It has been raining. There is a lull now, and the raindrops glisten on the leaves like points of light.

They remind me of tears. How they gather there in your eyes where they pause and then fall.

My own tears are fading a bit. I think this past Friday was a day where I understood that life might be moving to another phase.

Of course I knew it would. But there is a secret furtive thought those of us facing loss feel, I think. We fear that we are broken to such an extent that we cannot possibly be repaired.

Never made to feel truly alive again.

blue and white plate behind candlelight

When I woke up this past Friday, I wasn’t even sure if it was Thursday or Friday.

Sometimes the days just blend one into another. I had to actually get online to know for certain that it was really Friday.

Then, later in the day, it finally occurred to me that it was actually Friday the 13th.

The last Friday the 13th I recall with any prominence was when I had my first ankle surgery. I had broken it on a Sunday, but had to wait until Friday for surgery.

That was Friday the 13th of 2012. I remember thinking about that as the anesthetic worked its way into my system and I faded into oblivion.

coneflower

On this past Friday, I woke up and my heart was not quite as heavy. I actually felt a bit of lightness, something that has been in very short supply since Abi died.

Then immediately afterward I felt a jolt of dread and sadness.

I don’t want my sweet Abi to slip away into the past. I don’t want to have days when I don’t think of her.

That seems like losing her all over again. Or that she was never there to brighten my days to begin with.

abi

I know my grief is playing tricks on my mind. That it is thwarting what is natural and misrepresenting what is real.

It is the sort of delusion, I suppose, that comes with the many phases of grief. The fear of not grieving them any longer. The fear of the pain going away.

Does that happen?

Do we just slip our memories of them between the clear pages of an album, gently close it and file it away? Surely not.

I can’t bear the thought of that. I just can’t.

Just as I can’t think of her or see a photo of her without my eyes brimming with tears.

zinnias

I miss her.

The days have a token emptiness in them because she is not here acting silly and making me laugh.

Grief is such a powerful emotion. Sometimes it feels like everything inside me is all twisted up. Mixed up. Turned upside down. Inside out.

Because losing my baby left a space that cannot be filled.

Grief, for a time, means there are no periods at the end of a sentence. Just commas where you find some respite from the pain.

But two days ago, on Friday, I remember somehow, inexplicably, feeling just a bit lighter. Like the world wasn’t pressing me down with such heavy handedness.

I guess a crack somewhere opened up and a trickle of happiness found its way in.

my dog Charlie

Charlie is doing well, becoming quite spoiled in fact. I wonder if he remembers Abi? If there is an empty hole where she once was and is no longer?

We have our routines. I still turn the lamp off at night, lay my head down next to him and pet him while I sing my little song to him about how much I love him. Over and over in the darkness I sing the six verses.

Life goes on. Sometimes it moves in tiny steps and sometimes it runs like the wind.

Sometimes the rain gathers its droplets on the tree leaves and hesitates before it falls. Like a swimmer ready to dive. Who pivots, pauses there for emphasis and then continues to scissor on into the pool of water below.

As the sun begins to push through the clouds, I feel a glimmer of hope for the future. I know that my heart will be heavy at times. Like right now.

That sometimes the grief will pin me to the past with laser focus and I will feel the sharpness of loss in ways that often will still take my breath away.

But I also know that I will be happy again. I’m almost certain of it. Contentment will slowly and inexorably find its way into my days.

It is around the corner. I feel it waiting for me there.

Behind the heavy curtain that swishes open to a future version of my life.

Just not quite yet.

I hear a bird warbling its song in a distant tree. The sun is now shining and the rain is gone. Life goes on.

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34 Comments

  1. Oh Brenda even thought your words make me feel your pain I am glad you are sharing your story with us. It is so difficult to lose a pet and the grief is overwhelming. I am on the verge of making the decision to have our beloved Jack Russell Sadie put down. She has lupus and poly arthritis and her front legs are so deformed they are at a ninety degree angle at the wrists and now she is losing her back legs too. We carry her everywhere and she only stands long enough to go to the bathroom. The vet says other than that she is in good health so we continue use to lift her even though that is dangerous for us since we have fallen before. I know the time must come but every time I think of it I cry so hard.

    1. What a difficult decision to make. Charlie seems to squat more now instead of raising his leg. I know his back hurts him.

  2. Brenda it was good to read your emotional words of your healing journey. I am so happy you found some lightness on Friday. That was a true gift for you. I know Charlie remembers Abi just like you do.
    He probably has moments where he hears her or thinks she is going to be next to him. They say dogs can grieve just like we do and they do remember. Hope you have a lot more of those lighter days ahead.
    Kris

  3. You will always have your wonderful memories of sweet Abi and they will always bring a smile to your face. You’ll never forget her but I believe soon that this pain will lessen and you will have wonderful memories to comfort you. I love your bedtime routine with Charlie and I know he is enjoying having you all to himself. I’m glad the sun came out for you, I would love some of that rain here at my home. Enjoy your Sunday evening!
    Carol and Molly

  4. We just lost our beloved collie, Dobby,, unexpectedly. I read your words and I feel the same pain and sadness! It’s almost three weeks since he’s been gone. I find hope that soon we’ll be able to talk about him without so many tears. Heartbreak is a long road to travel. I wish you peace!!

