The New Normal

petunias

Every year I grow more enamored of purple in my garden space. There is something so calming about it, though like red it is a spirited color.

There’s something about gazing into the depths of the purple flower that is different from other hues.

lantana

And all the way at the other end of the color spectrum is this golden yellow lantana, which brings butterflies in in droves. This flower is toxic to cats and dogs. Since I don’t have cats, I put mine up high.

It is overcast today. When I went out to check on the plants this morning I noticed that the lovely white blooms from the tree have already started to turn brown. My thought was: Like me, it is mourning and has faded early.

dog

Yesterday morning a package came to my door. I opened it to find a wooden box of soothing little gifts from my ad company, Adthrive. I was so surprised.

I don’t know how they knew, as they have so many bloggers in their network. Their card explained that they’d been following Abi’s illness. I was so touched.

Someone asked if Abi and Charlie are litter mates. No, they were not. Abi came into my life in August 2006 and Charlie in September 2006 from different places.

My next door neighbors, who are moving out of state in a few month,, have been so good to me. Bringing me food, calling to check in on me.

I so appreciate their kindness. They are pet people like me. And when they move I will miss them.

purple flowers

One of you emailed (I must have deleted the email after I wrote down the name) the name of a book that was helpful to her in her time of grief that I am ordering.

book

I will of course plant something in Abi’s memory later on. I’m far from that point when I could handle that yet. I’m trying not to upset Charlie any more than is necessary. And my sobbing frightens him.

In his own way my Charlie boy lets me know that he is sad and wants to make me feel better.

He is sleeping beside me on the left side, his side, (Abi’s side was the right side) with his pink tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. His nearness calms me.

I try to get him to sleep next to me at night, but he is ingrained in his ways. Abi would probably have pitched a fit if he had dared to do that because she was so jealous when it came to me.

I pick him up and lay him down next to me, but he immediately moves back down to the foot of the bed. I don’t know if that will ever change. But his presence is soothing no matter where he is.

flower

I found myself humming as I was doing something in the kitchen. When I realized what I was doing, I stopped and stood there and was a bit shocked at myself.

I absent-mindedly hum. Little ditties, parts of songs, music from a TV commercial.

I felt ashamed. How could I be humming when Abi is gone? I asked myself. How could I be doing something so ordinary when this is not an ordinary time?

I know there will probably be many moments when things start to normalize when I will chastise myself, even though I know intellectually that there is no need for that.

I have received so many emails from those of you who are grieving. From those who share memories of their time of grief.

Hopefully we can help one another during this sorrowful stage of life.

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

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32 Comments

  1. Hoping that having Charlie beside you will help make this journey a little easier. He feels the pain as well!
    Getting out and humming is the best thing you can do for yourself.
    Healing comes little by little and life goes on!
    Enjoy your beautiful garden. It’s always a pleasure to look at them!

    Be good to yourself and Charlie!
    God bless

  2. You know Abi knows she was and is loved and was well cared for. She would not want you to grieve for long even though she was jealous at times of Charlie. I choose to believe that these precious pure souls will greet us in our after life. Be well Brenda as dear Abi would want you to be.

  3. How nice of your ad company to send you a package….. So thoughtful of them!
    I just got back home from staying with my daughter who had surgery….my first week there they had to have their beloved Bassett hound, Roscoe, put to sleep….we had a very hard week….they had him for 13 years. The house felt so empty without him….. Two days after ward my daughter had her surgery which lasted almost 4 hours….
    I could not believe that Abi was gone…. I had not been able to keep up with my blog reading while I was gone…. My heart aches for you! Hugs and prayers for you. ?

