Grief

Grief & Solitude

It was cold last night. In the low to mid-forties.

I covered my vegetable plants. But both my chartreuse and purple sweet potato vine look a bit haggard this morning. I hope they’re okay. Hard to imagine that kind of weather in May.

When it rains, the boughs of the tree sweep down way over the wicker settee. My dark little spot on the patio. Still the bees and wasps and butterflies hover over the white flowers, but not as many as there were that one day.

Isn’t it interesting how nature has a schedule, and all nature’s creatures abide by it? The birds know when it’s time to nest. And the butterflies know when the tree blooms white flowers. The laws of nature might as well have been written in stone.

Today is the one year anniversary of losing Abi. I can still recall the last night I spent with her, knowing the next day she would be taken from me. Waking up that morning, telling myself to enjoy her fully and tell her I love over and over and over and holding her close. Then watching the light dim in her eyes.

I thought losing her was going to kill me there for awhile.

I miss her still. Grief is such a strange and intense thing. It takes over your very being and holds you in its clutches for a long, long time. And then, as time passes and memory dims just a bit, it gets easier. It’s one of those one-day-at-a-time sort of things.

I had this awful dream last night. My ex was in it and in the dream he was leaving me for his girlfriend. But in the dream my children were young again. He wasn’t their father, so of course dreams have a way of mixing things up and changing time related events.

In the dream I recall how frightened I was, because I didn’t know how I was going to support us. And he was being tedious about helping out.

Fear, I think, has a taste. It is coppery. A bit metallic on the tongue. You can’t wash it out.

Shock is much the same. Fear is the result of something scary. And shock is the result of something surprising. But the feeling they evoke are of the same intensity.

Like someone is gripping you by the shoulders and forcing you to look into an abyss.

I read a book the other day about women forming a group to communicate with one another via the internet. On the surface the group seemed to be about knitting, so the spouse/partner wouldn’t be threatened.

But once you were a member and received a password, you were taken to another group where women spoke of their real life. Where they commiserated with and tried to help one another.

They talked between them about plans of getting out, leaving their restraints behind. But fear is what drove them to trust one another in this anonymous fashion. Because home had become a place of violent outbursts and wearing long sleeves to cover bruises. Someone they loved had become someone they feared.

I don’t know if this statistic is true or not. But in the book it said that once you divorce a man with these tendencies and then get a restraining order is the most likely time he will kill you. Leaving is a time of real danger in those situations I know.

I guess that’s truly when the rubber meets the road. The time of reckoning.

The woman works up her courage and takes a chance. And either she makes it out to the other side, or he pulls her back in. Or worse, he kills her. Why does this happen so much?

When you spend the bulk of your time alone, you think about a lot of things. I cherish my solitude because I truly need it. But it’s also when I work out a lot of things in my head.

Many people rush through life from one event to the other and I don’t know how they function. I guess it’s habit. For many I suppose it could be loneliness.

Loneliness has never been a factor with me. Charlie and Ivy and I have a good thing going here. I miss my Abi. But I will always hold her in my heart.

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
Lord Byron

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24 Comments

  1. Brenda, I was thinking about you and Abi the other day because I realized the anniversary was coming right up. I know you as “only” a cyberspace friend, but followed her health decline closely every day last year, and cried and cried when you had to say goodbye to her.

    Praying for lots and lots of comfort and peace for you.

  2. Hi Brenda,
    Time does ease the pain but you will always feel the deep love you had for her and miss her always. April 15 is the anniversary of my Princess leaving me and I can never forget it. I still miss her terribly even though I have a house full of goofy animals.

    Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!

  3. I still miss our little Yorkie. I remember the last moments. It’s an awful feeling of heart break. Hugs

  4. It is so hard when we lose a fur baby. I miss my little Maggie so much at times that it brings tears to my eyes. At my age I was not going to get another pet, but my Hayley came into my life and changed things. She is such a sweet little dog.
    Your patio is so beautiful. The perfect place to sit, relax and read.
    Have a wonderful day

  5. Brenda, I love your writing. Could you tell us what book you read about the women
    with the secret link for the abused women? It happens to so many women.

  6. It remains cold here, too. Sunny today, but chilly and more rain, rain, rain forecast for next week. A chill and rather bleak Spring here in Michigan.

    Your patio is so charming, Brenda. Beautiful. I wish I could come over and sit on it with you!

    Reading your memories of Abi my tho’ts go to my sweet dog, Tavi. He left me a year ago this last Feb. He was such a dear companion and I still miss him so much. I’m making do with a couple of dogs who visit routinely, but it’s not the same.

    Dreams can be so vivid and real and bring up such strong feelings and fears. I had a few nights last week where I was dreaming about one boyfriend from my high school and early college days. He broke up with me and there’s part of me that’s never gotten over it. I know that sounds silly and at my age, too, but it’s true. All these years I’ve wished that relationship had lasted. So, after two or three nights of dreaming about him I was in a pretty deep funk. I had to really make myself focus on the present to get out of it. I began cleaning and organizing—that always helps me to get back on track for some reason. Anyway, I hope you don’t have any more sad and frightening dreams.

    Thanks for all you share with us. I hope you have a pleasant Mother’s Day. Hugs to you and pats for the fur babies.

