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It’s been two weeks today since Gracie passed away. It’s still difficult for me to talk about and I haven’t yet begun to write, although I know I will.
I found this poem and thought it appropriate.
In My Heart
I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence. I often speak your name.
Now all I have is memories, and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part.
God has you in his keeping.
I have you in my heart.
It’s over. And thank god for that.
B came to my house last Wednesday night to help me finish packing and then to help me move and then to help me unpack and hang things up. She also cooked a lot of meals for me. She also held me as I cried – mostly about my dog, but sometimes about my stress and worries. She left this morning to go back home. Almost a full week she was here helping me. I could not have done it without her. Supportive and caring girlfriends are awesome. I’m extremely lucky.
We have not had the best week together as a couple. I’m stressed and cranky and in business mode and it’s hard for me not to be that way until everything gets done. B is way more laid back and less motivated and it drives me nuts when she’s like that when there are things to do. Also, moving is a bitch and no one likes it – especially when it isn’t your shit – so it’s just not the happiest activity. B loses her patience quickly and gets frustrated easily. I’m not used to this and I don’t like it. I am also not the most patient person and I can be a bitch, especially during such a high stressful time. There was a good amount of clashing and basically NO time for the two of us just to connect. Thankfully we did our best to resolve the issues as they came up and are taking these things as learning experiences and trying to grow from them. I’m looking forward to this weekend where:
• I’ll be in PA – out of NJ and out of the one room that’s mine – new scenery!
• I won’t have to do anything associated with the house or moving or unpacking
• I’ll be able to have some one-on-one time with the gf and have some hot sex
• I’ll carve pumpkins and be childlike
• I’ll see beautiful fall leaves and take tons of pictures
• I’ll regroup and rest
The move itself was fairly uneventful, besides the fact that it rained all day. No surprise there. My family rocks – they are basically the ones who moved me and kept me sane on Saturday. I had things pretty well organized so that when they came things would be easy, and they were. The rest of Saturday and Sunday was spent getting small things out of the house, food out of the fridge, and making sure the house was fairly clean for the walk through. When we weren’t there we were at my new place unpacking my room. It was exhausting and tiring and I think I’m still sore. Things have been going well with my bestie and her husband and although we are still feeling things out as they come up I think we are all starting to settle into a routine of some sort. My room is actually pretty big, and as B says, “pimp,” which is helpful. I have my king size bed, my chest of drawers, my nightstand, my jewelry stand, a set of cube shelves, my couch, and a small computer desk in there. And there’s still some room to dance around. It’s a lot but it works. I’m hoping things continue to go smoothly and communication stays open if any issues arise. I certainly don’t feel like moving again anytime soon : ) And if for any reason I have to or if an opportunity comes up that would cause me to move, I am so hiring movers. I couldn’t afford it this time around but I’ll make sure to save my pennies.
Monday was emotional – all kinds of emotions running amuck – so I did the best I could. It was sad but a relief to sell the house. Bittersweet. I’ve owned that house since I’ve been 22 yrs old – it’s hard not to feel like a failure when you are starting over at 27. I am starting over though and I now have a chance to make a dent with my credit card debt now that I don’t have a mortgage – that makes me happy. I had some anxiety realizing that I’m now living in just one room and I really don’t have a house anymore. I talked about Gracie and her possible memorial and the hopes I have coming out of her death. After the closing I went to the movies with B and forgot about things for a while and laughed and held hands and focused on being in love. I had a breakdown before dinner and was scared and upset and overwhelmed and exhausted and stressed. I went to dinner with friends and felt loved and cared for and happy and grateful. It was a looooong day.
To recap: sadness, relief, failure, happy, anxiety, hopeful, angry, sad, loved, giggly, nervous, upset, excitement, scared, overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, grateful … and that’s probably not everything, but my brain’s no good to me right now. I was glad when that day was done.
I still have a few things left to do but they are minor. After a month and a half of constant non-stop work, I’m ready to do a few things for myself. First thing on the agenda: Watch Game 1 of the World Series tonight with friends.
Yankees are going down.
I move out of my home tomorrow. I have gotten so much done in the past month and a half, but tonight I still have quite a bit to do – which is mainly because there are certain things you need to live on a day to day basis, so they have not yet been packed. What is also tricky is that 75% of my things are going into storage, so when I pack I have to make sure I have everything I think I’m going to need with me packed in the correct places because nobody wants to go back through towers of boxes at a later point searching for their cell phone charger, or whatever. So just the packing alone is stressful.
