Friday, October 28, 2011

The Dark Places

I am not sleeping.

My mind wanders into so many dark places when I close my eyes.

My dark places are great places for things like guilt, sadness, fear, anger and grief to hide.  I pretend things are OK and then close my eyes and my brain reminds me that things have not been so OK for me.

These are some of the things that haunt me when I close my eyes:
  • Guilt of not saving my precious Tboz. 
  • Guilt of not being able to go pick up her remains. 
  • Sadness of the loss of my best pal.  
  • Grief over the loss of my boobs.  
  • Loss of hope for my future with a partner - I'm so scarred physically and emotionally and can no longer bare children.  
  • Grief of the loss of my ability to conceive (they want me to have a hysterectomy).  
  • Fear of losing my parents because they are all I have left.  
  • Disappointment with my appearance.  And by appearance, I mean fat.
  • Anger over how hard I worked to not be disappointed with my appearance just to be right back where I started with extra scars, no breasts and lesbian haircut to go with it.  
  • Fear and anger at more surgery ahead (see above re: hysterectomy and boobs). 
  • Fear that every little ache and pain is the cancer coming back or a new cancer forming.
  • Anger that my house was burgled and now somehow because my 14 lb deaf little watchdog is gone, every noise is a burglar.  It is weird how that works.  I felt protected just because she was here with me.
But I try to spend equal amounts of time validating how shitty life has been for me the last year (of course, you are (sad, angry, scared, disappointed), life handed you a shit sandwich) and telling myself things could be worse (I am so very lucky to have such supportive parents and friends, a flexible job that has allowed me to have a very shitty year with little repercussions for having to miss work or work from home and good insurance - health and home) so buck up.

But dammit some days I need to spend extra time in the yeah, shit sandwich alright.  Today seems to be one of those days.

In other news, my eyelashes are beginning to grow back and I think I officially have a head of hair.  It is no longer an "is she sick?" haircut, but a "is she a lesbian?" haircut.

I feel better after typing this out.  Thanks blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Half Dead

I had a dream last night that Tboz was not really dead.

I also had a call from the vet that Tboz' "remains" were ready to be picked up.

So in the dream, Tboz was with me happy and running around AND I had her remains.  Everyone just ignored the little detail that this was impossible.

I have had similar dreams starring my brother.  He'll be alive and hanging out and everyone ignores the fact that we buried him.

I don't know what these dreams mean.  Maybe they are just a way for me to enjoy the life I had with them when on this earth.  Maybe they are trying to comfort me when I am most sad and missing them.  Maybe its just my random subconscious processing stuff while I sleep.

I always wake up from these dreams a little off.  I feel a little off.

I can't bring myself to pick up Tboz' remains.  I feel like I am enjoying a bit of denial.  I'm not ready to face that place or the hard reality that she is gone.  Forever.

Sigh.  At least the crying has stopped.  But I feel guilty about that too.  I really thought that when this happened I would be inconsolable, like forever.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still raw

I am finding that tears come less frequently, but the thoughts of regret and those last moments consume me.

The only loss that I can compare this to is that of my brother in 2004.  How can the loss of a pet compare to the loss of a human?  Love.  Love is what is common.  I am grieving the loss of love.

I remember going through what ifs with his death too.  At that time, however, I had no idea about the stages of grief.  I went to classes with my family and we learned about this and went through it together.

Perhaps the loss of my brother prepared me to better handle the loss of my sweet Tboz.  I know that I am not going crazy (I totally thought I was going crazy when my brother died).  I know that what I am feeling is normal and that however I handle this is appropriate.

I came across this website that helped remind me how normal my feelings are and I was comforted.

This statement stuck with me (how to feel better right now):
"...choosing to recall the better moments and not focusing solely on the death as representing the totality of the relationship..."

This is advice that has come from others.  Her life was long - 17 years long - and FULL of happy memories.  I was lucky to have such unconditional love, sweet kisses, long walks, ball playing and warm snuggles for 17 years.  This was the totality of my relationship with Tboz, not those terrible last seconds of her life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pitter Patter and Jingle Jangle

I still hear you Tboz.  And its hard.

There are spaces where you should be that you are not.  But I hear you.  I hear your footsteps on the tile, I hear the jingle jangle of your collar, I hear you scratching at the door.  And it is hard.

I wonder if there were more things I could have done for you.  Could I have played with you more?  Could I have taken you on more walks?  Could I have not stayed away from home so long?

And then the terrible comes in.  Could I have saved you?  Did I give up too soon?  What if you were misdiagnosed?  Could steroids have helped you?

The question comes up so often during my days and even more so at night - how am I going to get through this?  And the answer is, simply so, because I have to.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Miss My Tboz

I let my precious Tboz go yesterday.

Tboz was 17 and for 17 wonderful years she was by my side as my constant.  The one and only thing that I could count on 100%.  When things were tough, she is why I chose to fight to live.  I miss her so very much and I have a huge gaping spiky prickly hole in my heart that will take much effort to try and heal.

