Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One step at a time


From this past Sunday morning.

Jake was more than a dog, he was a lifestyle. Last night was the first night I've ever slept in my room here in the house on Tennessee Avenue when he wasn't here. I've traveled, of course, but to be at home, in my own room, minus the snoring, the sighing and the sounds of Jake dreaming? Last night was my first experience of that.

This morning there was no reason to hurry through my shower, there was no one sitting by waiting for me to finish my meditation, and there was no reason to go walk around the block before having breakfast. It's so disorienting.

I am a creature of habit. Jake was my dog, friend, teacher and companion. And he was also my lifestyle, integral to my routines and habits. I feel sadder than I can explain, and confused, too, really confused.

One thing I decided to do is adopt the old custom of wearing a black arm band. I might just wear it today or maybe for a week or who knows? People used to wear them for a year after the death of a loved one; it was a part of grieving. I've seen pics of FDR wearing his arm band after his mother died. I love this custom; it's a gentle way of explaining you're in mourning, and so therefore perhaps a little bit out of it. There's no need to explain everything, over and over again. It's a kindness.

I am more than a little bit out of it, that's for sure. I've written myself a note that says:

Breathe.
Drink lots of water.
Don't do anything you don't have to do.


That's about all I can handle today. Maybe tomorrow will be different.

The amount of love and support that's been directed towards me (and to Jake, too) has blown my mind. I am literally in awe of how kind and generous people can be, how willingly all of you, and many people in my "real" life, have jumped in to help. I am so grateful, there's no way I can begin to explain it. From my whole heart I thank you. Thank you.

And now? Time to breathe, drink some water. Yep. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. There is nothing else I can do. Onwards.

44 comments:

ellen abbott said...

We've only responded to your heart that you give out so willingly.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I agree with Ellen. The fact that your emotions are so raw and honest make us able to relate to how you're feeling, even though we may not have ever been in your exact situation. I love that you're just doing your best to keep on going. And I like the black armband idea.

John Hayes said...

I really like Ellen's comment, too. It must be hard; keeping it simple, as you suggest, will help. All the best to you.

willow said...

The armband idea is so lovely and nostalgic. Peaceful prayers for you at WM. ~xo

Peaches said...

Don't give up the walks...and taking all those great, artsy pictures to share with us. Hugs...

Rain said...

Sending my thoughts and love to you while you mourn. I think the armband is a great idea too.

Dani said...

It will be hard- you'll find yourself calling to him or thinking he is laying in his spot (As I did for a while after my pup died). It's just natural.

Thank you for sharing everything with us, that's what makes it easier for us to share with you.

Hang in there sister!

Meri said...

Just reading your words makes me cry. The emotions are palpable. Jake's absence is huge, as the hole in your heart. We can't heal the pain, but we can all act as witnesses to your life and loss.

Andrea said...

You are so in tuned to what you need right now, just the basics. It may take awhile to develop a new routine. Tred lightly and slowly and know that we are all here right beside you!

California Girl said...

I feel very affected by your grief. My only way to say I care. So, when you feel up to it, visit today's post: EmptyNestEvolution.blogspot.com

I don't expect a comment.

steven said...

the fullness of peace from the golden fish.

JC said...

I am so very sorry ...

I've lost four dogs .. the last one was Lindsey. I knew I'd done the right thing but it hurt.

I cryed for a long long time.

Give it time. Things will get better.

Thanks for showing us his photos from yest. I was gone and didn't blog til today.

May you find some peace and a sale on tissues today ...

Elizabeth said...

Thinking of you.
I think you should keep walking.
Hugs.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

One paw in front of the other...it will have to be that way for a while.

If you visit this page on my blog, I have a photo of the bracelet I got to hold my two favorite cats ashes, one birthstone for Bo and one for Spot.

If you think that something like that would comfort you, I can send you the link where I purchased it.

There is another nice site with lovely memory jewelry,
www.whisperintheheart.com I think it is.

Sending you restful thoughts so you can heal

Lover of Life/ Nancy said...

Ellen leads the way with the perfect comment this morning. You have garnered so much sympathy by being who you are.

"Don't do anything I don't have to do." Perfect.

Amy said...

So happy today that you have kept up your routine of letting us into your world and allowing us to share your life a little.

I can't begin to comprehend how you feel, so all I'll say is, I'm so very sorry. I truly hope that peace and comfort surrounds you as you tentatively find your way through this next phase of life.

Steve said...

I'm thinking of you, Reya!

k-brow said...

I like the idea of the black armband. Hopefully people will see it, remember, and understand. Peace and love to you, Reya.

Barbara Martin said...

Reya, I was in your exact spot two years ago, 29 July when Chia passed on. All you can do is take it one day at a time.

Being intuitive, I knew Chia stuck around for about a week until she was certain I'd be all right and went with her spirit guides. I knew she was close by when she'd lie so very softly on my feet at the computer desk. She comes back once in awhile just to check.

Lynne said...

Your photos say it all. In the first photo Jake is not quite all there and in the second photo your arm looks like it's not connected to your body. I get it.

I'm sure Jake will come to you in your dreams. My dogs have all come to me after their deaths. Some have been happy where they are and others have not. It's kind of strange. Some are so realistic I could reach out and touch them.

One step at a time Reya. I know your whole schedule is upside down right now but you will find another one, it's going to take time.

Take is slow, my friend!

Ali said...

You have such a fantastic attitude, very inspirational.

Pan's Island said...

My deepest condolescences on the loss of Jake - I lost my childhood dog last year and it was heartwrenching. I think wearing the armband is a wonderful idea - it should bring you some small comfort in a way. And I think if you continue your walks, Jake's spirit will continue to walk along beside you. Much love to you in your time of need <3

Carolyn said...