Then I’m moving into a room at my bestie’s house. I was feeling pretty good about it but after this past week or so, I’m not sure. The great thing about moving into her house was that she loves me and my dog unconditionally and we were BOTH welcome. A lot of my other friends and family could have boarded me, but only me, and of course that wasn’t going to work because obviously I was keeping my dog. Also, I needed to stay at a place where I could contribute a small amount in rent so that I could use the money that I used to go to my mortgage to my debt. The goal for me is within a year or a year and a half to be mostly debt free. I can’t do that either living at my own place or staying with someone who would want me to pay a significant amount in rent. My bestie is all about helping me out so she came upon an agreed upon number that was great. (My mom also has her house open to me which would also be extremely cheap, but with 4 out of my 5 brothers living there, it is chaos. There is no privacy. There is no extra storage – I don’t think I could even get one cabinet in the kitchen for my food and the room is TINY. She lives 25 minutes south of me and my commute to work. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been out of her house since I’ve been 19. Did I mention there would be no privacy? So, while I’m super glad I have this as an option should my circumstances find me homeless, it is definitely an “I have no other option in my life” move.) So, the best choice here was my bestie’s house because I could bring my dog and not pay a super amount in rent.
Things have been getting a bit funky I think. I don’t know if I’m reading into it too much or what. She has two full baths in her house – one being in the master bedroom and the other being the one that would be my primary one – and she keeps stuff in the second bathroom’s closet. I don’t know why. She only gave me one shelf in there even though her things that took up the other three shelves could easily have fit on ONE shelf and there would STILL be room leftover on that shelf. When I asked her for an additional shelf she got pissed saying that I only asked for one. She gave it to me, but it was very uncomfortable and it has given me some extremely bad feelings. I feel like it’s the tip of the iceberg.
What I’m worried about there: What if she’s not so easygoing as she made herself out to be? What if she nitpicks at things? What if there are unreasonable rules? If she got that mad over a shelf, what else could she get that mad at?
Then she’s had some stuff in the closet in the room I’ll be occupying. It has been on her to do list to move those things into the closet in her other spare room since the end of September. I went last night to hang up clothes in my closet and those shelves are still not cleared off. It’s not like she’s busy – she comes home from work every night and cooks dinner and lays on the couch and watches TV. Literally. Every night. I was pretty angry about it (I had told her that Thursday and Friday I would be moving things over and asked her to make sure the closet was cleaned out) but of course didn’t mention it to her because it’s her house and I’m not yet living there so I guess she’ll move them when she sees fit. So I just had to leave the stuff that was meant for the shelves on the floor and I’ll have to put them up there when she does it.
What I’m worried about there: It just seems like a lack of respect. I’ve communicated times and actions and I’ve asked as I should and she agrees but then doesn’t do anything about it. It’s no secret that she’s lazy (she is my best friend after all, I know her well) but she’s now doing things that are effecting my progress of a super huge project. A roommate relationship relies heavy on being able to communicate and then doing what you say you are going to do (or not). Already I see that there is a breakdown on her end of things.
Then her husband (very recently) started a part time job working 11pm-3am so he is asleep when she gets home from work. The problem is he falls asleep on the couch and not in bed??? And I mean, this is when he’s getting the bulk of his sleep during the week, this is basically his bedtime. So this week when B and I have tried to take things over, we’ve had to tiptoe and try not to have their dogs bark and not make any noise. And we couldn’t bring anything over after 8, which is tough considering I don’t even get home from work until 6 and I have to get changed and eat something and pack a vehicle. So not much has gone over there. B and I didn’t mind working until the wee hours of the morning if we had to (it’s not like we’re doing this every night, just for two days or so out of our life) but we weren’t able to. We had even planned to take some stuff over tonight but I told B that I didn’t even want to bother – let’s just finish up at home and take everything on Saturday.
What I’m worried about there: The time her husband needs to sleep is the only time I’ll basically be in the house. The kitchen is right next to the living room. How am I going to cook dinner with him sleeping right there? How can I not wake him up? This is certainly not something I can talk to them about – there is no way I’m asking him to change his sleeping location so I can cook a meal. It’s their house. And I know, I can just see it now, if I do attempt to cook and I do wake him up, he’s going to be saying something to her and she’s basically going to give me the same speech she already has – which is that her husband needs his sleep. This wasn’t the situation when we decided I would move in – hell, it wasn’t the situation until a week and a half ago! I’m at a loss with this one.