18 years ago, I was very ill and had to withdraw from college.  While ill, I asked Paige, my roommate, if her Dad (who is a vet) could be on the look out for a small, black girl dog.  Thinking this was so specific, I didn't think I would find such a dog anytime soon.

After I recovered and returned to school, Paige told me her Dad had found me a dog.  Dr. Overton said someone had dropped Tboz off at his clinic with a sibling, I believe. I went to Dallas with Paige to pick up my very own small, black, girl dog.

Young precious Tboz.
She liked to burrow
from the very beginning.
I remember driving back to Paige's house with her in my lap.  She was so tiny and lovely.  She had worms and I let her sleep with me anyway.  I think I loved her immediately.

TLC - Tboz (left), Left-eye and Chile
Paige and I were trying to find a good name for her.  We were perusing CDs that we were listening to at the time (Paige's dog's name was EZ-Z) and came across TLC.

We decided Tboz was a good name for her.  Really, I wanted it to be Roxy, because I loved Lenny Kravitz at the time and Roxy was Lenny's mom.  But 17 years later - Tboz could not be anything other than Tboz.  Tboz was the perfect name for her.

Tboz saw me through college and my first job in Dallas.  When it came time to move to Wilmington for my next job, Tboz drove with me cross country.  I was so scared to be on my own like this, but there was great comfort with having her with me.  Later, I had to make the difficult decision to return Tboz to Texas with friends because I would be traveling so much and I didn't know anyone yet to take care of her.  This was terrible and brought much guilt, but it was the right thing to do for her.
Tboz hated when I traveled.
I found her like this
when packing one night.

Tboz was a great air traveler.  I took her with me to lots of places.  She would lay in her little carryon under my seat and not make a peep.  I usually kept the top open so she could see me.  One time, I was sitting in first class with her and had to run to the bathroom during a long flight.  While I was in the bathroom, she had come to look for me.  Ooops.  Luckily the nice passenger next to me caught her before she went too far.
Tboz hung with me
through my drinking and smoking days.

In time, I got a roommate that would help watch her while I traveled and I returned to Dallas to pick up my girl and she was so happy to see me.  I remember how fierce her little tail wagged.  That was the beginning of a much deeper meaningful bond between she and I.  I was growing up and realizing the responsibility of loving something so deeply.
Tboz loving me
through chemotherapy.

Tboz was my comfort for some of my life's greatest tragedies and struggles.  She comforted me through new jobs, moves to new states, the sudden loss of my only sibling, a burglary and just recently a cancer diagnosis and treatment.  I think that much of my independence came from knowing she was by my side.

Over the last week it was time for me to comfort her and be by her side.  A year or so ago, she had passed out a few times.  We put her on blood pressure medicine and no more passing out.  However, last week she passed out again, this time urinating during the episode.  I thought she might be having seizures.  She was still happy and playful.

I took her for her scheduled annual check up a few days later and we did lots of tests: blood, blood pressure, etc.  When I loaded her in the car she passed out again.  Things got worse and she developed labored breathing.  I really don't know what happened between that morning and the tests at the vets - but she got worse.  Much guilt lies here - did I cause this to happen?  Did I not protect her?  Did too much stress cause her rapid decline?  I will never know the answer.

ER visits, Cardiologists, Echocardiograms, ultrasounds, sleepless nights and many pills later Tboz was not improving.  Her little body struggled to breathe - heaving her little chest.  Afraid to shut her eyes to sleep.  Passing out upon standing.  Peeing and Pooping in my arms after passing out. She was still eating and drinking by my hand, but she could not stand to eat or drink.  There was a brief period where she walked around a bit and I had hope.  But the next day, back to heaving breaths and passing out.  Heartbreaking heartwrenching terrible times.

I asked others how to know when it was time to let her go.  I was told I would just know.  That Tboz would give me a look.  And that when she was no longer able to do the things she loved, it would be time.  And if she was suffering, it would be time.

It was time yesterday.

I had decided to take her to the ER so that I would not associate her regular vet, Dr. J, with this terrible terrible thing.  Dr. J, my friend, agreed to meet me at the ER and do this with me.  But as I was driving to the ER, my heart tugged me to Dr. J's office; where there were people who knew her and loved her for the past 5 years.  Dr. J was there waiting and showed me a kindness that I will never ever forget.

Tboz was given a sedative and barely holding her head up, gave me a few kisses which I hope with all my heart meant, "mom, its time and its OK".

Dr. J and I sat on a couch with Tboz laying on my chest and we let her go.  And it was terrible.  The most gut wrenching thing I have ever experienced.

There is a hole in my heart that I know not how to heal.  Every space in my home reminds me of my precious Tboz.  It is an empty home.  A sad home.  No longer a home.  Because I no longer have a family in this home.

Tboz loved playing ball.
And scooting her blanket.

I love you so much Tboz.  You are such a brave, sweet, precious, smart girl and are loved by so many.  But no one loves you as much as I do.