When we bring an animal into our lives, we know that, one day, we will have to say goodbye. My friend, Sitzel, and I talked about this, as we sat in the dog park, stroking our dog’s fur…we spoke of facing the reality that they, most likely, won’t outlive us. So, as much as it hurts, it was a pain we agreed to endure when we brought these loved ones into our lives and homes.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for when Lucy died was the outpouring of love I’ve gotten from so many people. Mostly, I believe that I was born, destined to go through life alone. I don’t have any family to speak of, and I have a bitch of a time letting friends anywhere near me. But when Lucy died, so many people brought me food or offered to take me out or to bring me things or to keep me company. For the first time in decades, I see you out there. I know now, for the first time, if I am ever in need, people are out there whom I can call and trust to be there for me. Whether it’s to comfort me through a rough time or pick me up if I get stranded on the road, I know you are there. I don’t quite know what to do with this. I know I’m not easy. I have much difficulty accepting kindness. But I can’t even begin to express how much your kindnesses have meant to me this past couple of weeks. I have such a hard time allowing people in. I have a death grip on loneliness. But, because of Lucy, I now see that I am not alone.
Losing Lucy has been much harder than I anticipated. Things are still so difficult, I am staying mostly hidden. I don’t want company or to talk on the phone. On the other hand, I can’t stand to be in my kitchen, so I’ve been eating out almost every night. The kitchen is a mess. I go to the kitchen, intending to clean it. I turn around and leave, accomplishing nothing. I’ve been doing this for over 10 days before I finally ask myself why I didn’t want to be in the kitchen. It’s the food and water dish on the floor. I realize I’m fleeing before the sight of them can register in my mind. Now, writing this, I can’t stop seeing them.
I went to my garden to pick peppers, but ended up on the grass, crying. Lucy’s gentle presence still peeking out from her yard toys. And I see her goose on the bricks, the toy she wasn’t supposed to bring outside. “Give me that Goose!” I would yell at her, and she’d gleefully let me chase her through the house or yard. So, I pick a few peppers and get out of there.
I have so much to do and can’t seem to start. Life feels more unmanageable than it has in a long time. Then I remember what my friend, Debbie, told me a long time ago. When you feel overwhelmed, she told me, just do what’s in front of you. It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start. Do what’s in front of you. Right now, in front of me, in my mind’s eye, is a food bowl and a water dish in need of cleaning and a new place to be.