  4. Dear Brenda,
    I haven’t been keeping up on Bloglovin so I hadn’t been on since you first took Abi to the vet. I’m so sorry for your loss. We had to put our beloved Peke down in March. It is so very hard to not have him around. I cry when I see his things or remember how funny he was. We rescued him 8 years ago. We also have another rescue dog who misses him very much. We found both dogs on Petfindr.com. Now when looking on there, we aren’t seeing nearly as many dogs. There are quite a few Yorkies on there. When you & Charlie are ready consider rescuing a new dog. Sending you hugs & healing thoughts.
    Sandy B

  5. My hugs and prayers to you -I am so sad with you. Please know Abi knew she was loved and important and precious – she sure did know. I hope that brings you some comfort.
    Hugs,
    Carol

  6. I’ve personally found humming to be nothing more than yet another way to process grief. Some days, it may nothing more than a line I will hum repeatedly the whole day through. I do not feel it as a sign of lighthearted whimsy, rather, a process to seeking answer. I believe there are truly no rules in grief and you must allow it its due course. Let no one short change you of this.

    They can be remarkable creatures these precious ones. Days I marvel at how my boy did what he did without ever being able to vocalize a single word. Extraordinary I tell myself and astounding beyond words!

    I wish to thank one of the readers here for the suggestion of, “Knowing what I know about Heaven” because it is so lovely. I’ve never heard it before. It answered a specific question I’ve asked myself as of late and you answered it so beautifully. Thank you …

    God bless you Brenda on this journey and may the love of Abi touch you in a special way.

  7. What Marcia said makes perfect sense to me! When I lost Princess, I was absolutely devastated even though I had several other dogs. I took a break from fostering rescues for a while but one of the first dogs I fostered was so much like Princess that I kept her. Abbey doesn’t look anything like Princess but they are the same weight and similar personalities….and so many of the same little quirks. It’s uncanny. For a long time I thought maybe it was Princess reincarnated, or partially. Abbey loves me but doesn’t adore me the way Princess did. But she is a super sweet dog and has helped me to stop crying so much. Time is the only thing that really helps that though.

  8. I know from experience how awful it is to lose a pet that means the world to you. Abi would not want you to feel sad or guilty. In time the hurt will lessen and you will be able to smile when remembering happy times and little moments you shared her. Think of her when she was at her happy best and be grateful for the wonderful life you were able to give her. Both of you were lucky and blessed to have had each other. And keep humming away – I’m sure Charlie likes it. Life is so fleeting we have to grab onto any little bit of happiness that comes our way.

  9. You gave Abi the precious gift of being loved, and for a long, long time. You cared for her and gave her the very best that you could possibly give. Take comfort in that. Take your grieving slowly. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way, and for as long as it takes you, even if it’s many years.
    You are in my prayers and in my thoughts, Brenda.

  10. You are allowed to be happy, Abi would want that. Hum away and cry if you want to as well. Grief is a strange world, because as we are drowning in sorrow we feel as if everyone around us should as well, like the world should stop because we lost someone, and yet all around us it goes on.

    How wonderful that your ad company sent you something to remember Abi, there are so many nice people in the world. IT is nice to see that.

    Take care of yourself and Charlie, Hugs to the two of you.

  11. Hum away! Your Abi would be pleased and Charlie is comforted as are you by this normal habit.
    You just take care of yourself and Charlie — one foot in front of the other and one day at a time.

    Your plants look so pretty and healthy; the purple flowers are really attractive. And as usual, the photos are great.

  12. Every day I am thinking about you and Charlie. I deeply feel your pain and grief. I am in tears for what you are going thru. Our pets mean the world to us and always will.
    Hoping for better days ahead for you Brenda, but sometimes we have to stay right where we are for a while, we don’t want to move forward and that is okay. Sending much love.

    1. I am so much more comfortable around animals than I am with people. Their unconditional love means so much to me.

  13. I agree with the comment from Marcia above. It just rings true in so many ways. Brenda, wishing you sunshine in your day today..and more and more sunny days to follow. Love and hugs from WI

    1. Last night I kept seeing the way she would raise her lips and show her teeth, which was when she was smiling. I cried and cried. But Charlie didn’t see it that time. I keep telling him I love him and that it’s just him and me now.

