I Want To Remember That….Forever

It’s odd that a dream wakes me up.  It’s even more rare that one wakes me up and makes me burst into tears.

I dreamt I was hugging Joie…and she was hugging me back.  She had her little paws sitting on my shoulders as she gave me a “puppy hug”.   And I said to her….”I am so glad your spirit has never left me”.  It was like getting a message from her.   She is with me.  I miss her so much.  So much.

We are quickly approaching ayear that I have had to suffer without her.  It’s been painful.  I have felt lost.  Sad.  Angry.  Most off all, I feel a heartbreaking emptiness.  And she reminded me tonight…she is always with me.  She is in my heart forever.

I miss you so much baby girl!!

The Bad, The Ugly and The Uglier

That’s my life 40 hours a week.  Sometimes more.  Sometimes less.  However, I spend a majority of my time reading about, listening to, and trying to understand the ugliness of the world.  The one lesson I have learned with certainty is that the ugliness is everywhere…even if you can’t see it.

As a 911 dispatcher, I have taken my share of calls.  I have heard the concerned voice of a spouse who believes her husband has had a stroke.  I have talked to the mother whose baby is in the middle of a seizure.  I have listened to arguements between a boyfried and girlfriend and the hateful ways people talk to each other.  My job is to deal with evil.  I deal with it every day.  Once in a while though, I need a place to forget about the evil.  I need a place that doesn’t remind of me the potential dangers that are lurking around every corner.  I need a place to go where I know that my family is safe, my friends are not in danger and that no one I love will be hurt.  I am quickly learning that no such place exists. 

I can see how people become cold and scorned in this job.  The pay could not compare to the emotional effect the job can take.  The stress of being yelled at.  The urgency of wanting to help.  The fear that I can hear in the voices of those on the other end of the phone as we wait together for help to arrive. 

Tonight, it was something different.  Every now and then, there is a moment at work where I start to think I may not be cut out for this job.  Tonight…I looked into the eyes of a mother who was helplessly searching for her missing child.  I saw the pain.  The fear.  The concern.  I saw his short life passing through her eyes.  I saw a sadness that I never knew existed.  I saw the love of a mother for her missing child.  I felt her pain.  Not anywhere near as deeply as she felt it, but I felt it.  I felt the urgency of wanting answers.  I was trying to think of any road she had traveled in her quest to find him.  I thought about this child, lost in a big dangerous city surrounded by evils that he knows nothing about.  I found myself begging God to bring this child back to his mother. 

Tonight is a night I wish I could forget….but I know I never will. 

I miss you…

I miss you so much.  I haven’t stopped thinking about you.  I wish you were here with me to lick my tears…to look at me with those big eyes that were so full of love and acceptance for me.  I miss your unconditional love. 

I am sorry that we didn’t get more time together.  I hope you know that every day of your short life, I loved you so very, very much.  I still do.  My heart breaks that you aren’t here with me.  It hurts…deeply…painfully…. beyond the explanation of words and beyond the comprehension of anyone who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing you.  You had the soul of an angel.  You radiated love.  I want to remember every minute of the time we had together.  I want to cling to the moments that you made me feel like I was the greatest thing in the world.   I need that more than ever now.  I need that in ways I can’t verbalize.  With you, I didn’t have to verbalize.  You just knew.  You knew me.  You knew when I needed you to cuddle with me.  You knew when I needed to reminded that I am great.  I don’t have that anymore.  I feel lost without it. 

 I just wanted you to know that you are still missed.  I talk to you all the time.  I don’t know if you hear me, but it’s the same sentiment all the time, “I miss you, baby girl.”

I really, really do.  I miss you so much. 

No one quite understands my sadness.  I know that others miss you…but not like I do.  You were my best friend.  My supporter.  My cheerleader.  My angel. 

