Why is it that when sleep taunts me, exhausted, and cold- perhaps from wading through the cold waters that are my only chance left to clear thinking and following logic engage in a tug of war over the pieces of yesterday still being something between mere memory and quite nearly the spare bits of a puzzle found at the bottom of a puzzle? Is it my body trying to keep me awake for some yet misunderstood cause? Or is it my mind refusing to turn off or to relinquish control to the unconscious ruling the path tht may randomly come up? Or is it the fear of what may be missing should I let my mind slip into the comfort and solace that sleep ought to be? Is it the fear, like the character in Fifty first dates (or whatever the title is) where the lady who was in a violent mva finds her memory completely taken of what her miind labels as recent memory? SHe is so strongly loved by a man who refuses to be pushed aside or lost in yesterday when wanting today, a tomorrow so hemakes videos explaining the parts of her life that she’s lived and of those she’s come to love. It is a heart rendering emotional journey and now at this point of my own journey, it hits home close enough to be frightening and yet giving me some type of hope if someone is present as time goes on. But part of this nightly navigation of only partial sleep isn’t my fearing to sleep standing to lose more of my life, more of myself , or whether I will slip from an occasional strange and unexplainable behavior into an onslought from which I will not be able to climb out of. My great fear is the possibility of putting my life to rest before my body is ready and to possibly cause another human being in danger. The ads on the television make it seem so easy. It’s all so clear cut on there and the answer seems so easily attainable and effective. I am finding this end of things to be neither. Of course nothing so bizarre as that “slep walking” event where I painted with pepto bismol on various objects , moved things about to unreasonable and unlikely places. It was the total having been moving without my knowing and what to do in regards to the pet care. their meds or my own meds. All very scary stuff. And I travel between not wanting another person to know or to be “caught” in another episode and wanting, needing it to be known and understood by the doctors so we slow this part of my brain’s decline. We never know the fullness of what tomorrow will bring. ANd now I struggle to paint hope into the still moments of a day, of a night. I must choose from shades of promise mfor a meaningful ecistence yet to be added to in a positive way. It IS more than a wish, a hope. It is what makes tomorrow worth w aking up for, wouldn’t you think so?
There are alot of things that these words are really appropriate for in my life. I think of things like these, it isn’t that I wonder whether I would be judged or how I’d fare such a thing. No my thoughts go instead to do other people and whether they might ever breathe a sigh of relief to know that one other person in this universe is actually saying these thoughts…thoughts we just don’t talk about. Okay some do and many take action on it. Sometimes I have and others I side stepped it. We can pick apart the hows and whys of it- but in the way we see what we have lived or has seen other proof we use to determine our footsteps . We can keep targets for what we want to expect But to some extent nature gets involved. Nature who will be a slave to no one- but is a willing educator to those wise enough to pay attention.
SO let’s move on into some actual incidents, actual occurances and examples. Bear in mind I am not a doctor. I was once many years ago in what feels like a far. Let’s start with something fairly easy . Who hasn’t heard this phrase after hearing someone’s misfortune or catistrophic even only to have someone comment, ” Oh could it have happened at a worse time? Now in a less reserved time , I’d have felt obligated to explain that there was no better time actually . Now that my filter has all but completely left, it’s a very scary thing to say in front of me. Thankfully I have been more inclined of course to just not communicate, to shut it down and not verbally respond at all. That way I don’t hurt someone in being too blunt. We tend to forget how the we let our environment carry us among a system of advantage, making all that is shallow and trivial into a horrific event. We tend to forget that this beautiful life process is based on the balance of the cycle of life- which includes some very difficult (physically and emotionally). There are great heights and awful heart wrenching lows. There are times the we cry for others and times we cry for ourselves. And there are times we are reminded the conditions most of the people on our planet, facing a harder life than we can imagine. We haven’t known the horrors of war at our doorstep, the sounds of war throughout the night and day continuously. Now we’ve heard this before. But the next time your pets hide from the sounds from thunder or a truck backfiring, or vehicles slamming across potholes, think about their state as a militia approaches then street by street conflicts. It’s a terrifying prospect. SO when someone says what could be worse- there is plenty…take a pick. More to come. Meanwhile sound off or defend even