Then her husband’s full time job is only temporary. He was only guaranteed a job until the end of September. He’s still working there but I’m not sure how much longer it will last. He had lost his job back in May and didn’t work anywhere until August and they were extremely behind on bills and everything else. My bestie was obviously unhappy and depressed and stressed and horrendous during this time.
What I’m nervous about there: This spells so many problems and I know it. I’m afraid if he loses his job (which is pretty guaranteed) they will want more in rent, which of course is a reasonable request except that I can’t do it. I can’t pay my hard earned money to help pay someone else’s mortgage just because they can’t get a job – hell, they haven’t even been looking for a job this whole time when they were at the temporary one. I need to do what is best for me. I need to worry about myself. I just can’t afford to do that. Also, my bestie was so miserable during that time this summer when he was unemployed (and rightfully so) that she didn’t want to be around anyone. She was in a dark place. I could barely stand to carpool with her and there was only so much I could do for her as her friend. The thought of having to live with her like that – it gives me anxiety just thinking about it.
When I spell everything out it does seem kind of crazy that I am even moving in – but, she was willing to take me and my dog in for little money when hardly anyone else was really able to do that. And I just kept thinking to myself that this wasn’t going to be forever – just for a year or so until I could get back on my feet. It’s not pleasant but you do what you have to do, right? That was my motto.
Now that moving day is here and I see the way she’s been acting and this new job has happened for her husband, I’m adding a new ulcer to my already existing ones. I just don’t have a good feeling about it like I used to. Something has changed. I’m worried.
Besides packing and dealing with these concerns I’ve been trying to deal with my dog’s death. I picked up her ashes on Wednesday (way sooner than I expected to) and cried most of the night. Big heaping sobs. The box is still in the bag it came in. I have not yet been able to take it out and look at it. I’m trying to deal with the fact that I’m moving out of the only house I’ve ever lived in with her – where all my associations and memories of her are in a home – to a place where I’ll have no memories of her and no associations. I almost feel like leaving the house is leaving a part of her. Yesterday I was finally able to smell her for the first time (B had been smelling her since the day before but due to my constant crying when I’m home I wasn’t able) and that made me happy and sad. She’s in the carpet at the bottom of the steps. I’m sure I’m going to put my nose to the carpet and try to register the memory of her smell before walking out the door for the last time. It’s kind of crazy but I don’t care.
I have one animal left in my house – my cat, Chase, whom I have had since she was a kitten. She has always wanted attention but it seems to be worse now that Gracie is gone. I love her and I’m glad I have her, but it’s not the same as Gracie. Chase is staying with my grandparents for the year or so that I don’t have my own place because I can’t take her with me. So as of this weekend, I’ll be saying goodbye to my last pet. I went from 5 pets in April to none. It is so hard to be ok with that state of affairs. I wish it wasn’t this way.
I’m trying hard to look on the positive side of things all of the time. I’m trying to come up with solutions about my worries and trying to find ways to deal with my grief. I’m trying to be a good girlfriend. I’m trying to attend family events and talk to them and catch up often. I’m trying to look for a part time job so I can help myself and my future out and get out of financial hardship. I’m trying to keep on top of things at work, take on more responsibility, do all that is expected of me and more. I’m trying to keep it all together. Really, I am. I’m trying so hard. I know there are people out there that have it worse than I do. I know that it could be worse for me. I try to remember that. I try to be grateful for what I do have. I try. I try. I try.
Hopefully things go smoothly this moving weekend and hopefully I can get almost everything unpacked and away by Sunday night. Hopefully settlement goes without a hitch on Monday. I have the whole day off of work so if everything is done at my new place I hope to have a quiet afternoon with B. On Monday night I organized a celebratory dinner with friends at my favorite restaurant, PF Chang’s. Celebrate new beginnings.
In the middle of all of this stress and anxiety and worry I have to remember that this is a new beginning. This is the hard part, the leaving of the old and beginning of the new, but I’ve had to experience so much change in the past six months – I know I can do it. The journey is possible.
Oy vey. Is it Tuesday yet?
Jude, I don’t know how to thank you properly for this amazingly thoughtful gift. It was silly for me to be reading it on the subway where I balled my eyes out. I can’t explain how much it means to me – not just the donation and the fact that money is going to help out other dogs in Gracie’s name, but your generosity and thoughtfulness. We haven’t even met in person yet you are still such a great friend… I’m lucky to have you in my life.
Thanks Jude. Gracie loves this, I know.
