bills and keep up appearances that I was “okay” . . . even if I wasn’t.

The one year anniversary came around and, once again, I wanted to stay in bed, under the covers and wish the world would go away.  But I took a day off instead and did stuff that wouldn’t remind me of him or have me constantly remember the date (I wrote the the date a lot at my old job at the mental health place).  I had to keep up appearances that I was “okay” . . . even if I wasn’t.

The two year anniversary came around and, even though I wanted badly to wish the world away again, I had started a new job just shy of two weeks before the anniversary.  I couldn’t tell my new boss that I needed a day off to stay home with my head under the covers wishing the world away.  My co-worker was facing the loss of her father that particular week and I was “holding down the fort” and keeping up appearances that I was “okay” . . . and thinking that maybe I just might be okay.

Sometime after the two year anniversary I realized that the three year anniversary would be a bigger challenge . . . because the country would be celebrating a new president.  The anniversary date of Prince Charming’s death happens to be Inauguration Day.  Every four years the country will be having a big party on a day that broke my heart.

Over the past few weeks, here are some of the things I’ve heard . . .
On January 20, we will hit the ground running and . . .
When President Obama leaves office on January 20 . . .
Mrs. Trump will not be moving into the White House on January 20 . . .
When Mr. Trump takes office on January 20 . . .
Join us for coverage of the Inauguration on January 20 . . .
When the sentence running through my brain is . . .
Prince Charming, 51, of Springfield, Ohio, left us unexpectedly, Monday, January 20, 2014.
Yup.  You guessed it.  I want to stay in bed, under the covers, and wish the world would go away.  But I can’t.  I have to do my best to show that I’m “okay” . . .
Even when I’m not . . . and I’d really rather not play that game this year . . .

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Let’s Put On Big Girl Panties

I have a sensitivity to pictures of car crashes.  I think that it’s horrible that news websites post these kinds of pictures on their websites and their social media sites.  I’m very vocal about how difficult these pictures are for family members and loved ones of the victims to see.  I’m forever asking some news site or another to consider the feelings of those near and dear to the victims and to take down the picture.  Sadly they never do.

My comments often start interesting discussions with others about how they agree that the pictures are hurtful and serve no purpose.  There are discussions with others who think that I’m too sensitive and should just “not look” at the pictures.

Today was one of those days.  There was a fatal accident in the little town where Prince Charming and I grew up.  The local newspaper posted a picture of the car involved but said they wouldn’t identify the victims pending “notification of the next of kin.”

I posted my usual comment requesting that the picture be taken down.  I explained about Prince Charming’s accident and explained how thankful that the local news agencies where he died did not publish any pictures of his accident.  I asked that these grieving families be given the same consideration.

Let’s just say a discussion ensued . . . some people agreed with me . . . some people did not.  One young lady commented suggested that I “put on big girl panties” . . .

Oh honey you do not want to go down that path with me.  Not after I’ve suffered through the third Christmas without Prince Charming by my side.  Not when the anniversary of Prince Charming’s death is a mere two weeks away.  Oh hell to the no . . .

I wanted to say all of the things that you will read next but I remembered something I read about not arguing with idiots because they bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. This is what I wanted to say but didn’t because the person in question is very young, has no life experience, and has no idea what she’s talking about . . .

Dear Young Lady . . .

I put on big girl panties . . . when two troopers came to where I work and told me that the man I loved more than anything else in this world (and had loved for almost 40 years) was dead.

I put on big girl panties . . . when I had to tell his son, his brother, and his mother that he had been killed.

I put on big girl panties . . . when I had to try to explain to our two dogs why Daddy wasn’t ever coming home again.

I put on big girl panties . . . when I had to make arrangements for his funeral . . . and I had no idea what type of service he wanted.

I put on big girl panties . . . when I dealt with the vile, evil, hurtful things that his ex-wife and her daughter thought I “needed to know” about the “perfect man” that had been dead less than 24 hours.

I put on big girl panties . . . when I stood next to his closed casket for three hours while the seemingly never ending line of mourners told me how sorry they were for my loss, how wonderful he had been to them, how sad they were that they would never hear his laugh or see his smile again

I put on big girl panties . . . when I stood at the side of his grave and realized I had to let them put his body in the cold ground.  And I had to walk away and start a new life without him.

I put on big girl panties . . . when I dealt with OSHA, a wrongful death claim, a criminal case against the man that killed him, and settling his estate . . . all at the same time.

I put on big girl panties . . . every day single day that I have to live without him.

In the big scheme of things, a picture on a website probably isn’t that big of a deal.  But to a grieving person it is a huge deal.  It’s a reminder of what you’ve lost.  It’s a reminder of how much your life changed, through no fault of your own, in the blink of an eye.

And, sadly, there are more than a few people who don’t understand that.  They won’t understand that until they go through it themselves.  And we, the grieving, pray daily that nobody ever has to join this club that no one wants to be a part of.

 

 

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Well That Didn’t Go As Planned

I really do have good intentions when I do the Post A Day thing.  But life happens.

Going on vacation in October is not a good thing when you work at a school.  Especially when your co-worker goes on a two week vacation after you get back.  It took me until just before Thanksgiving week to get caught up on stuff.  Only to be behind again because of Thanksgiving break.

I’m tired of the election stuff.

I’m excited about the 0-16 Parade that is supposed to happen in Cleveland if the Browns really do go all season without a win.

I’m excited about Christmas . . . shopping, decorating, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (even though I’m going to cry through the whole thing).

I’m planning my 2017 vacation . . . I’m going to Florida . . . again.  I thought about going to Myrtle Beach but the hotel where Prince Charming and I stayed got bought out last year and the parent company isn’t offering the same deals as before.  The discount is better but only for certain dates.  Ugh.

I guess I have no motivation to write . . . I’m too busy doing life.

 

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