29 October 2009
I have been trying desperately to incorporate a *pick-u/clean-up* routine with the kids. My attempts have thus far been unsuccessful. Eamon resists and resists and often makes excuses as to why he is unable to pick up his toys at that particular moment in time. The more toys that carpet the floor, the more frustrated and overwhelmed he becomes. Well, frankly, his mother becomes frustrated and overwhelmed, too. We have such limited space in this house so toys, clothes, papers, bills, books etc, strewn about take up considerable real estate. I think this feeling of having so much clutter and *stuff* will be less of a factor if when ever move. However, we live here now and we need to make the most of the space we have. I see this as putting items away after use and keeping up with the clutter. I am the only one that appears to suffer from anxiety related to the mess, clutter, and lack of space. I want some order. I want cleanliness. I am tired of the chaos. It is driving me crazy!!!
I do not know what to do with Eamon. Yeterday, he told me I was a "bad mommy." Maybe I am, as I am so incredibly frustrated with him at this point. He is so oppositional, so deviant, so insolent at times. He will sometimes refuse to answer my questions. He will yell at me. He will hit me. He will tell benign lies, but lies, nonetheless. He will refuse my requests. At times, he will snuggle with me but usually as a means to an end. He thinks that if he is *nice* to me, then I will allow him extra Wii time. I wonder how I can be firm and strong with him but also loving and nurturing. I understand that he is exploring much that is new...new school, new friends, new schedule, new expectations, new responsibilities. I am trying to be patient and understanding. Instead I feel worn out at times and fixated on the clock. How long until bedtime? How many hours? How many minutes? When will he be asleep? When will I have a chance to decompress and evaluate. When will I have a chance to cry. Alone. I feel as if I am running on reserve fuel. I am getting a bit worn out. I need to figure out how to renew and strengthen myself.
My brother's car was broken into this morning, sometime between 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM. The would be burglars smashed the window and appeared to rifle through the car. They also worked to remove the car stereo, albeit unsuccessfully. The bright side of this is the fact that the car, itself, was not stolen. It is in very good condition for it's age but if stolen, I worry that my brother would not receive much in terms of insurance proceeds, not to mention his need for reliable transportation to work. Once again, this incident causes me increased worry about his neighborhood. He reported that a neighbor had their car stolen, right in front of that neighbor's property. Blue graffitti is displayed on the tall wooden fence surrounding my brother's home. The police are contacted, the incident reported, and occasionally, the paint scrubbed off...well somewhat. Sooner or later, there will be fresh, blue graffiti and the process repeats itself. My brother has reported that he and his housemates are unable to order pizza or Chinese food for delivery. Local businesses have opted out of this option as to eliminate the potential for robbery or assault upon delivery staff. And, the coup de grace, was an incident my brother had purposefully neglected to mention until it was inadvertently mentioned by his friend, N. Apparently, a burglar broke into the house, grabbed the large blanket off of the sofa, and placed thousands of dollars of DVD's on the blanket, only to use said blanket to wrap up the contents, and head back out the window. My brother and his roommate were avid and serious collectors of expansive DVD collections. All gone now. More importantly, my brother was in the house at the time of the robbery. He was in his room! He cannot be safe and sound inside his own place of residence??? Okay, this robbery incident happened a year ago or so. The prostitutes who took up temporarily residence in front of his house (he lives on a corner) were also a concern, more of a burden. The misogynist pigs who solicited them were of concern as well. Oh wait, did I forget to mention this lovely door prize of living in his neighborhood? I worry about him. I worry that he comes home to a parking spot in the back of his house that is somewhat secluded and not particularly well lit. I worry that he cannot be safe in his own home. All of the locks on the doors mean nothing when the window can be broken and used as a point of entry. I wish he did not live there. I wish he could live somewhere that *might* be safer and with a bit less worry. I know he enjoys his roommates and the rent is reasonable. I am worried about his safety.
The day finished with a baby that seemed a bit more sensitive...a bit more clingy. Emma looked tired, with a purplish coloring to her eyelids, which means she is tired or sick or both. She spiked a fever which was quickly brought down by Ibuprofen. as the medication wore off, the fever made a return appearance. I asked Emma is her head hurt to which she replied, "no." She was sniffling a bit and laying her head on the couch pillow. She is now sleeping. I hope she awakes feeling much better. I am a bit anxious, as I always am when my babies are ill. I worry what is wrong with them and how poorly they feel. I feel so sad when my babies are sick and I want so much to help them get well. All of the H1N1 fury has caused me additional worry. She could not be vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine mist until 28 says post the administration of the seasonal flu mist. I will pray that she will soon feel better. My sweet baby. I do feel bad that she will most likely miss tomorrow's class Halloween party as she was looking forward to wearing her costume to school.
