Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grief and the loss of my angel dog

How do I do this?  How do I grieve for someone that should still be here?  Too young to be so sick, too small to be in so much pain.  I know I did the right thing - she wasn't there at the end.  She became groggy, disoriented, basically limp.  I had to check her frequently to make sure she was still breathing.  She was vomiting, unable to eat or drink, unable to walk, and just slept.  It happened so quickly it seemed, although she had been battling kidney disease for years... I did what I could, I did more than most people would, and I still don't think I did enough.  I find ways to blame myself for not spending more time with her, not getting more pictures or videos of her.  Not giving her more attention.  I loved her with every fiber of my being and I know I will never find another dog like her.  She wasn't just a dog to me.  She was my child, my soulmate, my best friend, my little furry angel.  Her entrance into my life was unexpected and perfectly timed.  She saw me through one of my worst break ups, countless jobs, another breakup, 4 moves, and crippling depression.

It feels strange and foreign.  There are noises missing - the sound of her snoring, her collar, her footfalls.  The scrabbling sound she made climbing the stairs into my bed.  I held her oldest toy (a very ratty kitten head with no stuffing) most of the night because it still smelled like her.  I've moved her beds into the main room and out of my bedroom.  I can't look at them right now but I don't want to get rid of them.  I don't want to get rid of anything.  I want to hold onto every piece of her for as long as I can.

I keep wondering if I should try and cry myself out or if I should distract myself.  I'm alternating between the two currently.  I cry for a while and when I feel dry, I try to watch funny youtube videos.  It feels wrong to laugh.  My voice sounds wrong.  Everything feels wrong.  I reach out to touch her and she's not there.  I want to call her name but I know she won't come.

I try and remember her as she was in the beginning, a crazy, stubborn little shit of a dog who had a far deeper bark than you would expect and was always the alpha of any other dogs she came across.  She was leary of strangers, tended to run away when it rained, and demanded treats and attention like a tiny little dictator.  She looked like a precious moments doll crossed with Falcor the luck dragon from the Neverending Story, but definitely had some sass and was not your typical lap dog.

The last few months she kept losing weight, no matter how much we tried to entice her with food.  She lost 3 pounds (her lowest weight was 6lbs) and she resembled a before image of an animal nelect case.  Her legs lost their muscle, her hair stopped growing as quickly, and she became more and more lethargic.  The last few days were the worst.  Friday she seemed okay, but Saturday she began throwing up and could not stop.  She threw up 10 times within a 24 hour period and she had not eaten very much the day before.  The last times she threw up she seemed to become even more limp and lethargic and had another seizure (these were happening more frequently as well).  Sunday, she seemed ... completely gone.  Her eyes no longer had their lively sparkle and she could barely focus on anything or anyone.  She would not eat or drink and barely moved.  She didn't react to her name and basically faded inch by inch as I watched.  I had my ex come over (she had been her other mom for 6 years and I wanted her to be able to say goodbye) and I left a message for my veterinarian.
The next day there was no real change.  The vet called back and I basically said "I don't need a evaluation appointment, I need to put her down - I can't do this to her anymore".  I set it up for Tuesday afternoon and arranged to have Tuesday and Wednesday off of work.  My mom called me Monday afternoon because I was running late from work and said "come home, now"  Sheeba had started throwing up again and was now throwing up blood.  I hurried home and carried her to the car, weeping openly at the frail wreck my little feisty baby had become.  She got worse by the minute and I have the distinct feeling she would have died at home if we hadn't taken her to the vet.  However, I hated to make her suffer a second longer than necessary.  Dr. Michelle gave her a sedative and after I had kissed her a few more times and told her she was the best girl and that she did not have to fight anymore, they injected her and she passed away almost instantly.

It is impossible to put into words how much she did for me.  She saved my life when I was at my lowest, she made me smile, gave me joy, companionship, and comfort in the darkest of times.  She understood me in a way no one else could have.  She was my best friend and has left a hole in my heart that aches every moment.  What is comforting me is knowing that I did what was best for her, no matter how much it hurts me.

She deserved so much more than I could have ever given her and I wish she could have understood how grateful I was for her presence in my life for 8 years (a long time but not long enough - never long enough).  I told her every day that I loved her and she showed me she loved me too, but it will never feel like it was enough.

If my love could have kept her alive, she would have been immortal.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Story Time...

I know I said I was going to write a blog about racism, and I will, but first I want to tell another story.

This is not about me (and about two sentences is, you'll realize it couldn't POSSIBLY be) and I was inspired by a Twitter thread about Women in Science/Tech which made me recall a convo I had recently with an amazing woman.  So here, to the best of my ability to share it, is her story.