Re-reading my last post was maybe harder than writing it. Writing a thank you for your comments is choking me up, and I really don’t know how to adequately express what I feel, so I’ll just tell you that it means so much to me and I thank you. Gracie thanks you.
I’ve gotten some cards in the mail, a few with a bit of poems in them that make you weep at the second line. I was finally able to read this one in it’s entirety today. I’m not religious at all, but it’s so comforting. I really like to think I will see her again.
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill, is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run, when their time on the earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next, is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play, till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness, for here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed, their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care, until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back, then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met; together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past, the time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart, has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever, and then, side by side, they cross over… together.
It is not something I am capable to write about right now; my grief is currently too much to handle to get my thoughts in proper order. My doggie, Gracie, died unexpectedly on Thursday. She was five and a half years old and healthy and I don’t really know what was the cause of her death. She was my best friend, my child, my family – I was closer with her than I was to most people – and the loss of her is simply devastating.
There is so much I want to write about and say and so much I want to remember –about her life with me but even about the day she left. I need to do it for my grieving and I need to do it for her memory.
I love you, Gracie Mac. I don’t understand why you had to leave so soon. I don’t feel like our time together was supposed to be over already, but I am grateful for it, as short as it was. I have a million things I want to thank you for. I hope your time here was fun and adventurous and happy. I hope I was a good mom. I hope you are in a great place right now – a place where you can run free and play with other dogs; a place where human food drops down occasionally for you to scoop up; a place where you can chase all of the cats you want; a place where there are miles of sand and beach and shoreline for you to frolic and play fetch; a place where there is unlimited bodies of water for you to swim. I hope you are still the happiest dog I know, even without your mom. You have touched me and so many other people so deeply and taught us all more than we could have imagined – you will never be forgotten.
I miss you. I miss you down deep in my soul, in the core of my being, in every part of my body with a fierceness I can’t explain.
I love you, Girl.
The significance of all those moments,
speckled and nestled with smiles and warmth
collapses under the weight of a few choices,
moments that cement the end – the surest of things
and it dries quicker than my heart can beat.
There is no un-doing.
I shift through the rubble
pull out what has survived
what can come and what has to stay.
Some of it has to stay.
Time is now the only significance
Days that pass become the glue that dries
putting my soul back together
it forms a new self
Evolution happens despite
and we grow
time creates a new truth
A seed of hope is planted
your smile pierces,
reaches the hardest places and
once again I let go
not yet trusting completely so I use
They help as you walk beside me.
Logic screams at me,
intertwines itself amongst hope and beauty and
but you are steadfast
showing me that logic might actually
be the wrong answer.
Act on your heart alone.
The same journey
moves in a different direction
the course changes
but the core stays constant.
The past moments
their significance once so profound
now just become a part of the history
Your presence here is uplifting
an unexpected healing agent
and I am moved beyond expectations
beyond proper words to describe.
Love comes again
ready or not
click your heels and close your eyes.
You can’t un-break broken
but you can mend it
and start again.
On Sunday I dropped B off at her sister’s house and they took off for the airport for their 11.5 hour travel day to Idaho. Their uncle booked the tickets and since they flew out of a small airport, they had two connections, each with a two hour wait in between. And they are traveling with B’s 2 year old nephew. Crazy. They have the same travel time on the way home as well. I don’t envy that commute.
After I dropped B off I stopped in my old neighborhood in Philly where a lot of my family still lives so that I could visit. My great grandmom is the greatest. She’ll be 88 on Halloween. She needs 24 hour care at this point (which she gets from my uncle and cousin and grandmom who watch her) – she can still walk and get around, she just can’t cook for herself or be trusted to go to the bathroom on her own, that type of thing. She’s so happy when she sees me – she gets teary eyed and I can’t tell you how much it means to me. We were chatting and she was rambling off all kinds of things, a lot of them which I’ve heard before, when she said, “You know I have that disease where you forget things. What’s it called again?” And I laughed and said, “Dementia, Gram.” And she said, “Yea, that’s it!.” Ha! She really makes you laugh, even without meaning to. I’m so lucky to still have her.
I put the trash out tonight and there are about 11 trash bags out front of my house right now. I’ve really been a hardworking girl since last trash day. It feels good to clear things out. Fresh. But I’m exhausted. I’ve done nothing much except work on the house. I’m ready for this to be over.
I’ve hardly gotten to talk to B since she’s been away, and it seems like she’s been away for forever. I miss her. I can’t wait for Friday night.
How boring is my life right now?
12 days till move day!
When you hear the word “strength,” what image comes to your mind?