Looking from where I am now to that date when I could wait no longer when I was finally knew that whatever this was had become larger than I could ever have imagined.My elders taught me alot. I think what I missed recognizing or fully processing was how life sneaks up on you.Or could it be time using its influence tricking its travelers into complacency until one day their eyes open? It truly does not seem possible that I have come to this point in my life. My youth in all its reckless abandon and vulnerability still breathe within me yet all is changed. I am changed. I could mourn the passing of hours of love and laughter, of curiosity, The truth is what a harsh reality presents itself as old friends pass, and children grou up along with their innocence they pass surge ahead into their adulthood. It is their steeds they now mount and off they go on their own journeys with their own intellects, their own hopes and dreams, the own skills and abilities, their own passions. There is little to be done for them or about them They will walk their paths with the energy belonging only to the young. They will look at us and see old people, Some will watch in wonder of lives so ancient and all that these eyes and wrinkles so telling of that many footsteps. They will take up the errors of their parents and make the best of a broken world. They will hug on in the love of all about them. SO much will get put off into tomorrow into the embrace of “when we get time” until one day time arrives with no subtlty at all. It blasts through doors , through crowded spaces and in solitude, and through dreams themselves One day they too will look out of a window and see their children no longer there. They will replay and rethink a million decisions made meant for the best of their young. When one will burst into the silence for their moment. They will tell their parents of something that was said or done and at your surprize there will be a confession it was learned at your knee wihtout you even have known such a thing occurred. On God’s good graces this world turns with no help from us, not qany of us, not one generation. God’s good graces thankfully have ;asted a very long time and if prayers count for anything will continue long enough for man to replace his selfishness with wisdom… perhaps the wisdom learned from unknowing parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents… the whole village. , hundred of
Must check in later with you readers!! Must finish getting ready- my son and granddaughter and daughter-in-law are having me come and stay with them for a couple of days. Very excited!! I even had a hard time going back to sleep. Off to get ready will catch you later!!
When I was young, I thought that if I were alive at this age, that things would be so different than they are. If I saw this back then, I’d think at that is some kind of a joke. I had always seen myself as the healthy strong one. I would have seen myself as working a very long time- after all with the kids out of the house what would i have envisioned myself doing with all that time? Just as I grown up to see women with no husband as being sad people. I didn’t see them as unworthy of that kind of love. I just thought how sad it all seemed. I couldn’t imagine being alone like that. Now women without a husband but with children, they didn’t seem as sad or lonely to me. After all they had known that kind of love- romance. As in my naeivity I believed the conception of a child most assuredly had to have happened out of a dear romantic love. But to have neither children living with her ,nor a spouse, well that just seemed so empty . When in fact it was a life quite fully lived. Of course that still in and of itself feels lonely… the lived part. It means it’s past, behind her…behind me. Ah well then surely I’d take every advantage to spend my life in a purposeful fashion. Perhaps as a nurse in a mission somewhere or in the Peace Corp. Or maybe being active politically. I could have seen me taking on a had been a colorful career but by many it would seems so cause. I could see me in an adventure with my fellow Green Peace or on the ranges in the west striking blows to help the wild remain as such with the majestic horses to roam freely. At the very least I’d have an animal sanctuary, wouldn’t I? Okay well then if not that, wouldn’t I be living at the shore finding my soul enriched by the sights and sounds I had begun my adult life ? I’d have maintained my dear friends from that time and be spending time making music with my friends and enjoying the Jersey Pines and the sea shorel Yet here i was a state away- not to work in a particular facility or in a specialty or in cancer research as I once thought I would… a professional goal. No I never did attain that. No here I sit writing a blog I can barely see My body fights with me at every turn. I have been put out to pasture professionally.I am of no more use – as who wants a nurse who tires out so quickly, whose memory is in such question, who can barely see a syringe let alone read it, Who needs a nurse who cannot walk for any distance- whose best hurry speed is something surely a 4 yrs old could out run? No I had to let go of those things as time took charge wherever allowed. Had I not fought hard enough. I tried to stay in the field as I felt the onslaught for decades of what would one day be running inch by inch matching and over taking my strides. I had given it a run- a good run. By many standards it was insufficient and unfocused, undriven..too given to the winds to channel it at will. And it was, in terms of keeping it in the place of my life’s work. I had let that go for a family and music and lost focus financially. So here I am in the remnants of a lifetime of intended accomplishment. Had I saved anyone? Had I made a difference at all/ These are the questions I wrestle with in looking back.
I never was the kind of mother women stood in awe of wondering how they juggled it all and had raised super children. I hadn’t given them the childhood they deserved to have had. And I was so fortunate to have had children so smart in and of themselves that academically they carried themselves to where they felt compelled. I have a beautiful granddaughter who I rarely see- what with the distance and my no longer able to drive. (That part makes me angry.)