 

I don’t know if anyone will ever understand the amount of guilt I carry about losing you.  Should I have done more?  Should I have walked you more?  Not let you have so many treats?  Is it my fault that the stupid cancer found you?  Should I have put you through chemo treatments?  I don’t think so.  I think you would have spent the last months of your life being miserable, and I never wanted that for you.  I wanted you to be happy…which is what led to the extra treats.  Chemo would have made you miserable, and I really, truly thought it would be selfish to put you through that.  I truly did.  I would be buying a couple of months more with you…but it wouldn’t have been you that was there.  You were loving, excited, funny…the chemo would have made you tired and sick.  I didn’t want that.  I wanted you to live out your days being free.  Not knowing that there was a real problem.  I wanted to spend time loving you…cuddling with you…not running to the doctor for you to get an endless amount of shots and medication.

 I am so lost right now.  I am lost without you.  I miss the unconditional love. I miss coming home to a very excited little girl!  I miss you.  Everything about you.  I just miss it…and my heart is aching. 

 My life has changed so much in the last year.  I am struggling with every bit of it.  This is when you would swoop in, do something extremely cute and funny to make me forget about how much life sucks right now. 

 I would give anything to have you back.  Anything.

I love you and miss you so much!

Six Weeks and Six Days

That’s how long it has been since I said goodbye to my best friend.  I miss her so much.  It literally feels like someone has kicked me in the stomach when I think about never being able to see her again.  I think I actually almost believe that she is just at a kennel somewhere and I am going to go get her soon.  But then.  But then when I start to really think about where she is and how I never will see her again…that sick feeling comes back all over again. 

I have videos on my camera that I love to watch.  I am scared to death that I am going to lose them though.  I’m not all that technological, nor that lucky…therefore…I have a strong suspicion that I am moments away from a disaster. 

I feel like I can’t talk to anyone about how I really feel…which is probably why I am blogging more than ever.  I almost feel silly for bringing it up to anyone.   I don’t think anyone fully comprehends the bond that Joie and I had.  (Wow…even typing the word “had” was painful!)  I don’t think anyone knows how lost and broken I feel without her.  I feel like part of me is missing.  Like I am living in a fog.  To some, she was just a “dog”.  To me, she was so much more than that. 

How I would give anything to take her for a walk right now.  I actually feel guilty when I take Kash for a walk because I didn’t walk Joie as much as I should have. 

The irony is that Joie never wanted me to be sad.  She would lick my tears anytime I cried.  She had this very solemn look on her face that said “come on!! Pull it together!!”  What I wouldn’t give to look into those eyes right now. 

Joie had a deep, beautiful soul.  I don’t care what anyone says, dogs have souls.  They have to in order to be able to give that much love unconditionally. 

Tomorrow, it will be seven weeks.  Seven weeks that I have carried this heartache.  I don’t know what to do to feel better.  She was a consistant part of my life for six years.  It was me and her.  Then it was me and her and Tony.  Then it was me and her and Tony and Kash.  Then it was me and Joie and Tony and Kash and Layla.  The family that was mine is broken.  It will never be like that I again.  I used to tell Tony when he would get annoyed with the dogs that one day our family wouldn’t be the way it is now, and he was going to miss it.  I was more talking to myself though. 

Tony seems to be handling everything pretty well.  Me?  Not all.  Not. Even. Kind of.  I’m lost inside.  Lonely.  Broken.  I miss my baby girl.  I miss having her greet me at the door.  I miss how her tail would wag so hard I wonder how it stayed attached.  I miss her more than I know how to express.

Remove

I miss Joie. Got an email today from 1800Petmeds for “new items Joie might like”. I started to go to the website to remove myself from the list. At the bottom of the page it gave me the choice to “remove deceased pet”. It made my heart hurt to think about “removing” Joie. Removing? Why does that bother me so much? Probably because I still haven’t “removed” her bowls, her leash, or her toys.  Can’t 1800PetMeds come up with a different phrase that “remove deceased pet?”  Maybe it’s just me.  