My thoughts are with and my heart goes out to you and thank you for such grace.
Blessings

Expat From Hell said...

Overwhelming comments for an overwhelming writer. The emptiness that is inside of you is exactly Jake-shaped, as it should be. It is beautiful to express and to follow from afar, and we all - who have the same shapes of our dear dogs forming inside of us - resonate with you.
Thank you for staying with us through this ordeal. We are all richer because of your effort.

EFH

Joanne said...

I like the armband idea too. Common rituals like that are so important, and sometimes it seems we've lost them. And yes, keep walking. Keep observing, absorbing, life.

larkspur said...

Reya, My heart goes out to you and Jake. The armband is a comforting way to carry your grief...silently.
Take your time. xoxoxoox Deb

JOY said...

Last Fall when I was feeling the loss of Zeus and Penny, my husband told me to take their collars on my walk with me. I did. It was a small healing gesture that felt good. Everywhere I turned, they were on the path with me.

Talk to Jake. He will hear. I still talk to Zeus.

You're in my thoughts . . . with care.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I, too, like Ellen's comment. The black armband or a black ribbon will say you are in mourning... a very valuable too. This morning I awoke at 5:30 and immediately thought "how is Reya on this particular morning?" Be sure to take your own good advice: breathe, drink plenty of water... also don't forget to eat something light (soup perhaps)... comfort food. One foot in front of the next until you can adjust. Take care...

Reya Mellicker said...

The Sufi acupuncturist helped me tremendously today. The way he explained it was to say he helped me "stop bleeding." I'm feeling a lot clearer.

And honestly these comments are more helpful than just knowing there are witnesses. They are genuinely healing because they convey your generosity and kindness. You can't imagine how much it has helped. THANK YOU again.

Also want to say that Jake has been unable to walk farther than a block or two for several months. Most of the pics I've taken have been on solo walks around the city. Today I walked to and from the Sufi acupuncturist, maybe five or six miles? Once upon a time Jake was on board to walk as far as I wanted to go, but that dwindled as he got older. By last week he could hardly get around the block. I'll keep walking, I promise.

thank you again. Honestly I will never forget this period of time, in part because of all the unconditional support here. I mean it: thank you!

PurestGreen said...

Sending you a big, big hug from Scotland. Keep taking those deep breaths.

Lynne said...

OH! I just realized Jake has disappeared from your blog banner, and you are now AFTER the Gold Puppy ...
why didn't I notice before???

Whitney Lee said...

Hugs, hugs, hugs make the world go round.
This is what I just told my daughter. Perhaps it's not the whole truth but when you're 2 it's pretty close.
It may not be all you need but we are sending hugs and healing thoughts your way.
I have gotten teary over your recent posts. I cannot imagine how difficult the last several days have been, not to mention the ones ahead. I can only hope that you continue to find your way through the grief. I agree with others that the armband is a wonderful idea.

Mary Ellen said...

Reya, I think you are moving through this distressing passageway in a very wise manner. No need to hurry - very wise to respect and honor your grief. Rest plenty, and allow the confusion and fatigue. Thanks for including us in your journey.

Gemel said...

Reya my heart is with yours, my Blossom is fighting for her life as I type,each moment may be her las.

Our beautiful animal companions give us so much, they are full of love and life, when they leave us, the wound is gaping, leaving us hollow and raw. I know that no one can do or say anything to us at times like this, the pain is ours alone, yet please know that many understand, love and support you.

robin said...

Thinking of you and Jake's indomitable spirit. Remembering how it was when Thor passed.
Thanks for all your sharing.
Peace.

Wildeve said...

(((((Reya))))
I love the armband idea.

lakeviewer said...

These pictures capture your fractured life right now. One step at a time...

Ptolemy said...

I was sad to see "the Gold Puppy" finish this life... I've always thought that Tom Hanks' lines in Sleepless in Seattle said it so well... "I'm going to get out of bed every morning, breathe in and out all day, and then after awhile I won't have to remind myself to breathe in and out all day..." We've been lucky to stay ahead of the cycle of life and have a dog remaining who helped us to do just that... To get out of bed and to breathe... Here's a virtual hug to hope you find your way to do that.

Ronda Laveen said...

My heart stopped for a second the instant your banner came up sans Jake. I wondered what you were going to do but still that grass, minus its partner Jake, looks so alone.

Yesterday morning, as I lit Jake's candle and held the space for his crossing, I asked him to tell Pepe, Fang, Smokey, Dino, Ralphie, Troubles, Maua, Jennifer, Angel and the fish hello. I asked them to greet him and show him the ropes. They all agreed.

R

dragonfly said...

My thoughts are with you and Jake... along with so many. What a gentle big hearted spirit he is, I still remember him very clearlly and strongly!. He'll always be there as you know...not physically I know. And you've shared so much. So blessed. Elizabeth

SafariB said...

Wish I'd thought of the armband when I needed it too. Great idea.

You have tears running down my cheeks Reya. Its so bloody tough, so devastating, I know - just be kind to yourself.

Huge hugs xoxo

Washington Cube said...

If you do wear the armband, and I think it's a nice idea, I'd be curious how people respond to it, or even at what level of knowledge of what it means.

When my last pet left (and I never had another since,) his presence hung around awhile. I would hear his feet thump hit the floor from the bed where he had slept, or making that distinctive sound on steps. A few times I would feel his pressure sitting on my chest and hear a purr. I accepted it as part of the process.

Natalie said...

Love to you, beautiful Reya.xx♥

Lanea said...

I am so sorry about Jake. I know the feeling all too well. Know that there are people right here in DC beside you, hoping the best for you and grateful that you cared so well and so long for a dog that had a tough start.