The first 3 months of 2015 have been very difficult for me. It involved losses that led to change, and I do NOT like change (I know I can’t be alone here). As you know, I lost my mom only 2 months ago. I am still reeling from that especially since the sickness came on so quickly. That meant I had no time to prepare, research, or wrap my head around the whole situation. I could only trudge through the events that dictated my every move.
One week after my mom went to heaven, we found out my beloved Chocolate Lab, Henry (my favorite as listed in my Bio) had bone cancer. I went from hospice for my mother to palliative care for our family dog. Henry was more than just a furry companion. We bought him from a local breeder in the midst of my multiple hospital admissions. I had learned of my RSD diagnosis and was mourning the loss of what I had known as my “normal life”. During the day when my daughter was at preschool and my husband at work, I had a difficult time moving around and was lonely.
Henry kept me company and we were nap time buddies. Since he was a puppy he could sleep on my chest and we’d snuggle. I could talk, yell, cry and the same loving look shone in his eyes accompanied by the wagging of his furry tail.
Henry’s comforting, huggable presence got me through the weeks I lay in bed with a pain flare after my mom passed away. (Of course, my husband and daughter did as well-but they couldn’t be there 24/7).
My Mom adored him too. She called him a mini cow, instead of a dog. She lovingly referred to him as her ‘Henry Boy’. Henry had amused her with the way he always offered his paw to anyone who would pet him. We would laugh at his funny antics—he was afraid of well, everything. He once tried to jump in the air when he heard some pans drop onto the floor. He couldn’t quite jump off all four paws so he did this warrior type yoga pose.
We have another dog, (the one who’s antics would fill her own blog post) that always wanted to play. But by the time we rescued her, Henry had turned 8 and wanted nothing to do with a one year old pup with endless energy. He responded to her by hiding behind the couch. My husband (who loved Henry), had once said, “Even when he is by himself, he is not the alpha dog.” I hated to admit it but it was true. But Henry was exactly what I needed.
I miss hearing the ’thump, thump’ of his long fuzzy tail between the back of the sofa and the wall when we mentioned his name. I miss the way he seemed to know when my hands were burning more than usual and would lick them. Or the way he sensed my sadness and would put his head on my lap.
I titled this post “Unconditionally”, because that word has been on my mind. A mom will love you no matter what. You do not have to be a ‘perfect’ child to earn her love. There will never be someone that can replace that same hug or the loving look reflected in your mother’s eyes.
A loving pet (for me it was Henry) trusts and would do whatever it felt would please you. Pets are always there for you- and they can’t talk back (try that with teenagers).
When writing, I am so wrapped up in my character and his/her personality that I feel a similar unconditional feeling. I love the character I created- even if I have to make him/her the antagonist. This probably explains why it pains us if it turns out you really need to kill your character or rewrite your story without him/her. This also could pertain to removing a particularly flowery phrase I think is literary genius, but not essential (or at least I heard that can happen).
Each person will experience grief in their own way and time frame. One fact I have learned from my grief counselor- the perfect grieving process does not exist. I have to admit I am still grieving and it feels horrendous. It paralyzes me from doing other things.
I guess I am just waiting for this big hug from God saying it is okay. You did your best. Your loved ones are safe and they watch over you. It is okay to look forward and enjoy things in your life.
I have faith that when I am ready to receive this, I know God, who loves us unconditionally, and has been waiting patiently, will do just that.