Madeline lies near me as I sit on the couch, imac in lap. I will bring this long post to a close and take the opportunity to have some snuggle time with my cute Liney. I am fortunate to have such a good pup to love, except for her tendency to have offensive gastro-intestinal issues. Though, it is the quiet of the night when the longing intensifies for my sweet Malachy. I continue to work through his passing. He was my sweet, sweet boy. So gentle, So kind, So soothing. I close my eyes and picture myself rubbing him behind the ears and back. Well, those large, soft, warm tears are intensifying. I go to hug my Madeline,
27 October 2009
Today, I determined that I really needed to get outside, with the hope that the riding mower would not fail me. I *just* mowed and bagged a plethora of lawn bags, heavy and laden with compacted leaves. The lawn was again carpeted and so I began to get the tractor out and with the objective of filling (at least) ten to fifteen bags. The beautiful, sunny days are waning, desperately holding on for another breath. As I mowed, I waved to the neighbors, pleased that I was wearing my sandals, soon to be forced into hibernation. When I got to the the back forty, I began to lament Malachy's absence. I really enjoyed watching him run around the yard with abandon. He would watch me as I mowed and I would check at which point he was in his roaming of the yard. He bounded about, untethered, and free to run and explore with abandon. I would call him and he would wag his tail and smile, walking toward me as I made another loop. I realized today how much I enjoyed watching him play in the yard while I was mowing, gardening, or hanging out with the kiddos. Okay, maybe I was a bit distracted and thus, this in the reason why I mowed over the large tree trunk in the front yard after a loop in the back. (I think we need a new blade as the mower began to sputter, eventually making the most unpleasant grinding sound). Nevertheless, this mundane fall task again reminded me of the *readjusted normalcy.* I delighted in Mal's company while I worked outside. I delighted even more in watching him be so happy.
So, I finished mowing. Well, the mower *finished*before I had completed the leaf pick-up. I came inside and cleaned up so Eamon and Emma and I could go out for our walk. I noticed the mail had come so went to retrieve it before we went to the trail. I opened up the autopsy/necropsy report from the U of M. There were medical terms that I did not understand, of course. But, I understood *enough* to understand that the cancer had riddled his body. His heart appeared to be the primary source of the tumor. I knew that the cancer had metastasized, but reading the report hit this fact home. I was amazed that this uncontrolled force was almost everywhere within him. I was also amazed that he did so remarkably well, given the seriousness of his illness. I wonder if he felt sick, tired, uncomfortable, or sad as he was not a complainer. Dr. F said he probably did not realize he had cancer until the last day of his life. I sincerely hope she is right. I hold onto her words.
I have looked back at my October posts, realizing that they have not changed in tone from October's beginning to end. I feel like I am working through this grief but become self critical that I am not working through the loss of Malachy as I *should.* Am I mourning his loss for too long a period? Am I perseverating on his absence? Would my grief flow as it has if I were in school, employed, or depression-free? Maybe so. Or, maybe I am working at it as I should. In my own way, as I know how, with all things considered.
The irony is that Malachy brought me much relief from the sometimes all-encompassing despair of depression. He mitigated it's severity. He lessened the anxiety. I now grieve his companionship but also long for his ability to unknowingly comfort.
I find the nights to be the most difficult. The house is quiet and all have gone to bed. Madeline is asleep in the corner for the evening. The nights allowed me to give Malachy undivided attention. I still enjoy my sweet Madeline's snuggling with all of my heart. I am grateful to have my time with her and give her undivided love. Yet, the nights are quieter. Too quiet. Too unsettling.
I have confidence that I will again write posts about all of the joy and silliness the day brings. I know that my life is filled with blessings and good fortune. (KNOCK ON WOOD). I have not lost sight of the wonder. Though, for now, I contemplate the business of grieving.
25 October 2009
Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.
How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.
Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!
The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.
Hear not the wind -- view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill-
In spring, the sky encircled them --
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe -- come winter's cold --
Come change -- and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go - so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, 'There is no memory of him here!'
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.
Edna St Vincent Millay (1892 -1950)
Since you died, I have not slept well...at all. I feel out of sorts right now, a sense of discomfort, that has only worsened. I realize that my depression exacerbates these feelings.