I asked Tony the other day if it would be weird to use her bowls as my own. He said yes. I disagree. I washed them, so it’s no different than using a dish that I let her eat off of!!   I know it’s weird…and I am not doing it…but I am just aching for something that still makes me feel attached to her physically.

I miss her so much.  I can’t believe she is really gone still.  I can’t believe that I will never do high tens with her again.  I can’t believe I will never see her sweet face again.  I can’t believe I won’t feel the softness of her fur again.  I keep waiting for the day that I don’t feel like I have been punched in the stomach every time I start thinking about her. 

As upsetting as it is to get emails from 1800Petmeds about Joie, it’s more upsetting to think about “removing” her.

A Radio Message

I miss Joie.  A lot. 

I was in the truck with Tony tonight and missed her like crazy.  Tony was driving, and I was riding shotgun.  The radio was off and I was telling Tony that I couldn’t feel her around me the way that I felt others around me that have passed.  I never felt like she was with me.  Tony said “she never left you”.  I was starring out the window just feeling sorry for myself and missing my little girl.  I started to look back at Tony and my eyes caught the screen on my radio.  I watched the words scroll acrossed in disbelief.  The song playing on the radio was “Anything But Mine”…which of course is my song with Joie.  I said “no way!!” and turned the radio up.  I couldn’t believe it.  Our song was on.  At that moment.  I hadn’t heard that song played on the radio in at least four years, but at the very moment that I was talking about not being able to feel Joie with me, she made it known that she was with me.  Tony is right, she never left me. 

I miss you baby girl.  Thanks for letting me know that you are still with me…and still wouldn’t be Anything But Mine!!!!

It’s Been A Week

It’s 7:09 p.m. on Friday.  One week since Tony and I said good-bye to Joie.  One week officially…almost to the minute.

It’s been a weird week.  Our house is eerily quiet.  Our lives have slowed a bit.  We have one dog now that gets more attention that he knows what to do with.

I’ve been keeping some secrets though.  The secret I am keeping is that I still have the kleenex from our visit to the vet last week in my coat pocket.  I used it to wipe away my tears, but when I reach in my pocket it takes me back to a moment that I was still with Joie.  Although not the most pleasant moment of our time together, it was a moment we were both part of.  Reaching into my pocket and feeling the kleenex has comforted me.  So, I keep it there. 

I noticed today that the kleenex is starting to wither a little bit.  I instantly got frightened.  What if it starts to fall apart?  Then what will I hold on to when I want to remember my girl.

I’m so afraid that I will forget her.  I don’t know why.  It seems so illogical and ridiculous.  I know I will never forget her, but I am desperate to hang on to any morsel that helps me still feel attached to her.  In reality, my heart is still attached to her.  I can go there any time I want to remember her.  Any time I want to laugh about.

I miss the feel of her fur.  She had the softest fur.  I used to sit for hours and just rub her ears.  They were so soft!  It was relaxing for both of us. 

Another secret, I still haven’t been in my basement yet.  That’s where Kash led me to Joie.  She was in the basement in the laundry room.  I can’t go down there.  I want to.  My couch, the most comfortable couch in the world is down there, and I would love to go down there to watch a movie.  I still can’t do it.  I’m not ready.

Last night, Tony asked me if he could throw away her prescription bottles.  I told him no.  I don’t know why.  Do I think that she is coming back?  I know I am hoping.  I’m just not ready to throw away anything that reminds me of her.  I guess I am afraid that symbolically it’s like throwing her away.  I don’t want to be without anything that will remind me of her.  Her bowls are still in the same spot, her collar is in the closet, her leash is too.  I’m not getting rid of any of it. 

I heard her breathing the other day.  I know it was my imagination, but I muted the television to see if I could hear it more clearly.  I did briefly.  But, then it was gone. 

I was in the car the next day with Tony and I swore I smelled her breath.  Towards the end of her life, her breath had a very distinct, unpleasant smell.   I know it wasn’t Tony I was smelling or his car for that matter.  It was like a wave of the scent washed over me and then was gone.  And even as terrible as the smell was, I still missed it. 

