About Moxie Girl Musings
Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Love and Death and the Hardening of My Heart #grief #life
My dog died this past Monday, May 4--he'd been with me for nearly 12 years. He'd been the object of more than one show-and-tell at the kids' elementary schools, had chased deer into the middle of a highway in a thunderstorm, acted as the practice goalie for my son in front of the soccer net in our yard, stood guard over me every night, traveled with us as we tacked on the mileage of my 13 year old SUV, herded the kids when I needed a helping hand getting them to bed, cuddled with me every time I've been sad. I called him my co-pilot because he was a truer friend to me than any human being I've ever known.
One more ending to sort out in my mind.
May is a hard month for me. On May 2, I remembered being at a play ten years ago where my first grader son dressed up like a bee. We were still a family of four then. Sean had looked so damn handsome in his blue button-down shirt, tan, and blond hair. He'd come home early to make sure he'd be ready for the play. People even stopped us to tell us what a good looking family we were--and that night I knew they meant it. No, not because I was vain, but because I felt it down deep.
But I was so blind--how could I have been so out of touch with someone I loved? What didn't I see behind his smile?
May 2nd--the same night of the play--was the date scrawled on top of the first note I found after his suicide that said over and over again--I am so sad, I am so sad, I am so sad.
That is all he'd written. Those words and the date. The impact hit me like a hammer to the head.
My hands had shaken when I'd read those words while my mind raced about what I hadn't seen.
There I'd been smiling, holding his hand, beaming at my son the bumble bee while my daughter hung out on daddy's lap. Oblivious.
Now May 4th will be added to my list of dates to remember--Dusty dying in the wee hours of the morning after I had stroked his speckled fur and told him how sorry I was he had to get sick and how he was my best bud.
I'm tired of death. I understand that there are things in the Universe that are beyond my control, but I'm worn out from it all. I've had too much death in ten years--my husband, my good friend Lisa, my grandma, my grandpa, Taz, and now Dusty. So many goodbyes. Too many tears.
In a few weeks, we will cross the ten year anniversary of Sean's suicide. Yes, I've done very well and come so very far. My kids are amazing human beings who I'm proud to know.
But there have been so many goodbyes. My heart feels hollow.
Friends who I thought were true have disappeared when I expressed how I honestly felt over something or did something besides plaster on the smile. Poof! I once read a meme somewhere about true friends not caring if you're a bitch one day, if your house is a mess, if you lose all your money, if you're sick, if you gain weight...and it struck a chord. Authentic (human) friends are as rare as unicorns.
Family I thought would never betray me, have.
Pets who were part of my life with Sean as we started a family together--Taz the yellow lab was our first puppy who arrived here when our son was still in diapers and now Dusty who blessed our lives a few years later--they were links to that life, that American dream I had for awhile. Gone. I miss them the most--their unwavering loyalty, their snuggles, their humor, and their love.
I don't like May. Too many memories--all of them filled with questions.
Tonight I think of Dusty, my dog who died two days ago, and hope he knew how much I loved him. I reach my foot out for him beneath my desk and only find his empty dog bed. I double-check before I stand because I've been so used to tripping over him--he was constantly by my side. Did he know I loved him? Did he know how grateful I was for his constant companionship?
Another goodbye. Another absence to accept.
I'm approaching a decade of being a widow. That seems like a long time to me and, believe me, I put a lot of pressure on myself to persevere. After all, I'm a solo parent--persevering is what we do best. But two weeks ago I sat in LAX during a layover between flights when a man set next to me--very well-dressed and handsome--and started talking. Out of the blue he announces that he is a widower, that he has been for seventeen years, and has only just now started dating again. We talked like old friends wrapped in the buzz of a busy airport about how being widowed is drastically different than being divorced. It seems that only those of us who have walked this particular path understand how deeply we've been wounded and it takes someone special to know how to walk with us.
I feel my heart hardening.
With all of my goodbyes, I always wonder one thing--did they know how much I loved them? Because I wouldn't be thinking of any of them now if I hadn't. Did Sean know how deeply I loved him and how proud I was to be his wife? Did Dusty know that he was much more than a dog to me?
Love is a complicated emotion--to give love we must open our hearts, but when we do, we become vulnerable to being hurt in the most soul-crushing ways.
So many goodbyes...
Perhaps I'm rambling in this post--I apologize. My mind is foggy with grief both present and past as I sort out what it means to love and to lose. I suppose the main question I need to answer is: do I regret any of the love I've given?
I only regret that I didn't or couldn't love more.