Thursday, May 27, 2010

Darn you grief!

Disclaimer: I had promised to blog about my wonderful race weekend but that's been put on hold. Instead I had an unexpected bad dream which caused me to wake up trembling and crying...it felt so real! The dream brought up so many thoughts and emotions about the losses of loved ones I've had. They snuck up on me and rattled me to the point of a panic attack! I haven't had one of those in awhile! I apologize in advance...this post is going to include me whining and complaining so stop reading it now if you don't like to read negative thoughts/energy. Plus this post may describe gruesome facts so stop now if you have a weak stomach! I've tried so hard to forget about it all but can't seem to shake it. Perhaps if I write it down it will decrease the negative energy that's eating me up? Losing my job/career, my mobility or independence is not the problem today. As odd as it may sound, I'm having a hard time dealing with the pit bull attack that injured me but savagely killed my beloved cat, the loss of my sweet Great Dane and most of all the unexpected loss of my dad. It was back in July when our neighbors pit bull and her 8 pups broke thru their fence and into our back yard for the third time in a month. The first time she killed my daughter's turtle, second time she tried to kill my dog. The neighbors promised me that they had repaired the fence and it would NEVER happen again. I was alone in the backyard with my dogs. I can't write about the attack, it makes me physically sick and it's becomes hard to breathe but let me just say that I wish I could forget it! I still have flashbacks that occur out of the blue, randomly without warning. Especially the vision of the dogs not only brutally killing my cat,"Stinkerbelle" who was 18 yrs old but quite spry! Not only did they kill her but they went on to eat her as a lioness would share her kill with her cubs. All I could do was scream, cry and crawl to the door as the pit bull had just tackled me for the second time and clamped down on my foot and hand. I must give my sweet cat credit for saving MY life....if it hadn't been for her distracting the dogs, they would have been happy continuing to maul me! My dogs and I survived, Stinkerbelle didn't. The sheriff came out, and since the neighbors weren't home, he suggested that he shoot and kill the pitbull and her pups since none of us were comfortable with moving them back to their home. I begged him not to, I don't blame the dogs, they are neglected and acted out when their prey drive kicked in! They receive no care, socialization, training or discipline. They are left to their instincts. Let me be clear...I do NOT think that pit bulls are bad as a breed. However I believe that if you are going to have a powerful breed that has the propensity to be dangerous then you as an owner have a higher standard/level of responsibility to train, discipline, socialize and nurture that dog. I also am a lover of large, powerful breeds of dogs and have never been afraid of one. I'm less trusting of the smaller breeds, some of them don't seem stable to me! To make matters worse, the neighbors never came to check on me, call me or apologize! Several of my neighbors along with the sheriff dept came to my rescue and removed the dogs from my yard and repaired the fence to keep it from happening again. However since that dreadful day, I am now terrified of it happening again! I can no longer go into my back yard to relax, garden or just sit without always being on guard! We went thru the proper channels and a judge labeled their dogs dangerous vicious dogs and demanded that the neighbors rebuild their fence or build a separate enclosure for the dogs. It's been almost a year and they've none nothing! We are willing to re-enforce their fence from our side. My hubby is quite the handyman and has already made a plan, measured it all out down to the last nail. We attempted to contact them and offer to do all the labor, all we asked for was the name of their home owners insurance company. We felt it only fair that we file a claim with THEIR insurance or they could pay for the materials out of their pocket, it was their choice. They have decided to not reply to us and they refuse to tell us who their insurance company is. I'm embarrassed to report that we cannot afford to purchase the necessary supplies. There's just no room in our budget yet. I don't feel right in making it a higher priority than our bills,medical expenses and helping the kids with some of their expenses. My hubby did what he could with what he had to patch certain areas but sadly the fence continues to rot away. I've always believed that certain diagnosis were being given to people who don't really have them. Like agoraphobia, PTSD,depression etc. I've also always thought I was somehow immune to mental health issues. Especially since I had such a great spiritual life....I'm a believer, I have faith, I am blessed beyond what I deserve! I thought as long as I stayed positive, avoided negativity, had an attitude of gratitude, things like depression, despair, panic attacks and PTSD would never find me. I was wrong! I hate to admit that I've been dealing with these "issues" for over a year now. I finally admitted I had problems that I couldn't fix by myself and reached out for help. I've made progress, lot's of progress but like many illnesses, some aren't "cured" right away, some aren't