Everyone has moved on with their lives.  They offered their condolences and then moved on.  I can’t move on.  I’m stuck.  I’m waiting for her to come bouncing through the door with a toy in her mouth excited as always to see me. 

I keep waiting….and waiting….and….waiting….

Got To Brag A Little

My poor Kash has had quite a week.  He was back into the hospital to get more stitches after another fight with Layla.  He has been confined to a room while we tried desperately to find another home for Layla. 

Yesterday was his first day of freedom.  He had free reign of the house since Layla is now with her new family.  He was out all day while I was at school and Tony was at work. 

I got home around 4:00, Kash greeted me at the door.  He was really antsy, like he couldn’t stand still.  I thought he needed to go outside, so I started walking to the backdoor.  I called for Joie.  She didn’t come to me.  I called again for her, she still didn’t come to me.  I walked to the back of the house and let Kash outside.  He took about 2 steps and turned around.  He started barking and whining to come inside, which is totally out of character or him.  I let him back inside and sat down at my desk to start studying for my Sociology test that night.  Kash walked over to me being antsy again, and whining.  I said “Bud, what do you need?”  I thought maybe he needed water, so I got up to get it for him.  His water bowl was full. 

Kash started whining again like he wanted me to follow him.  I said “what is it?”  He led me down to the basement, right to Joie.  He stated dancing around her very anxiously.  Almost like he was saying “Mom, something is wrong, FIX IT”.  I notice Joie’s paws were swollen to 3 times their normal size.  I tried to pick her up and she didn’t move. She didn’t have the strength to stand on her own.  I tried to carry her, but she was too heavy for me.  Kash was still dancing around her, begging me to help Joie. 

I picked her up and slowly moved up the stairs, one at a time.  Kash stayed in front of me and would turn around to make sure we were okay.  After about 10 minutes we made it to the landing.  I went to grab my phone to call someone to come help me.  I called Kevin who said that he would be right over.  At that moment, Tony called.  I begged him to come home, I knew that we needed to take Joie right in.  She was suffering.  I promised her in the beginning that if she promised to put up a good fight, that I wouldn’t let her suffer.  Truth be told, I wasn’t going to let her suffer anyway. 

While I was waiting for someone to come help me, Joie and I were sitting on the landing.  Kash stood perfectly still next to us.  He was facing the door, almost afraid to look at Joie.  Occasionally I would see him steal a peek at her.  Once Kevin and Jim got to the house, Kash ran to show them where we were. 

Kevin helped move Joie to the couch so she would be more comfortable.  The vet said that we could bring her in in about 2 hours, so the waiting game began.  I loved on Joie and talked to her.  I smiled at her and tried not to cry.  Kash sat down on the floor next to me right in front of her, with his back to her.  He as protecting her.  No one was going to get to her without going through him. 

And as he sat there, Joie reached out just enough to kiss him on his neck, as if to say “thanks for having my back, Buddy.”

Kash is very depressed right now.  I know he feels the loss, but we are going to love on him and spoil him a little bit to help him get through this.  Our family went from five to three in a matter of 48 hours.  We are all suffering. 

I am just so proud of Kash for taking care of his sister.

The Next Day

I hasn’t gotten any easier yet.  Did I really expect that it would?  I guess I kind of “hoped” it would. 

Tony and I came home and watched the videos of a happier Joie.  We watched her running and playing at the beach.  We watched her being “interviewed” for my Get Fit Challenge.  We watched her just being “Doie”…which was her name in our family. 

We came home last night.  Kash was at the door waiting for us.  He was looking for Joie.  I think the deafening silence in the house is weighing on him too.  We went from chaos to silence.  How does anyone live like this?? 

