I wasn’t going to belabor the death of my dog.
I really wasn’t.
But some strange force, not the least bit concerned about overanalyzing personal tragedy in a public forum, took over, and I didn’t have the strength to fight it.
The thing is you don’t have to publish everything you write. Bahaha
While that little thought is bouncing around in my head my fingers are pounding out a sappy vignette on dealing with death.
Two words, it sucks.
I found out this week that grief pools with all the other grief that came before it, creating this cesspool of emotion, that spills over one’s entire being as if a vernal waterfall.
That’s just my opinion, although I’m not sure I like being referred to as a cesspool of emotion, it is what it is.
The bond we have with our dogs is unique, but to those who don’t understand the emotional fallout after losing a beloved pet, this whole I can’t get a grip on myself might seem odd.
Admittedly, I’ve been letting my emotions flow without delineation, much to the annoyance of my roommates, but hell, the last thing you want is to dam up your fervor, because you’re just putting off the inevitable burst at the first sign of a crack.
“Let it go,” as Queen Elsa advises.
If I were a therapist, in my professional opinion, I’d say I’m doing splendid, considering I lost my shadow, and we all know Shaggy took it with him.
I have done all things distracting so as to not get hijacked by my unruly emotions.
I’ll admit, the plan has holes.
I recruited Dante, who helped me put up the Christmas tree, and yes, I realize it is before Thanksgiving, but it required rearranging half the house for several hours, and this occupied my thoughts quite nicely.
I agree it goes against all the rules of holiday decorum, as if wearing white after Labor Day, and I don’t care. In fact, the whole impropriety of it all makes me happy. I’ve become unscrupulous.
We’ve watched more Christmas movies than I care to admit, I’ve putzed around the house for no other reason than to revisit every place Shaggy has ever rested, and made several bad food and beverage choices.
But then I ordered a Portuguese water dog Christmas ornament, a Portuguese water dog wine stopper, and a Portuguese water dog doorstop, and honestly, I feel much better. I resisted the t-shirt and matching socks. Discipline at its finest.
Larry’s completely baffled.
He says, “every time you open wine, the front door, or look at the Christmas tree you’re going to be reminded of Shaggy?”
Me, “yes, that’s the general idea.”
“I like being sad.”
“Why don’t you look at our visa? Now that’s dismal.”
“I’m going for heartbroken, not morose.”
“I’m just trying to help.”
“Are you now?”
On a more upbeat note, Larry and I celebrated thirty-eight years of marriage (twenty-five of which we’ve owned dogs, cats, or both, just sayin) the day after Shaggy died.
Thank God we were home when Shaggy’s heart stopped beating and someone wasn’t watching him for us. Dante, Larry, and I were right there, Shaggy spent the entire day by my side, and passed away minutes after Larry returned from the office as if he waited so Larry could say goodbye.
For our anniversary Larry booked a room at the Carmel Mission Ranch and made reservations for dinner at La Bicyclette. He couldn’t have dreamed up a better distraction, the scenery, the food, the hiking, and although every damn person had a dog, it was strangely comforting.
This is our attempt at taking a selfie in the mirror, the first shots our eyes are closed because we’re looking at the phone, but then a light bulb went off in Larry’s head, and he says we have to look in the mirror. Do we still look slightly confused?
La Bicyclette, where we enjoyed our anniversary dinner, is known for its oysters and gnocchi, which we indulged in without remorse, soaking up the juices and sauces with warm french bread. I know. I know. Totally bombed the diet again, but it’s my anniversary, and my dog died.
The minute I walk in the door to our home I’m in trouble, Shaggy’s presence is everywhere, and nowhere.
There’s not a place where his memory does not linger.
I keep checking to see if his water bowl is full, if he’s curled up next to my chair, if he’s ready for his evening scoop.
I visited with my sister one morning and we had an absolute cry fest. We scheduled another one for next week if anyone cares to join us.
I discovered that it’s best to be with people who love dogs when you let it leak out because they totally get it and chances are they’ll cry with you!
It’s a thing.
All the Christmas presents for my grandkids are wrapped and under the tree.
I even cleaned out the refrigerator which I despise.
Today we (Larry) decided we were all going to clean out the garage. I’m not sure you fully understand the scope and sequence of this sort of project. See, I keep the house, Larry keeps the garage, enough said.
The garage is a disaster of epic proportions.
Dante and I walk out there, fidgeting with our restless hands for a few minutes because there’s no place to start, no end to the debris field, and a sense of doom is looming large.
Larry’s in the driveway barking orders which everyone is ignoring.
Dante and I start loading the goodwill stuff in my car, the trash in Larry’s truck, and just when I think we’ve made some progress, Larry walks in and says, “what am I supposed to do with all that trash in my truck? What are we doing with this couch? There’s no place for all these bikes (he has five). I’ve never seen these golf clubs in my life?”
I’m like, “put the clubs in the side yard and maybe sack your attitude.”
“Oh, you want to come with me and see the side yard, it’s a disaster (he also keeps the side yards).”
I walk with him to check it out, there’s like a couple of things stacked in front of his cupboard. I throw them all in the back of his truck, “there, all clear.”
He opens his cupboard and there are two additional sets of golf clubs in there covered with cobwebs, he says, “Where in the hell did these come from?”
“The golf fairy, geese, put them in the goodwill pile if you don’t want them.”
Dante and I continue to sift through the rumble in the garage, bins of ski gear go to the goodwill, memory boxes for four kids get stacked under the window, Halloween costumes from when my kids were young go in the trash, decorations for every known holiday get stored in the cupboards, books, photo albums, decorations from a bridal shower we gave ten years ago, it’s endless.
Larry who has not moved a single item says, “Why are you keeping all those baskets? Where is that wine refrigerator going to go? There won’t be room for my car? We’re wasting our time!”
Me, stomping my foot, hands-on-hips, “Could you just try and say one positive thing? We’re busting our butts here, and all this grousing is defeatist.”
He stares at me as if I’ve from another planet.
In my head, I’m printing up enough indulgences for an entire week.
Eventually, we’ve made ample space to put my exercise bike out there with an old television from my sister and still park his precious car. We’ve saved a chair and a couch. The rest is gone.
I’m dusty, exhausted, and haven’t thought of Shaggy for hours.
Larry, who should have been tarred and feathered for his perfidy, says, “would you like a glass of wine.”
And I finally realize this was Larry’s plan all along…total distraction.
Dante and I collapse in the sitting room and wait for Larry to bring us our indulgences.
I’m dog-tired, I look around for my heart who should be lounging beside me on the couch, his absence is waggingly obvious.
I moan, “I miss Shaggy.”
Dante and Larry collectively moan, “we know.”
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight,” says Kahlil Gibran.
I’m Living in the Gap, remembering my delight, what’s new with you?
Previously Published on cheryloreglia.com