My husband’s kids have grown up in the ways they deemed best as grown kids do. They both have beautiful children we rarely see- we don’t truly know. This I feel has been a sad failure on my part- to not have been more of a part of their lives.
The great novel will in all likelihood not be written by this gal. I would be lucky to read it- written by anyone. These hands no longer cooperating and I I am not inclined to just sit back content that I have taken the mare up in the pasture as high as she was meant to travel. I won’t believe this race is yet run. I refuse to believe there is no more than this already. It isn’t the length. It is though the fact that with more time left i will not see it as having been lived in its entirety- that I should just sit and wait for death’s cold hand to guide me on. NO that is not how I will end this life’s journey. I may stumble and fall alot. I may have to rely on wheels more than I care to- but I am not signing off. Not this life- not on my watch. SO if it may hold enough meaning for you to want to go along then be swift, we’ve not a moment to spare!!
One would never have guessed what brought about the changes. Her mind had been made up. She had reached the point that there would be no more. Her next plans would take her far away- from the pain, from her joys, from those most precious to her…yet it seemed this was what she needed to do to come together,and have her kids in the best place for them at this point. Few would understand her decisions and fewer still would forgive her for them. Yet there she was all of a sudden having had that conversation with her youngest about how , no matter what he says to her, this is not, this will not be her dog, our dog, her home, our home…no matter how good his intentions, he’s proven over and again that he cannot keep up that end of things that he wants to make happen for them but won’t.There they were in the car and just as she says,” No matter what I am not going to allow myself to get attached. I just can’t do it anymore.” The words no sooner left her lips than she felt a gentle but firm pressure on her left shoulder. As she turned her head so slightly, their eyes met and there in a split second, she knew her heart had gone already. From that moment on she knew her heart was again placed in a most vulnerable position- both with this dog and with this man. There would be a number of times she would revisit this moment. Still found herself again moving forward in the relationship, in her work, career . In a few years later they bought a house, got married. It was around that time another piece of undone existence of something he sworn had been done surfaced. She felt sick. She felt it but had told herself that man he became wouldn’t bring that…her…back into their lives- or had she ever really left? Not this bullshit drama again. She couldn’t.. She wouldn’t go through it again. Her heart ripped further to think of leaving this dog – just as badly as in thinking of taking her from him. There would be no good action here. Sure more promises… this time her heart was not coming together. She determined to stay no matter what. It made the most financial sense and she was done forcing herself further down the abyss of poverty because of her emotional self sabatouge. When her resolve weakened, she would think of the animals when it felt to hard to make it one more day. Time went by basically had become roommates. Truth be told that seemed true before the last large blow out.Had it ever been right since reconciling? Had he tried to wash himself of her feel, the memories of her? It was washing over a woman who gave all of herself to someone who didn’t seem to want that. She began to hate herself as much as it seemed he hated her. She no longer cared. He felt she was unlovable and would try to re-establish a romance but it was not to be. WHy not? the cat died and the dog’s heart was broken. Another dog was brought in to help her heal. This brought back memories of when the other one had died- when she was left to bury their pet with 2 broken hearted daughters while he enjoyed a “business” trip, a weekend with his secretary again- the mistress. He resented any reference to that time- as though it was a one time lapse in judgement. He never git what it was like for her- probably because he couldn’t do it- or maybe because it tarnished his armor to think of himself as anything less than a knight in shining armor.
The years became less kind to her. Her health took a deep dive into a chronic progressive disease. More dogs came into the home . Her struggle worsened and he now stood by his not having a marriage with romance because he didn’t want to hurt her feelings….oh no , that was the reason he gave that they couldn’t speak of why things became that way. She was fighting for everything in her life. She signed over basiclly everything financially to him- his decisions. He spent all of her settlements on the house- having again promised to set up the kids with some sort of accounts and to pay off a long standing dental bill that he had used the money for something else for years ago. Yes, she left him do it and for that shame on her.
Tragedy befell them as the oldest greyhound, the first, his Wisper, became seriously ill one night and at the appointment at vet’s it was determined she be euthanized. The main thrust was that if she hadn’t been ill, then Wisper could have been given weeks to see if she would ever improve- but she wasn’t well. Wisper’s fate was sealed. He wouldn’t admit that he never got over the loss of his love. Perhaps because she had been a gem from what was once. Perhaps because without her, he too felt less of a bond with this woman. He felt even less motivation to get along with her kids. He felt less- except for his lost dog. She felt his pain and was helpkess in saving him from it. This was thr end of a time together unique to those involved. It was a different trio… of was it? SHe’d never know. Years later her illness worsening and becoming more than one diagnosis. He never really dove in to discover what was happening to her. He seemed uninterested- didn’t look to how to help other her other than make changes in the house.