It had been a couple days since Joie has met me at the door.  She used to get so excited whenever I would come home.  Her little tail would shake so fast and hard I don’t know how it stayed attached!!  As soon as I would walk in the door, she would run to find me a toy.  She did this every time I walked in the door, even if I had only stepped outside for a minute.  She would run to the door, I would open it and say “Hi Baby Girl” and she would frantically start looking for a toy for me.  I would say “hurry up, get me a toy” and she would walk back with one dangling from her mouth.  It was my “God-I’ve-Missed-You-Welcome-Home” gift!!!! I would try to take the toy from her and she would run away with it.  I’d say “gimme that toy” and she would just stand there starring at me with a huge smile on her face. 

She loved the sound of my voice.  I could say anything to her and she would think it was brilliant.  I could ramble about nothing and she would listen as if I was the most fascinating person in the world.

Jo-jo had this low growl whenever ever something moved that she believed was too close to where ever I was.  She didn’t like anything, especially strangers, getting to close to me. 

There are so many things I want to remember about her.  The look in her eyes.  The smile on her face.  The softness of her fur, especially her ears. 

I miss her so much.  I just miss her.  I know she isn’t feeling any pain anymore.  I know that she did not want to me to see her like that.  Even though she was in pain, she was worried about me.  She wanted to know that I would be okay.  In fact, as we were waiting for the doctor to come in, I was lying on the floor with Joie facing her.  Tony was sitting behind her rubbing her back.  At one point she started to get up to face Tony.  Tony said to her “baby girl, I promise I will take good care of your mom”.  With that she layed back down facing me. 

I look forward to the day that this pain won’t be so intense.  I look forward to the day when I accept that she isn’t going to greet me at the door.  I don’t know that I will ever like the silence in my house. 

My life was changed by Joie.  She changed me.  I never knew love like that.  I just pray that she knows how much she was loved every day of her life. 

I miss you so much Baby Girl.

Rest In Peace Baby Girl

Dear Sweet Baby Girl,

I said good-bye to you tonight. 

It was a pain that I can’t put into words.  You were my girl.  My baby girl.  My Princess.  I told you that I loved you and thanked you for being an incredible dog and the best friend I could ever ask for.  I told you that I will never forget you and I meant every word of it.  I will never ever forget the love that you gave me.  You taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.  I never knew anyone would love me like you did. 

I won’t allow myself to wallow in your cancer.  You would be so disappointed in me if I did.  I want to honor your life by remembering the joy that you brought into mine.

We had some good times, didn’t we??  All the car rides where we would just talk about nothing.  You loved to “count cars”…any two lane road we were on, you would bark at any car that passed us.  It wasn’t your normal bark it was more of a squeaky bark.  It was hysterical!!! I loved it.  Your dad didn’t care for it, although he too would laugh.

I loved the high fives you would give.  I could say “GO STATE” and hold my hands up!!  You would give me a very excited “high ten”!  I love it!!

I can remember coming home from a date (before I met your dad of course) and crying to you about how I hated being 27 and not married.  I was literally crying wondering what in the world was wrong with me.  You licked the tears right off my face.  It’s like you were saying “nothing is wrong with you, pull it together!  You are perfect!!!”  You always made me feel like I was the greatest thing in the world.  I only hope I did that for you as well.  You were the greatest dog. 

I miss you.  You have been gone for a little over an hour now and I miss you.  My heart is broke, but I refuse to give into crying over your death.  You gave me too much of your life to smile about.  

I wish I had taken you for more walks.  I wish I had made you more of a priority at times.  I made mistakes, and I am sorry.  I hope that you know without a doubt how much I love you and how important you have always been to me.  I had to be with you in the last moments of your life.  I needed you to know that I was dedicated  to you until the very end.

So, Princess, I know that you are in Heaven now.  I know that you are going to be watching me.  I know you will watch over your dad, Kash and Layla.  I know that you are running and playing and having more fun.  I hope that you have cars to count in Heaven! 

Know that you are in my heart forever.  I can’t thank you enough for all the love, attention, and friendship you gave me.  You were the angel that came into my life when I needed it most, and I know you will continue to be my angel. 

I love you forever and always,

Mom.

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