Once upon a time there was a little girl.  She was middle of three children born to first generation German immigrants.  Her sister, the eldest, excelled in crafting and is an amazing seamstress.  Her brother, the youngest, excelled at tech, and is highly respected in his field.  The middle daughter discovered early on that she had an aptitude and passion for mechanics.  Her father began to impart his vast knowledge to her and she soaked it up like a sponge.  While part of her mechanical passion revealed itself in clock/watch repair, the main outlet for her skills became bicycles.  By the age of 11, she was collecting and repairing orphaned bicycles during the long Chicago winter and selling them from her driveway in the summer.  Many people were impressed by her abilities, but she faced bullying from people who did not think it was 'right' or 'proper' for a girl to be so interested in a predominantly 'masculine' discipline and that she should focus her energies on other, more feminine interests.  Even her family (a particularly difficult aunt, specifically) railed on her and criticized her parents for encouraging her.  Thankfully her mother told said aunt to 'get bent' or something to that general effect (I am paraphrasing of course - good German ladies do not say 'get bent').

Fast forward many years and this highly intelligent and motivated woman opened up a bicycle shop in the city she had moved to.  Over the past 9 years (the shop opened in 2008) she has moved locations 4 times (due to landlords/location) and each shop has gotten bigger and/or more professional.  People still don't always realize that she is the owner and lead mechanic, but she doesn't necessarily mind.  It's still rare to have a female mechanic of any sort, and a female business owner is liable to face discrimination and harassment.  However, word of mouth travels, and other bicycle shops in town will now send customers to her if the repair is complicated or requires more than just changing out parts.  She will work on any age of bicycle, the older the better (as they were typically built with higher quality and will last much longer than new bikes).  She has had customers come to her shop from other states, because she will work on their foreign or vintage bicycle.

She is definitely not your average woman, and that makes her exceptional in my mind.  She did not back down - from bullies, from her family, from societal conventions, and has become the master of her trade.  She is an example to women (and men) who operate outside the status quo that when you follow your passion, you can achieve so much more than you or anyone else can imagine.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Illness, Injury and Insanity (plus Depression)

It is slight disconcerting that my last post was in March - but I am going to do my best not to beat myself up about it.  It's something that is so easy and automatic to do - we are our toughest critics but we get a lot of help from others with putting ourselves down.

I had pneumonia, and injured myself a couple of times, but the real issue I've been fighting is my ever present depression. It seems to be getting more and more prevalent with every passing day and I'm running out of ideas to fight it.  It's affecting my motivation (which wasn't that great to begin with) and my energy and desire to do anything (even things I used to enjoy) is vanishing.

I think that when most people think of clinical depression, they think it is sadness, most likely brought on by specific events coupled with sleeping and crying a lot. My depression is not quite that simple, and yet... might be easy to explain.

Imagine waking up every single day in a pitch black room. It is never the same size or shape and there is no furniture whatsoever. You have to stumble around and try and locate the door in order to exit the room and interact with society in a semi-normal way. Unfortunately the room can be as small as a coat closet or as big as a sports stadium. Sometimes the door is open a crack and you can see a sliver of light guiding you out. Sometimes the walls are thin enough that you can punch a hole through even if the door is locked. Sometimes the key is hanging above the door, or you find a window, or someone is on the other side and can open the door for you. However... sometimes the door is locked tight or even non-existent, and the walls might be impenetrable concrete with not a window to be found.

So every day you have to try and get out of the room. It can be easy, difficult, or even completely impossible, and by the time you get out you have already expended a chunk of energy that most other people take for granted. And those days when you can't escape because you don't have the energy or the ability?  Those days are the hardest - you end up staying in the room all day. You can still handle the most basic of things as far as eating (usually random garbage) and normal bodily functions, but everything else is seems far too difficult including interacting with people.

Now imagine that the room in question is your own mind and that every day you fight against your own mentality to function like a 'normal' human. Imagine that you do that every. single. day. And even on the good days, even on the BEST days, you know that you will wake up tomorrow in the same room and you may not be able to get out. Like Groundhog Day but with a lot less humor (and no Bill Murray, which would make the experience so much more fun).

It's worse when I'm single, because the walls start to whisper to me that it isn't worth leaving the room. That there is no one on the other side of the door who wants me to come out. And even though I know I have friends and family, it just feels so pointless to expend all this energy only to end up in the same place over and over and over again. But I try. Every morning, every day, I try. I keep pushing forward to try and exit the room. Because I have hope. Buried deep and slightly fading, but I still have hope.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Buckle up folks, this one might get a little heavy.