Perhaps tonight will promise a restful slumber. Or, so I hope. Wish me luck. There are times I cry as my head falls upon the pillow. No longer the sobbing, but instead, the large, warm, slow tears that fall upon my cheek.
I find a comfort in my gratitude in all that you were. Your absence is a painful reminder of how much things have changed. I struggle, as my instinct is to fight this *change* with all of my being, But, I know that I must surrender.
I continue to grieve, but with a keen eye to all of the surrounding beauty. I must not lose sight of the blessings, despite my sadness.
I miss you my sweet Shortround.
I wonder if Madeline does indeed miss her brother. They spent almost every moment of the last seven years together.
I do know that I need to continue giving her extra attention, extra hugs, extra kisses, and extra treats for a while. Extra love during this adjustment period might be just what the doctor ordered for everyone.
I feel very grateful that our family continues to have our sweet Madeline with us. She has had chronic uvetis in both eyes, which, in turn, resulted in Glaucoma in both eyes, which, in turn, caused her complete blindness. Madeline also had a bout with a neural sheath tumor in the area where her right eye once was. We remain hopeful that Dr. O removed the entire tumor as there is a risk that it may grow once more requiring additional surgery.
Madeline holds has always held her own. She does not shy away from a challenge. She has not allowed blindness to slow her down, certainly not much to be sure. She has not allowed the cancer to slow her down. She is strong. She is tough. And, we love her.
I pray that we will have many more happy years with our sweet girl. :) We love her with all of our hearts.
24 October 2009
I found myself sobbing in the bathtub this morning, while the kids were in school. I did not intend to cry, after all. Yet, I thought about how much I missed him. So many tears flowed down my face as I lie in the hot water. So many tears. So many tears.
This sadness was exacerbated by other variables. Malachy is the primary focus of my current grief. However, his passing opens some very painful wounds that have never really healed. Wounds that remain, despite my great desire that they heal.
When I am ready, I will talk about how Malachy's death stirs up the losses in my life. It stirs up so much pain. It stirs up that sense of missing and longing. It reminds me that those I so truly loved, with all of my heart, are gone. Gone forever. Yet, life must tread on. I want it to be a happy life. I need it to be a happy life. I am becoming more and more worn out from the sadness.
The business of grieving continues. I resolve to work through this as long as it takes. This is my only chance to truly heal. Not forget, nor feel the pain any less. I cannot continue my journey until I learn to truly heal from this pain.
23 October 2009
22 October 2009
21 October 2009
20 October 2009
Sometimes, there are those brief moments when you get this *super-powered* emotional boost. These interjections of the day are truly priceless and alleviate some of the exigency. One of today's favorite moment was courtesy of Emma. I had a bit of a headache and decided to lie down for a few minutes, until the Ibuprofen kicked in. Emma crawled up onto the bed and proclaimed, "Hi Miss Mama." She then put her face close to mine and we looked into each others eyes and both smiled and laughed. She began to give me about ten quick little kisses on the lips and we laughed some more. I am grateful for her silliness, kindness, empathy, and sweetness. I am truly blessed to have such a beautiful daughter. How did I get so lucky?
Emma, I love you with all of my heart, my precious girl. I will always be your "Miss Mama."
I intend no disrespect toward my wonderful friends whom I am blessed to have in my life. I am grateful for their concern. But, with respect to their opinions, I just do not want think about getting another pup right now. Malachy can not be replaced. It is unfair to my family at this point in time. It is also unfair to any potential new canine family member.
I must grieve for Malachy before I can be open to the possibility of loving another beloved puppy dog. I understand that may sound counterintuitive to some. But, I must continue in this journey...the business of grieving.
19 October 2009
There are moments when the pragmatism of his passing predominates my thinking. After all, death is part of life. We all experience loss. We all grieve. We all mourn.
I have experienced the passing of many whom I have loved with all of my heart...my parents, my grandparents, my uncle, my cousin, close friends, and dogs, after all.
Shouldn't I be a bit more stoic? Less sentimental? Less emotional? Less sad? Shouldn't all of these losses toughen me up a bit? Or, is it that these losses have caused me to react strongly to loss? I realize that I am *hyper-reactive* to loss. These losses have strengthened me greatly. They have also weakened me greatly.
Why do I grieve so for Malachy? He was not a human being, after all. So, why do I miss him so?
Why? Because. Because, he was my sweet boy. Because I truly loved him. Because, I still do.