cured at all! Most, like mine, need continued treatment and maintenance work. I kinda forgot about that, or didn't want it to be true. Although i didn't cause the traumatic event, I am responsible for asking for help, doing the work and following through with treatment and management of my illnesses. I just rescheduled an appt with my psychiatrist who will help me, that I have faith in! My second loss of a loved one was my sweet Great Dane, Lucy. I rescued Lucy when she was 4 weeks old. My vet knew i was interested in getting a great dane and called me one day to inform me that a couple had 12 puppies and their mother had just died from bloat. The couple was bottle feeding them and needed help asap! I sat on the floor of their garage and was trying to pick one out when Lucy crept over to my lap and just timidly climbed in it. She was trembling and just looked up at me with those beautiful blue eyes. Suddenly she laid her head in my hand and just let out a big sigh and started nursing my thumb. That was it! She was mine! I had no intention of taking a puppy home that day, I was just going to look at them and then come home and think about it. However,in that moment, I couldn't fathom leaving without her! My son and I stopped at the grocery store for for formula, bottles etc. I informed my hubby that we were the new parents of a lovely Great Dane! Congrats honey, it's a girl! LOL He wasn't very happy with my lone decision. That first night I got very little sleep. Lucy squealed and cried unless I was holding her. Finally we both crashed on the couch with her on my chest wrapped up in a blankie. This routine continued until I bought her a crate. She loved her crate as long as she could see me so of course, the crate stayed right by my side of the bed. Within months, she outgrew that crate. I had to order the super colossal size crate online. Within 3 short days while waiting on the crate, Lucy found our bed. She liked her crate but she loved our bed! I thought it was so cute how she would lay in between Jack and I and would lay her head on a pillow and spoon me! It wasn't as cute when the crate arrived and she refused to sleep in it at night! She would nap in it all day but come sundown, we would find her in our bed, her head on her pillow, waiting for me to come to bed. We made the mistake of not being firm with her and so needless to say, Lucy slept with us for 10 1/2 years! Oh and she had my hubby wrapped around her big ol paw within 3 days! She was the first and only dog to creep into my heart and stay there! I've never been as totally in love with a dog as I was with her. She was the perfect dog! Never did anything naughty or wrong. She was a mama's girl, my velcro dog who never let me out of her sight. She was a German Great Dane and grew beyond what we could ever imagine. At 2 years of age, she was 37 inches at the withers and weighed 169 lbs! She was considered a Fawnikin since her mom was a harliquin and her dad was a solid fawn color. So she was a brown, black and white dane...so beautiful! She was so well trained and so mellow that I started taking her to the nursing homes and many charity events...she was quite a conversation piece! I took her to Petco and later Petsmart almost every weekend. It would always take us over an hour to get out of these stores because everyone wanted to gawk at her, remind me that she was big and always and I mean always, someone would ask, "you got a saddle for that horse?" I used this time to educate folks about Great Danes and their needs. Things like, they make great pets but are people dogs, they prefer to always be with their people. They should always be house dogs, they will automatically be couch loungers and are not high energy dogs and are actually quite fragile dogs. I swatted many a naughty kid who tried to ride her like a pony! My family knew I would have a hard time when she died...and they were right. I think what made it worse was, during the pitbull attack, she was there and tried to defend me, getting bit as well. She was a nervous wreck after the attack, trembling, shaking and refusing to go outside. Later that night, she began throwing up. I attributed it to the trauma and fear. However, it continued for days. A trip to the vet threw me for a loop....Lucy had cancer. We treated her symptoms and I vowed to not let her suffer for one minute. On September 17th, 2009, Lucy crossed the rainbow bridge(great poem). Our vet came to us and put her down on her blankie lying under her favorite tree, a weeping willow. She and I spent many hours hanging out under the tree, being read to while getting a belly scratch. I named her Lucy because I loved Lucille Ball and the I love Lucy show. Plus my Lucy had reddish fur on her head. I'm now waiting until I'm well enough to get a tattoo. Before she passed away, we took an ink stamp pad and dipped her huge paws in the ink and made paw prints on paper. I want a tattoo with her paw print in the middle of a heart and have the "I love Lucy" logo written around it. I'll have it put on my side, where she always was, attached to my hip. I miss her so much my heart actually aches at times. Although her passing was terribly painful, her life with us, the memories of her, brought me so much joy...she was a beautiful blessing! The third and most epic loss was my dad. He died suddenly on December 6,2009. I must give God credit for his timing is perfect. I was fortunate to have