Deaf Dog!

The Awkward First Post

Posted in Uncategorized by Heather on November 19, 2009

Spider journal

Originally uploaded by lopsidefundip

Today was a day for planning and prepping for tomorrow. I did manage to finish my little Spider journal and tomorrow morning I’ll take pictures and upload them into the shop. I also have to take pictures of all the stock I still have.

My unintended sabbatical is the result of a conspiracy of events that prevented me from maintaining my online shop- my ancient laptop finally burst into flames, my dog got sick, I moved, my mom had a hip replaced and required care and temporary financial support.

Finally and most tragically, my beloved deaf dog Abuelita, died on Oct 14. My grief is immense. She was the great love of my life and I’m coping poorly. I am trying to be kind to myself, I am trying to move forward. I’ve been procrastinating reopening the shop in part because I don’t want to write her epitaph or rewrite my shop announcement.

People really loved her. She went everywhere with me and so I am still (even a month later) occasionally ambushed by some one who hasn’t heard about her passing and it still rattles me. Frequently I am asked, “Are you getting another dog?” and despite knowing that they mean well, I have to choke down a lot of anger.

I know that my anger is just a natural inflammatory reaction that protects a part of me that is broken and fragile. I am trying to forgive myself and others.

I remind myself that I have also received incredible moments of grace, sometimes from unexpected sources. Complete strangers have offered up such sensitive, deeply personal solidarity that I am flooded with a breath-taking gratitude. I cling to that.

When people met Abuelita and learned that she was geriatric, they would sometimes ask what I would do when she died. I always said that I would probably volunteer at a shelter for a while. I’ve never gone out looking for a pet, they always find me.

I was thinking about volunteering the other day. I was at the pet store and very proud of my emotional fortitude during the whole visit. But then as I waited in line at the checkout, the person behind me had a little red Pomeranian that walked around my feet and I just burst into tears through the transaction and the whole subway ride home. I’m capable of laughing at the ridiculousness of that, but still pretty powerless to prevent it.

When I get an invitation to go out after work, I automatically think, “Do I have time to get the dog?” I have to force myself to turn out the kitchen light when I leave the house. When I feed the cat I have to pull back a hand that instinctively reaches for the place where the dog’s food was kept. I look for her when I wake and in absent-minded moments as I move through the rooms of my house.

I find myself noting the empty spaces that she used to fill, and the series of first and finals. The first time I have eaten chicken soup in five years that I did not feed her the carrots. Washing the last of her dog shirts and placing it in her drawer of little coats- once useful, now an archive. The first time I sleep through the night. The last time I speak to her groomer. I have just now finished the last tissue from the box I bought on the day she died.

I’m not ready to volunteer. I have nothing yet to give. I am still struggling to take care of myself. To cobble together some kind of structure inside which, the splintered little parts of myself might be sheltered from outside forces.

It’s a shame to start this blog off will such whiny, long-winded complaints, (I think the standard tone is shiny, slightly-delusional optimism) but if I waited to start until I felt happy and normal, I would probably have to wait a very long time.

So here we go.