I’m Still Here

Death was following me around for a little while, and I feel like I’m finally coming out of the dark. In 2020 my Labrador died slowly, then my Dad died quickly, then in 2021 my grandfather passed, and then a dog I adopted. All in less than a year.

My heart and my mind were heavy. Leaden, really. I knew in my head that others lost more, but it was still hard.

I don’t remember the holidays last year, or the ones the year before. Thank god I keep a planner otherwise I wouldn’t remember anything that happened or when. Everything is like in a big soup in my brain. That’s right, I was supposed to research trauma stages today and just remembered.

So that’s where I’ve been, in my Me-Soup. But what I’ve learned is: adopt another dog, it won’t be the same but they will still bring joy; and be a fierce and unapologetic advocate in a family members healthcare, no matter what doctors or facilities say.

But like I said, I’m seeing an end, and so a beginning. I’m thankful for my family, for two healthy pups, for bending over in laughter with my husband, for watching deer cross my lawn. You know. Small but big stuff.

I have no title.

Too sad to sleep. Is that a thing?

I made the mistake of touching Max’s urn as I went to bed. Is that what it’s called when it’s a wood box? Is it still an urn? I can’t think straight. But it opened floodgates, which I guess means they should be emptied a little more frequently.

I think of my Dad, fresh ashes only six months old, in his wooden urn, downstairs. Mixed with my Mom’s ashes, five years old. Only me and my sister left from that nuclear family, but at least I have her. I’m so glad I have her.

I am so tired of being sad, but I can’t help it. I try things, I promise. I work out, I play with Mayhem, visit with friends, do projects, even visited a cow ranch recently. But I’m miserable, both inside and to be around. I can fake it for a minute, but I don’t know how my husband stands me.

It’s the drifting thoughts. Of a house emptied out, signing papers, how Max used to snuggle his muzzle into blankets, the last long conversation I had with my Dad, the last coherent conversation I had with my Mom. They’re all wound together, rarely separate.

It’s times like these I feel so brittle, small, like a crumpled piece of paper. But I remember too that these are good days. There is so much time in my past that I was unhappy for one reason or another, but looking back, those were good days. I wish I was there now. I would go through the pain again to have them all back. Max frisking at the bottom of stairs, my Mom guilting me that I hadn’t called recently, my Dad forgetting my birthday.

I know in the future I will look back on my todays, wishing I was here. It gives me no solace, though. Just something like guilt, a preemptive mourning for things not lost yet.

I wish I knew when I would stop feeling this way, sadness dragging me like undertow.

Don’t mind my midnight mournings, unedited. And what do I title this now? At least that will distract me from my emotions for a minute.