My counselor gave me an assignment a while back regarding relationships - what do I want from one and what can I give to one?  And like a dutiful student I spent a few hasty minutes putting together what basically amounted to a page of tumblr-esque quotes and vagueries about what I want... but nothing about what I could give.  Don't get me wrong, I know I can be a good girlfriend... mostly... but currently I do not believe I deserve to be in a relationship at all.

That may seem a bit severe, especially coming from me since I'm not known for severity, but I can explain.  You see, I had an amazing relationship.  The best ever, in fact.  She kept me grounded, made me laugh harder than anyone I had ever met, and was one of the most fascinating and admirable individuals I know.  But because I was not being honest with myself regarding my dissatisfaction with other aspects of my life, I became distant, and then distracted, and I ended up taking her for granted.

Like a kitten on speed in a room full of mirrors and laser pointers, I became adept at ignoring reality and focusing on everything that was not real and did not matter.  I made mistakes and poor choices and I have to live with the fact that I ruined something beautiful.

So while I every so often download the tinder app on my phone... I always end up deleting it within 24 hours. I know I'm not ready to try again, and even if I was I would most likely end up comparing anyone else to her, and everyone would be a distant second.

So now, I'm 37 and living in my mother's basement.  Again.  But this time I want to get it right.  I want to make myself into the kind of person that could deserve someone like her. So I am going to table the idea of dating until I know I can be the best girlfriend possible.  Someone steady, responsible, and clear headed who knows who she is and is firm in her convictions.  Someone I would be proud to know, and prouder to be.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


This is a project that my counselor suggested.  A list of what I want out of a [romantic] relationship AND what I can offer in a [romantic] relationship.  The what I want is kind of easy, just because I've been saving pictures on my phone whenever I come across something profound.  The second part is going to be more difficult and I will definitely need to cogitate on it.

Here is part one - what I am hoping for in a relationship (if I ever find someone crazy enough to take on all of my... awesomeness... again)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Loss of Faith / Politics

I have been fairly vocal on social media about politics as of late - much to the consternation of certain family and friends.  I realize that there is a lot of chatter and shouting and information overload, most of which is slanted very strongly for one side or the other, and it is hard to tell the truth from the... other truth... from the alternative facts... from the... all of it.  

That being said, I am not going to be silent.  I will try and be more deliberate in my choice of words, but I will not put my head in the sand and just accept things that are happening.  I should not have to.  NO ONE should have to accept what they firmly believe to be wrong.  Turning your head away from injustice is allowing it to continue.

People are angry because they are scared and people are scared because the world has gone dark and evil and it feels like no one is doing anything about it.  The media is trying to scare us by feeding us too much information without actually telling us the truth.  

My mother has been calm and quiet throughout this - she is unhappy with what is happening but believes that 'God has a plan'.  I envy her that unshakable faith as it must be comforting when the world seems to be falling apart all around us.  

I realized that I am struggling the most because I do not have that kind of faith.  I had put my faith in the inherent goodness of people - and my faith has been shaken to the core.  I still want to believe that the majority of people are good and kind and generous, but it becomes more and more difficult as the days go on to find that spark of belief.

So I will BE that person.  I will be good, kind, and generous.  I will be strong, and brave, and outspoken.  I will be a safe space for those who need it, a defender for those who are afraid, and a light in the overwhelming darkness.  I will do what I can, for even though I am only one person, I am one person who can make a difference in this world.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Something that has been on my mind.  All these are from Merriam Webster

A feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury
A feeling of anger or displeasure about someone or something unfair
A feeling of angry displeasure at a real or imagined wrong, insult, or injury

A painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage

jealous disposition, attitude, or feeling
An unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has
A feeling of unhappiness caused by wanting what someone else has
An unhappy or angry feeling caused by the belief that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else
A feeling of unhappiness and anger caused by a belief that a loved one might be unfaithful

Depending on who you ask, jealousy and envy are either exact synonyms, totally different words, or near-synonyms with some degree of semantic overlap and some differences. It is difficult to make the case, based on the evidence of usage that we have, for either of the first two possibilities. Both jealousy and envy are often used to indicate that a person is covetous of something that someone else has, but jealousy carries the particular sense of “zealous vigilance” and tends to be applied more exclusively to feelings of protectiveness regarding one’s own advantages or attachments. In the domain of romance, it is more commonly found than envy. If you were to say “your salt-shaker collection fills me with jealousy,” most people would take it to mean much the same thing as “your salt-shaker collection fills me with envy.” But if someone made a flirtatious comment to your partner, you would likely say that it caused you jealousy, not envy.