  14. Brenda,

    You may be humming from habit, but whatever the reason please do not feel guilty. It in no way negates the deep grief you are experiencing. I continue to keep you and Charlie in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. I know you’re right. It just hit me that humming was a happy thing and I’m not happy right now. I miss her so much!

  15. JUST AS YOU ARE ADJUSTING TO THE “NEW NORMAL ” SO IS SWEET CHARLIE. AS YOU BOTH MOVE FORWARD, YOU MAY FIND THAT CHARLIE’S HABITS AND USUAL BEHAVIORS MAY CHANGE. AS HE IS NOT COMPETING FOR YOUR ATTENTION, HE MAY BECOME MORE DEMONSTRATIVE, EVEN DEMANDING WITH HIS BEHAVIORS, EVEN MORE AFFECTIONATE.
    COMFORT EACH OTHER, BE THERE FOR EACH OTHER AND FOCUS ON ANYTHING POSITIVE, LIKE YOUR BEAUTIFUL PATIO GARDEN THAT GAVE, AND WILL AGAIN GIVE YOU MUCH PLEASURE IN THE FUTURE.
    KNOW YOU ARE LOVED BY YOUR MANY FRIENDS , WE CHERISH YOUR HONESTY AND LOOK FORWARD TO BETTER DAYS FOR YOU AND CHARLIE DEAR LADY.
    .

    1. I actually got out today and got a hair cut that I badly needed and went by the nursery and picked up a few plants for the extra pot my neighbor gave me. Felt good to be out in the sun and just walk anonymously among people.

  16. I was eating cottage cheese for lunch yesterday and just started crying. I remembered that Abi and Charlie liked it.
    Wrapping you and Charlie in a hug.

    1. Aw, that’s so sweet. Charlie has not really wanted the cottage cheese lately. It is hard for him to pick up I guess with two teeth. Abi loved it. He’s no longer competing for food, so slowing down his eating. When it looked like she was crowding him out, I would hold her until he got to eat a bit.

  17. Your humming was for Abi,,,it’s her comfort coming through you. Whenever I’ve lost a pet (many),,,,,I let myself believe they are looking after me from the other side. I’ve mostly had rescue dogs. Every dog, no matter how challenging to start, has ended up simply fantastic for our family in the end. When I’ve lost a dog, and somehow a new pet finds its way into our care? I let myself believe that the pet I lost, hand chose the new arrival just for us. Matched us up so to speak. Knew what we and the new pet needed. Orchestrating the love that will grow again. So,,,,,I’m going to believe that your humming was Abi telling you she’s ok, and she wants comfort for you and Charlie, who may actually miss his mama humming. Abi’s your voice right now. I’m sorry if this seems silly. Getting through grief however one can is the best we can do.

      1. I, 1,000% believe in what Marcia said…our loves don’t leave us. When that incredible special bound happens between two species, a communication is formed, it is a pure love that can’t be broken by death…they are there still taking care of us…they are still with us deep in our heart and soul. In your quiet moments I know you can feel Abi pressing against your heart…she is telling you she is still there…still with you.

        I am a no nonsense, very logical person…but I KNOW without a single doubt that when I close my eyes for the last time, my loves will be there showering. me in love, and ready for our next journey together.

        P.S. After reading all your followers comments of the last few days all I can say is what a beautiful group of special people you have sharing your loss, I am honored to be among them.

  18. Poor Charlie, no doubt your crying is worrisome to him. I’m sure he’s all confused and doesn’t know why Abi’s not around to keep him in line any more. I don’t know how long it took to stop mourning for my Reilly when he passed, but I do know that when Lily came into my life she helped tremendously. I was so focused on getting her to assimilate into the family, training her, playing with her – it kept me busy and kept my mind off my mourning. And seeing her joy, playing with her toys, she made me laugh, I couldn’t help myself.

    1. He is confused. I see it in his eyes. This is the first day I felt like I could come to the comments and comment myself. Hopefully Thursday with the MRI I’ll get some news about what to do about the pain in my hands, shoulders and neck and be able to type more soon.