  7. Ah Brenda…your post, as always, touches my heart. First, let me say, I understand about grief in losing a beloved pet. I have loved animals my entire life and have lived with many throughout my years. Only a few died from accidental causes and most we had to put down from the diseases of old age. Those times are so awful, however a necessary part of responsible love. I fully expect to see a plethora of my dogs and cats when I get to the pearly gates, cause Heaven is supposed to be filled with joy. Right now we have 4 dogs and 4 cats living here and most are rescues. Your garden is so lovely and healthy. We have planted most of our garden in pots to make it easier for us to garden. Let me say how sad that I feel when reading about and hearing about women living in such horrible home situations. I wish that they could all have someone like my husband. I know how blessed I am to be married for 58 years this year. Don’t know why I am so blessed, but am so thankful. Our daughter has been married twice and both have been not very nice people. She will be divorcing this second one soon. I wish you a happy Mother’s and peace. Blessings, Carolyn

  8. It’s so hard for me to believe Abi’s been gone a year already. That time really flew by. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…I was thinking about Zippo the other day and it hit me that he’s been gone six months now. And that was hard for me to fathom that my fur baby has been gone that long already, too. And then my son…this September he will have been 10 years. How is that even possible? Time is a weird phenomenon.

    I think your plants should be fine – the 40’s isn’t bad. We’re still in the 30’s at night here.

  9. Oh goodness, you covered a lot of deep territory. Grief is wicked bc I never know when it’s going to pop up. The upside is that it reminds me to love the ppl and pets currently in my life

  10. Brenda,

    Good afternoon. I too feel the same pain that you do about loosing my Munchen. It is amazing how incredibly painful it is to loose a pet and then at the same time it is not surprising considering how much love and attention we receive from our pets.

    I am thinking of you on this one year anniversary of the passing of your sweet Abi and hope that Charlie and Ivy are sticking close and showering you with love.

    Have a great weekend.

  11. I’m so sorry about Abi, I do know you miss her terribly. Grief lasts much longer for some than for others. While a smile is pasted on the outside, the crying continues on the inside. Fear/grief…I think sometimes they go hand-in-hand…both having a strong grip that is hard to break free of. I do hope you are able to enjoy time with your family this weekend for Mother’s Day! Love and hugs to you!

  12. Jeez, I can’t believe it’s been a year. I don’t think we ever get over the losses, I think we learn to live with them, and they lessen just a little over time.

  13. The last dog I had, Tasha, a very large, gentle and clumsy Doberman mix, I had put down in 2004 after she wasn’t able to stand up anymore. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do as an adult, even worse than losing her other two older companion “brother” dogs, one in 1999 and one in 2001. My three doggy-children and I. After Tasha’s death, I decided not to get any more domestic pets. I stuck with feeding wildlife in the backyard. You don’t get over the grief, I don’t think one ever fully does. But it does get “easier” to handle, or perhaps the word is “manageable.” I have wonderful memories of my doggies from many years back. Maybe there is a limit to how much grief a person can withstand; I think I have reached mine when it comes to pets. Nature is wise, but nature doesn’t help a grieving one.

  14. Brenda,
    Your written words bring comfort to many who share this loss.
    I also enjoy time, with my two kitties, in quiet introspection.
    The butterflies and birds visiting my little garden, bring me such joy too – “just the little things”

  15. Such a lovely post thank you for sharing !
    I share your pain I lost my precious Mallory this year and it was so very hard .My health is bad now and it has been an awful year .I am looking with hope to see the sun shine again .We all must continue to have hope less all is lost !
    You mean so much to so many keep up the good work ,I treasure your blog ,it makes me smile when all is dark and gloomy .
    Happy mother’s day weekend !

  16. Your post today is in many ways reflecting my own thoughts. The trees outside my window are fully leafed out and the birds are chirping. The days are getting warmer. Flowers are blooming everywhere in my neighborhood and I enjoy seeing them on my daily walks. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

    My dog Romeo has been in my thoughts a lot lately, as it is almost 3 years since he traveled to the rainbow bridge to play and wait for me to join him. Just writing this makes me tear up as no other pet could ever take his place in my heart. I miss him so terribly still.
    But my health is not what it used to be and it is a good thing I no longer have a pet to care for. I have good days and bad days and it is amazing to me that my stamina and strength is not what it used to be. But I will always miss having a pet, especially Romeo.

    Your patio is amazing and you are so lucky to have such a wonderful space, and I am glad you have Nathan to help you with the heavy lifting.

    Have a good day friend, and know that Abi is waiting for you to join her someday. In the meantime she has lots of friends in the many pets who are waiting with her and is healthy and strong once again.

  17. Awwww sweet Abi, I can’t believe it’s been a year….but of course it is, because I lost my dad within the month after you lost Abi. My dad was suffering so much, and I know he’s at peace now, but it doesn’t make missing him any easier. Some nights I just break down to a song that reminds me of him, or just spotting his picture on my fridge. I know you’re the same with Abi….and I know my time is coming with my old girl Lily. She’ll be 17 in September and her days are numbered. Right now we just love her and spoil her…poor sweet baby, she was always the best girl.

  18. Sending you hugs, Brenda!! Some dogs/pets make such an imprint on our hearts and lives…I well understand…still missing my Ebbie!! STILL!! And sorry about the dream…sometimes they are a bit too real!! Hope things today will give you some peace!!