  5. Your words are so comforting. You won’t ever forget Abi, she will always be with you just in a different way. You have so many beautiful pictures of her and Charlie. I’ve lost so many pets over the years and often they come back to me and I’m so happy to know they shared their life with me.

    1. I miss petting her soft curly fur. I miss her goofy expressions. I miss her “talking” to me or scolding me.

  6. dogs and cats have very long memories. Charlie is probably trying to comfort you and make up for the loss. Keep him close and give him the reward of knowing he is making you happier. That is what he wants.

    1. And that is what I do. After I cry, I pet him and tell him he makes me so happy. That I love him so much.

  7. Brenda, you will never forget Abi. I now have a lot of joy from my new puppy Lily, but I still talk to Romeo and think of him almost every day. Nothing will ever take away the pain of losing him, but the heart is a miraculous thing, and we have plenty of room in it for a new fur baby to love.

    1. I’m so glad you now have Lily. Sometimes I think of you there at your senior complex walking Lily and having everyone stopping to tell you how pretty she is. I know you are proud.

  8. You are able to put into words what my heart feels. Our loves are never forgotten but the “everyday in your face” sting of loss lessens so there are some days of peace and contentment. As time goes by there are more of those contented days where the heart is calm and there is beauty to be enjoyed — and memories to be treasured.

    1. I know you are right. I’m just not there yet. That “everyday in your face” is not present every morning any more. But when it comes, it is a fast slap in the face.

  9. I must type this while I am between torrents of tears. On Friday 13th, 2012, I was at the vet with my Chyna Bleu, receiving instructions about her back injury, and clueless about the horror that awaited us the following Sunday when two pit bulls would attack us in our own front yard and murder my beloved cocker spaniel. I still have difficulty watching videos I’d made of her because they open such a deep wound in my heart. This last week I took my 10-year-old Yorkie, Laney, to the vet about a lump in her neck, only to discover she had lymphoma and had most likely a few weeks to live. Here we are again at a Friday 13th week, six years later, again in the throes of anguish. Silly superstitions, huh. I started my Laney on prednisone therapy right away and have spent the last few nights sleeping with my hand on her body to make sure she’s breathing. Laney came to me in August of 2012, and pulled me from my grief over Chyna Bleu, and now I will lose Laney too. I am elated when the prednisone is working, but mostly we sit or lie close together and “snuggie”. She doesn’t always welcome even my touching her when she feels very bad, but as soon as I leave her side she tries to follow me. I’ve begun analyzing her every move to determine if she’s declining further, as though I can stop the process. I’ve gotten everything she loves, especially “chickie chickie”. She even climbed off the sofa for that yesterday. I know I’ll have to collect myself soon, but for now I want to join the thunderstorm outside my window and just cry.

    1. Oh my goodness Phyllis, so sorry to hear about your loss of your cocker spaniel and what you are facing again soon. My prayers will be with you and your precious Laney.

    2. Oh my God, I am so very sorry. How on earth are we supposed to weather these storms? To move past these many losses? I wish I could sit with you and hold your hand while you cry.

  10. Beautiful post. Keep writing and thinking things through to process and share your grief. You aren’t alone; we are all here to listen.

    1. I get so emotional and I have to find words to mirror what I’m thinking, to quickly type them all here, or I think I might explode.

  11. You won’t forget her. She will always be just off stage in your memories. Sometimes a different act will come on stage, perform awhile, and take your mind off of her. But don’t worry, she is waiting patiently, and when her turn to perform comes up, she will trot right back out into the spotlight. This is the way it is for me with memories of my daughter, who died in August 2016, and our big old orange cat Mickey, who died in November 2017. These two were very big stars in my life, and they still love to come out and take a bow and get a standing ovation from me. Abi will always be the big star on your memory stage too.

  12. I know Charlie won’t forget Abi. They remember as well as we do. Maybe he is teaching you how to go forward. After I lost one of my pugs I was heart broken and couldn’t quit crying. My other pug seemed not to notice the absence after a while. I was sitting on the bed with her and, just for fun, I called out the other pug’s name, as if to get her to come. Phoebe jumped up on her feet and looked at the door expectantly waiting for Autum to come running in and join us. After a bit Phoebe just turned around in a circle and settled down next to me. I tricked her, but I knew then that she had not forgotten either. I didn’t do that to her again. It seemed cruel. I did feel guilty when the grieving process lessened. I felt it was a betrayal, but it’s been many years now since I lost Autum and sting is still there, but not as sharp; life does go on, as you say. Have a blessed Sunday with happy memories of sweet Abi.

  13. This poetic and profound post touches what is left of my soul. My grieving heart found a moment of understanding compassion. God bless you.

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