Her symptoms continue to slide. There is great concern- well to drs and her daughters and niece, but not to him as to what is happening to her in terms of cognitive function at night. It’s more than the bits of forgetfulness now. He didn’t know what these other occurances were about or why they were/are scary and what is happening to his wife. Maybe the distance he keeps growing between thim is to spare him sadness or decisions. Soon they may well be thrusted upon him. She looks around the room that looked so foreign earlier this week when she woke up one day. He didn’t know. SHe didn’t share it. She has to wonder if he is waiting to have her placed- freeing him.
Valentine’s Day and the usual gifts. which used to bring her to tears. She was left with a heartache at things she couldn’t talk with him about. She couldn’t begin to explain. And he didn’t care. He didn’t bring up that he was given nothing. A breakfast which to her was an accomplishment- the significance was lost to him. He had no clue. And if she pointed out what it took and why it meant something to her, she would just be reminded that it didn’t mean that to him.
He had no clue how it hurt her to not feel that warmth in her chest at the gifts. She couldn’t tell him any of it as she listened to his seeing how beautiful the dogs were. How another photo of more doge was brought in. She wondered if he’d even remember her other than a story of how he saw his “sacrifice” of staying with her had been, He doesn’t know and likely won’t- not in this lifetime.
Ah but his was not the only journey being lived out here. He was not the only one whose life was so touched by that of this other. Infact when he went to see about fostering a greyhound he had taken them, this woman who wasn’t sure where or how or if even she fit in his life at all anymore and her youngest, a child caught in the conflicts adults left in their lives. She was a child who had lived through the disallusion of her parent’s marriage. She had seen this newer familly relationship torn apart for the second time- the second time far more hurtful than really either time before, it would seem. She prayed for them to reunite, She wanted to experience that feeling of being wanted and valued. She wanted to give her love in turn in a special way to a special inncent being- and in the giving perhaps there would be a healing she could bring to another of God’s creatures. In her lifetime she had already learned that there were few who stood in absolute innocence- and those few became fewer as people grew older. Accountability was something she was taught early and had seen in action in the lives of the adults she loved, in the adults who would readily die for her to have a better life. Somehow these two adults seemed on the cusp of stepping forward to repair the damages, learn from the experiences that had ripped their hearts and family in pieces. This seemed like a tall order. How nice it would be to have the pieces transform from the heartache, the pain, into something meant to be felt, to grow from and to grow in. For her , that something had long been the aspiration she saw in her desire, her passionate want of a furry creature who spoke mostly through body movement and through eyes. She missed her cats and wanted a dog. SO here we were in a car with the man who while brought healing and love into their lives had also brought heartache and shredded every bit of faith in the security a family has in one another. This was a responsibility her mother held the banner for in the front of the heart break, self sabatouge parade they had been living. Still he asked if they cared to come along. Her mom went through a litany of explanations to her so she would understand this was not her dog, they were living apart. This was just his way of bringing some joy into her world by giving her someone to play with, someone to love who wasn’t likely to let her down as the grownups in her life had done. Having never seen greyhounds in person and now seeing them all in a group in a fenced yard trotting and pacing about was an incredible amount of dog input. She had hoped “we” would get the tall male, majestic young male black and white- but this was not to be. (You see, those who came to adopt had first choices among the dogs while those who came to foster any had the job of waiting to meet dog for them to teach about being a pet and about life off the track and away from the racing world. For these animals it had been their entire life up to this point and while they’d come to love their new lives, it had to be at best unsettling at worst terrifying for them.) As youth is in its resiliency so often does, there was a rapid recoup with a hopeful watching of dogs and people and leashes all moving and talking together about the process, checks written to the cause who saw to it there was another life awaiting these dogs beyond the impersonal life they’d known as the athletes they had been. (Makes the Soviet Union’s approach to olympic training look like an athletic preschool.)Finally this red brindle coated shorter than nearly all the rest if not all was standing there and looking so cold. shivering.He had taken her leash and the look between them had ensued. She didn’t want to get hurt and failed miserable at not falling in love immediately with this four legged furry, beautiful face with colors and marking that would put the best of women made up to shame. It was official this dog was the one this partial family would take home to begin to show her a new side of life. Warming up in the car, her eyes were clearly taking in more if her surroundings. The car was a small foreign bucket seat. The young girl and the dog had already begun their relationship. Giggles and soft voices filled the car with an ambiance of safety. Then the silence was broken by a scared cry of concern and fear for something, someone other than herself. The adults quickly sprung into action. The dog’s tail had been partially amputated , apparently recently enough to be freshly bleeding . Now with her tail bandaged with paper towels found from the nooks, crevisses in the car. It would do for the rest of the journey home.