Death is part of life and, despite it's wonder and magic, life is sometimes very painful.
I know, I know..I haven't forgotten that all important lesson my Mom would often remind her children, "whoever told you life was fair?"
Don't worry, Mom. I haven't forgotten what you taught me.
Is it bedtime yet?
18 October 2009
I miss snuggling with him, especially after Eamon and Emma have gone to bed. I miss playing with him. I miss rubbing and scratching him behind his ears. I miss taking walks with him, especially our jaunts to the bus stop to pick up Eamon. I miss holding him. I miss looking into his big, brown eyes. I miss watching him run and play in the yard. I miss playing in the leaves with him on beautiful autumn days. I miss the sound of his nails clicking against the hardwood floor. I miss seeing him in his quiet spot, under the dining room table. I miss watching the kids pet him and hug him.
I catch myself looking for him, for only a brief moment, only to have reality remind me that he is no longer here.
I miss my sweet pup.
17 October 2009
Bernard, Eamon, Emma, and I decided to get out and about to enjoy the beautiful autumn day. This afternoon, we drove out to Minnetonka Orchards in Mound. Early last week, the kids had walking pneumonia which forced them to rest and lay low for a few days. They easily recovered during this "Mom prescribed" rest time thanks to the power of pharmaceuticals (the Z-Pac). Needless to say, Eamon and Emma were anxious to resume their normal routine. Unfortunately, our plans were thwarted as we experienced a phenomenon that reinforces the belief that weather in the northern midwest is unpredictable and often eschews general expectations of so called *normal* weather patterns. This EARLY OCTOBER unpredictability presented as snow and significantly lower than seasonal average temperatures, The weather was cold, dark, dreary, and cloudy, with a mix and snow and icy rain to complete the picture, Consequently, this put a cramp in our plans to play at the park, go for walks on the trails in the neighborhood, and the most anticipated autumn activity, playing in the multitude of leaves that carpet our yard! We rake as many leaves as we can and create large piles in which to jump, crawl, hide, and roll.
Macintosh, Madeline and Malachy took part in this tradition with equal excitement. Macintosh and Malachy truly enjoyed this activity as much as the kiddos. This fall, I will miss Malachy's presence in our annual family tradition. During our autumn leaves round-up, he would become excited as we raked the leaves in the large pile as soon it would be time to to play! He would run around the yard, energized, as he knew we were going to pile leaves on him and bury him in the large pile. He would wag his tail and smile. He was so happy to play in the leaves. So happy to be outside in the fresh air. So happy to be with his family. He would smile.
I will miss his presence tomorrow as we play in the leaves. It will be much fun playing with the kids and jumping in the pile with them. Madeline mght want to get in on the action, too ! Humans or canines, they will all be buried in leaves only to jump out from under to run across the yard, only to return in a mad dash and leap into the large pile of leaves. We will all have fun. We will all mile. We will all laugh. We will all giggle. Hopefully, Eamon and Emma's mother will remember to take many photos of these outside adventures for posterity's sake. Shortround will not be there to join in the afternoon's escapades. We continue to process through our grief and will miss him as we have for the past two weeks.
Life goes on. The reassessment of normalcy begins, Life has changed and what once was only two weeks ago is no longer. We begin to create our new reality without our sweet pup, We are still grieving his loss as we accept this change and embrace this new normalcy. Life goes on. Because it must.
16 October 2009
15 October 2009
14 October 2009
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
13 October 2009
10 October 2009
07 October 2009
Lend Me A Pup
I will lend to you for awhile
a puppy, God said
For you to love him while he lives
and to mourn for him when he is gone.
Maybe for twelve or fourteen years,
or maybe for two or three
But will you, till I call him back
take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you
and (should his stay be brief)
you'll always have his memories
as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise that he will stay,
since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below
I want this pup to learn.
I've looked the whole world over
in search of teachers true
And from the folk that crowd life's land
I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love
Nor think the labour vain
Nor hate me when I come to take my pup back again.
I fancied that I heard them say
"Dear Lord Thy Will Be Done,"
For all the joys this pup will bring,
the risk of grief you'll run.
Will you shelter him with tenderness
Will you love him while you may
And for the happiness you'll know forever grateful stay.
But should I call him back
much sooner than you've planned
Please brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.
If, by your love, you've managed
my wishes to achieve,
In memory of him that you've loved
cherish every moment with your faithful bundle,
and know he loved you too.