The cloak of grief is heavy. It feels as though there are rocks sewn into the pockets.
Last night I turned down the sound machine next to my bed to better listen to the thunder outside, which then turned into torrents of rain.
But no sooner did I begin to feel the pleasure of listening to it than I was jerked up by the arm of guilt. How could I feel pleasure with Charlie gone?
We all know the five stages of grief because we’ve all been through it at one time or another.
Denial comes when you first learn of a loss. You immediately think: “This can’t be happening.”
Anger is when reality sets in and you’re faced, everywhere you turn, with the pain of your loss.
During the bargaining phase, you dwell on what you possibly could have done to prevent this loss from occurring. You are harsh with yourself. Guilt comes blowing in like a strong wind.
Over and over again it plays in your head like an old record player stuck on the vinyl surface.
The what ifs.
We all grieve differently. I’ve been vacillating from one emotion to another.
I might be driving down the street and burst into sudden tears and sob all the way home.
And then comes the bargaining. Yesterday from time to time I found myself saying over and over: “I want my baby back. Please just let me have my baby back.”
On Monday afternoon I stood over him with my hands stroking his fur when the female vet, who was very kind, gently said: “He’s gone.”
I kissed him, told him how much I loved him, as I’d been saying during the whole process. And kept telling him that he was mama’s sweet boy.
Charlie began to snore after they gave him the sedative, and the vet remarked on it. Then he went peacefully toward death’s doors.
The vet came around the table and put her arms around me and told me how sorry she was.
Then I had to turn around and walk out that door without my baby.
And the tsunami of what happens after death began.
Guilt and sadness slapped me in the face as I walked out into the heat. How could I leave my Charlie behind?
And then I got in the car and drove home in a state of shock.
Did I do it too soon? Should I have waited a little longer? His doggy bed sat next to me in the passenger seat.
I just want my baby back.
Depression came rolling in yesterday. I felt myself sinking into that dark abyss.
Every single night since Abi died, I’ve sung him a little song I made up. I don’t know why, but twice every night I sang Charlie this song.
“I love my Charlie Ross, oh yes I do. I don’t love anyone, as much as you. And I will always be true to you. Oh, Charlie Ross, I love you.”
Then I would say: “I love you to the moon and back.”
But he’s no longer here to sing it to.
Acceptance will be down the road. I don’t want to accept it. Accepting it feels like a betrayal.
I call my dear friend Laura, who worked as a licensed therapist years ago, and sob like a child. And she listens while my grief comes tumbling out in disconnected fragments.
I probably don’t make any sense. But she listens anyway.
Ivy has been in my lap a lot. She seems to sense how sad I am. It frightens her when I cry. I’m brushing her and playing with her and giving her lots of attention.
I’ll be sad for a long time because I had to walk out of that place and leave my sweet boy Charlie behind. He’d been with me since I was in my forties. He’s slept with me every night at the foot of my bed.
He and Abi were with me during that long drive from Texas nearly 10 years ago.
I sometimes still think of the turkey farm in that little town in Texas where I picked him up.
I remember being so startled when I asked about and the woman told me his birth date. Strangely it was the same month and day as my best friend’s birthday. A friend I’d just recently lost a few months before.
I remember crying in front of that woman, a perfect stranger. As I told her about losing my friend.
And then we got home and he met up with Abi. They were quite a pair, those two.
I’m waiting on them to call me so I can go and bring his ashes home. I’ll put them next to Abi’s.
I thank you all for the heartfelt comments and emails you’ve sent me as I travel down the dark winding road of grief. You all are so very kind.