This little girl had not seen any dog as this in SO many ways. There was the very large crate. Oh and before hte crate came the steps to the deck on trailer. These dogs have no idea what steps were. They had no experience with them- and had to be taught how to walk both up and down. This was only the beginning of this dog’s specialty course of Not Everything Need be Scary or dangerous She would not be alone in the lessons of life. Wisper would have her work cut out for her. From the times of climbing down on the floor and showing her how to put dog toys in her mouth to play to those times of treating her with love and compassion and patience that would yield this wonderful canine being. The cat established that SHE was the one in charge having been there as part of this family for the long haul. Misty and Wisper had a unique relationship. Misty had shown far less patience than the human counterparts. Still she had never given up on her younger charge.Once we got Britt to stop climbing into the dog crate that much of things made Wisper’s transition easier. She understood that this was her safe zone where she would not be prodded and such. It was hers- like nothing else was up til this point. There would be no crate sharing here- no double crating above the male dogs. No having to protect her food from another. For good, bad, or indifferent ( and I would later understand it would be all three for her.), Wisper’s life had in that one afternoon become changed, different from anything it had ever been.
We often find ourselves in uncomfortable situations that we are unaccustomed to, situations that make us uneasy or make us aware of how much of a foreign experience something is. We do only a number of times in this life find ourselves to be in a place where we are thrust into a situation where we know not one person there or have none of our familiar surroundings or schedules. It is an experience few know as completely as these dogs do. ( ALthough my son’s first month or so at college definitely felt like that to him when he told me.”Mom, don’t wait with my sisters until they are going away to college as the first time they are in a situation, a place. a time where they are all they know.” I was surprised as he had been the child moved around the most out of the three of them.Now we laugh about it all.)
My little girl had cherished, played with, consoled,been consoled by her. One thing you notice in a child though. Once they have experienced the loss of a dear dear furry friend, there is a part of themselves that they keep staying in the corner. It is their best attempt at trying to keep from being trampled on in the mayhem of loss, grief.This is a barrier seen for what it is often early on…but as is the case with so many loves in life- eventually love breaks through regardless of our bidding. This little girl was one tough coolie. She was filled with hutzpa which she needed in her youth filled with health issues.( She was always brave, yet it was as an adult that I saw her greatest of courage.)
As Britt grew her time together with Wisper was lessened- although was still cherished and special in their way of closeness. They could be found embraced under a blanket or on the deck or on the driveway sunning or reading. There would be hurts -both physical and mental or emotional that Wisper would set to healing. Wisper would lie on or next to any specific area of injury. There would be the comfort only a dog can give to the broken heart.
They both shared a beauty which would always be stunning. They would share a grace of movement that they could not appreciate as welll as those of us who watched.
Whether a challenge of some sort lost or those high school heartbreaks, Wisper would be there waiting to care and in those moments I swear I saw a healing happening to Wisper as well. When Wisper was fairly new to life in our home, the girls would play on the floor for hours with Wisper. They taught her how to roll over- and she taught herself the glory of lying on her back – in full cock roach position. This was both cute and hysterical to watch. Those barriers Britt wanted to keep up to protect herself could not stay for the duration, no matter how fought that battle was made.
And in the end, the lessons born on the back of heartache, heartbreak would be invaluable in terms of knowledge that Britt would draw upon to help both herself and others. It is those gut wrenching tear your heart apart times where the strengths you need to help anther or yourself are just immeasurable. Animals can bring out the best in us- if we have souls that allow. The souls that left her in, would find the pictures of her to be speaking to her for very many years…for as long as the paper upon which they are carried last. These are eyes none of us will either forget or lose in time. They are the precious memories of a young girl who all too often just couldn’t keep up… a girl who became a woman who made sure in her life’s work that no one felt left behind when their bodies could no longer keep pace with the time left to them on this earth.