I’m not OK yet, but I’m back.

For a few years after I finished college, I had a lingering anxiety about school. I’d wake up with my heart racing because I had slept through an exam that didn’t exist, or realize at the end of a bad day that I’d been stressing out because I hadn’t done any homework in a while, so I must be very behind on everything.

I had initially planned to do a longer memorial post about Raksha, but I can’t make myself do it. She was a major factor in my life for almost 15 years, and as she needed more care in her later years, my entire schedule centered on her and her needs. There’s the obvious stuff – any time I went out, I had a timer in my head until I knew I’d have to clean up a mess when I got back, if I couldn’t get back in time.

But more than that, there are the ways in which I shaped my behavior for the comfort of a dog who was convinced that the sky was always about to fall on her head. It was made worse by the fact that, on occasion, we would drop something on her, like a sock.

I don’t think I’d realized how much of my day to day life involved trying to keep her mellow, because any time she got interested in something, or scared by something, she’d get up and pace. Doing so was a struggle for her, near the end. Her hips were barely able to keep her upright, but if I sneezed too loudly, she’d decide she needed to be in a different room.

And I can’t go to bed until I’ve let the dog out. I can’t sleep in, because I have to let the dog out. I had a dream the other night that I woke up one morning, and she was just there, on her bed, as if she hadn’t died in my arms.

I don’t know what I expected, but I’m realizing that it’ll probably take me longer to get over this than it did to adjust to the end of my school life, but I’m not rich enough to take more time off, so I’m back.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back to the usual cheerful content of this blog. Life goes on, and the climate is still changing.

The image shows a dog lying in front of the rusted door of a fort from the American Revolution. She's a German Shepard/Husky mix looking at the camera

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  1. StevoR says

    Virtaul (((hugs))) from me if you want them.

    Still missing my Chokko so much.

    Still looking for another dog to become part of my family again despite the grief because I cannot bear being dogless.and the emptiness without her home.

    I’m so sorry and can relate so much. I wish words had more power to help.

    I know you gave Raksha your bets and know she knew she was loved and you did the best and right things by her.

    Its okay to look after youself and you deserve to take time off if you need to and do what you need to, to look after you here.

    My condolences and best wishes again for whatever little they might be worth..

  2. says

    I was thinking of you and your loss when I wrote both of these posts. This sort of thing always hurts to read, and it’s worse if you’re going through it yourself.

    Hugs to you as well.

    When I met Raksha, I had recently decided I couldn’t afford a dog. She changed my mind. I am once again in a position where I can’t afford a dog, and there are ways in which, once I’ve recovered a little, this will improve my life in some ways.

    That won’t fill the hole she left when she died, but for the foreseeable future, I’ll have to make do with the cat. I honestly can’t imagine getting another dog right now, but I do get what you’re saying, and I hope you find one that suits you soon.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    Ever since reading your last post, I’ve been trying to be extra nice to our elderly dog. We really don’t deserve them, as a species.

  4. klatu says

    I think we could all use a few more wholesome dog memes. So if you want to do that for a while instead, I certainly won’t complain.

    (Take whatever time you need, is what I want to say.)

  5. Jazzlet says

    Abe you need to look after yourself to be able to write your posts (I don’t often comment, but I do read most of them), and to take action locally. You are grieving, obvious I know, and we each do that in our own way, but please don’t feel you have to post if you need to take a break.

    Our boy Jake – a twelve year old German Shepherd (probably, he’s a rescue) – has had a bad day today, didn’t eat his breakfast, pissed indoors several times which he’s not done before, scraping his back paws along the ground rather than picking them up. He has just now eaten his breakfast after I gave it to him on his bed beside me. We visit the vet tomorrow, as he’s eaten I feel ok to wait, but I am worried. And so it’s all too easy to feel what you have been going through. Just take the time you need for you.

  6. says

    @Jazzlet – I appreciate you saying so. Unfortunately, if I want this to ever pay enough to make ends meet, I don’t think I can afford the time off.

    As to taking action locally, I’m definitely a ways away from feeling capable of that. I’m a massive introvert, and last time I got involved in things like organizing and canvassing, I burned out pretty badly. I also think I’d have to go to other neighborhoods to find people interested in that sort of thing – everyone around where I live seems to be doing pretty well for themselves, and I’m honestly not sure where I could possibly start. For now, this blog is my primary activism, and that fact in itself is kind of an act of self-care, insofar as that applies.

    That said, as I recover from this loss, I think I’ll have a lot more freedom to do things like wandering around the city or going to events. It’s probably not a coincidence, but she didn’t like crowds and loud noises either.

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