spent the day with Dad the day before he died. I was able to tell him I loved him and hug him one more time. I got the call from the hospital that he was there and being coded. The nurse says, if you want to see your dad again, you better get here quick! I panicked and said "but I'm an hour away! Please tell him it's ok to go and that I love him!" To this day I still don't know why those words came out...I was selfish and didn't want him to go, ever! The only reason I can come up with was God put those words in my mouth and out they came?! I jumped in my car, threw the flashers on and for about 30 minutes I flew down Hwy 287! Suddenly a feeling came over me and I immediately slowed down, put the car on cruise control and went the speed limit. My dad's words popped in my head..."Pumpkin you better slow down, I'm already gone, it's ok" No tears came either, I was always expected to be the calm one, like my dad. So for the next 30 minutes, I just talked to my dad. I promised to be strong, not to fall apart and take care of mom. When I arrived at the hospital, my brother was waiting on me in the parking lot, it was terribly cold that day. He walked up to me and while embracing me he whispered, "We no longer have a daddy" To which I replied "I know". My brother looked confused and asked "How do you know? We didn't call you cause we didn't want you to get upset while driving" I just assured him that I knew dad didn't survive, that it was just a feeling." The hospital had kept his body there so I could see him again. I went in, talked to dad's body, fixed his hair, and gave him a hug and a kiss. Still no tears came. My brother kept asking me if I was ok? Then I heard him tell my mom and grandmother that I must be in shock, cause I'm being so stoic, calm and not crying. My mom replied "She's just like her father,remember?" I reminded them of what dad said to me about hysterics and tears...."they don't solve a thing and they only make your face less pretty, Pumpkin" The following week was a blur. I stayed with mom and we made all the arrangements and all the phone calls. I hate to admit it but in some odd way, I actually enjoyed the time I got to spend with my mom. I hadn't stayed overnight at my childhood home in at least 26 years. Mom was quite fragile and upset but did amazingly better than I expected. My brother, mother and I spent hours going through boxes of photos, reminding each other of "do you remember when dad......?" It felt good to be together again. The funeral was touching and I hope we made dad proud as we tried to respect his wishes for his memorial. I found an old school paper/poem that I had to write in third grade. It was a report on who is my dad? After much thought, I decided to read it at the graveside service. I hope I made him proud since I was able to read it aloud all the way through without any tears. It's been 5 almost 6 months since he's been gone. Oddly enough I still haven't shed a tear. I feel a bit guilty about that....I know how much I loved my daddy and how much I miss him but I fear others question my love since there's been no tears, no outpouring of grief. I assure you the grief is there, the tears are there too, I have no idea why they won't flow? All that comes to mind is my love and my grief over my father is MY love, it's MY grief, it's MY pain. A public display of it would benefit no one and change nothing. My daddy is gone, I'm no longer anyone's pumpkin or daddy's little girl. The one thing I do need to do is forgive him for leaving and maybe have a little talk with him every now and again. I realize I'm an adult and my dad is gone yet when am I going to stop worrying whether he's still proud of me now? HHmm?! I think my psychiatrist is going to earn his pay this time! LOL! So there's my losses all typed out.....do I feel better? Only time will tell. I don't know why but I just can't share anything else with anyone else about my dad right now. I guess it's me being selfish again. Maybe someday I'll tell you about him. Right now I'm happy keeping his memory locked up with me. I'm just not ready to open that box so to speak. That's all for now. Darn that Grief!

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I have goosebumps and I'd like to find you and wrap my arms around you and make it all go away.

    I have been through some of the things that you have and I suffer from a few illnesses (some which have and may be debilitating in the future).

    One thing you should not have to go through is the issue of the fence. That is just crap.

    I have always wanted a Great Dane. Beautiful dogs. I have 3 rabbits and 2 cats now, so that is out of the question. Plus my husband has really bad asthma, so I don't think pets are in our future. I know I'm going to be a basket case when each one of them has to go to their next lives.

    I lost my dad, wow, it's about 9 years ago now...but he's never far from my heart. I wrote a poem for him that I want to share with you - sending you much love over the net -

    Heaven's roll call was short that day,

    So Dad was asked to come and stay.

    He left me then, but all this while, when I think of Him, I smile :-)

    Still there is this empty pain, that I try not to entertain.

    I do not mark the day he passed, but let it silently slip past.

    The tears I brush aside are few...because that's want dad said to do.

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