from February 18, 2013
Warning: stark details about death contained within. Read at your own risk.
I’ve felt out of my head all day today. I guess out of my heart and body too. I was speaking quieter and looked more tired and had a change in my voice that two different coworkers commented on. Gave in to a blueberry scone and hazelnut latte for comfort, and soon it’ll be the 361 hoodie and threadbare, 11-year old basketball sweatpants.
We put our family dog Shadow down on Friday. It was the first pet I’ve ever been present for that. I actually held him when they put in the needle, saw his eyes glaze over, and heard his lungs take their last breath. I didn’t cry too much at the time, but I remember the shock going through me. The vet was talking all the time, outlining the specifics of what would happen, and he made it sound gradual. Maybe that’s why I panicked, as if I didn’t expect the effects to be so quick. I cried a bit on the way back to mom’s house, and some more going to practice that night. Nothing like when grampa passed.
We made the decision earlier in the week. I came up to mom’s to dig his grave on Tuesday. It all felt so crass, talking about when we could work it into our schedules. I mean hell, we were planning how we were going to kill him. And he probably knew all along, ‘cause I think animals can sense that, just like humans. While we were at the vet waiting in the front room, I sat with him on the floor. He laid on the carpet for a while, got antsy like usual, and started scooting around on the linoleum, still laying down. I got up once for my phone to check the time—the vet didn’t see us ‘til a ½ hour after our arranged time—and resumed sitting next to Shadow when I returned.
At first he started crawling for the long rug that led from the front door to an office, then he sat up and plopped right into my lap. He wasn’t using me to get to the other side, ‘cause he didn’t attempt pushing off and onto the other rug. All he did was lay down in my lap, right up until the nurse came to get us. Why? Why did he have to do that? Was he trying to tell me he wanted to be with me at the end? Was he scared and trying to say, “Don’t do this—I’ll get better!” ? Was it just because I was closer than the rug? We’re supposed to be the ones taking care of him, and he’s scared shitless. I can’t help thinking our mantra that it was all for his own good, to ease his suffering, was just a way to make us feel better. Now it’s doing anything but.
Between Tuesday and Friday, I sometimes wondered what it’d be like to carry his body after he died. Whether it’d be stiff and unnatural. Turns out it wasn’t. Just felt like he was in a deep sleep, completely limp, heavier than any other time. After we buried him, I went to practice and was pretty subdued for the rest of the day. I told a joke or two, and ran through some new vaulting drills. I was incredibly proud of the newest ones and all the progress they’re making. On the way up to Winter Amidships, I actually slept, probably the first time in years. I either drive or talk with the girls, try to get them off their phones and coaxing some details out of them about their lives, so they don’t stay in THEIR heads. I may have even gone back to sleep after a pit stop too.
I napped a lot on Friday night too, as certain Facebook pictures will outline (hilarious, though 🙂 ). I must have caught up on sleep because I actually remembered a blip of a dream. All my sleep deprivation, I’m convinced, has chased them away for at least 6 months. And yes, the one pathetic part I remember was that I was busy on the computer and was giving annoyed responses to my mom who was asking me to take Shadow out. Thank you, Subconscious, for illustrating that beautifully. My mom and the girls kept trying to wake me up so I could change into PJs, and it was 2:37 am when I finally did. My body interrupted my plans for an early workout, so I only got in about 15 minutes. The rest of the day felt fairly normal—jokes, ERS, the dance, judging code flags, haggling girls about their table manners. I even got out on the dance floor for more than the bare minimum—and the DJ played It’s Time!!! It has become an anthem for me lately. I was thrilled for that.
I barely got a longer workout in Sunday morning, over knee and hamstring pains that thankfully went away. I think I might’ve cried if it persisted, ‘cause there’s nothing worse than wanting to get in shape and having legitimate physical reasons not to resume your favorites. The rest of Sunday was kind of a daze, skyping with a friend, watching a couple Lost Girl episodes, being kinda disappointed that Kenzi is fictional. Today started well, great coffee and smooth drive into the burbs. I even showered, left on time, and had most of my food prepared for the day. I couldn’t even blame my mood on a bad start.
Best word that’s coming to mind is hollow. I had two crying bouts during this entry, and remembering how I mourned for my grampa, I’m sure it’ll just take a good cry to get past all this. Seems like my emotions are pretty screwed up still, that I can’t explain why I do or don’t cry when it’s appropriate. Writing has always been how I sort sh!t out, and this time my best guess is that it’s all guilt, at how I could’ve been better with him. The same guilt I had for grampa. What’s it gonna take to kick my a$$ in to gear? Therapy? Trail running again? I can’t even see how talking would help, ‘cause there’s nothing someone else can say except talk about how he lived, or that they’re sorry, or talking about their own loved ones. I’m not saying those points don’t matter, only that I’ve had those all over the past couple days and I think my mind’s own walls are laughing at whatever attempts they make thus far.
So hurray for me. I have to find a way past the guilt and letting go the fact I can’t do anything for Shadow now. My beliefs don’t include a heaven where ‘I get to see him’ again. I can hope but I know deep down it’s not true. If I could feel the part of him that says I did what I was supposed to do, and that he’s not mad, and that he loved me, and accepted my idiotic tendencies and times when I shamefully misunderstood him, that’d feel better. Until then, I’m waiting for my emotions to catch up.
I have a sterling silver ring with wind currents on it, and I wear practically all the time, sometimes even in the shower, during Dag and running and vaulting and everything. You can’t cage the wind, and I want to remember and emulate that as often as I can. It goes on my right middle finger, and that’s been spasming all day today. Not sure what that’s about either.