Friday, July 27, 2012

Get a dog. Get a life.

Some of my posts seem like they come all at once.  I write from my iPad a lot and the iPad does not post to blogger well so I save them.  Also, sometimes I think more than others.

I wrote this a few weeks ago because I saw the picture I use as my profile picture on my old, old livejournal.  

Neither of the creatures in the profile picture I use are me.  I am not the curly haired beauty or the fuzz faced stunner.  The photo is the incredibly lucky capturing of the sweetest moment between my two constant companions...Leslie Elizabeth Noble and Truman, my Old English Sheepdog.  Leslie was laying on my bed while we listened to music (because we were total geeks who hung out like 14 year old girlfriends an slumber parties sometimes even though we were over 30) and Truman was using his most sincere puppy dog eyes to garner an invitation to join us.  Leslie, not a dog lover, was won over that day.  She was a Truman fan from then on.  And I mean, come on...who is NOT a Truman fan? 

My advice to the grieving....get a dog.  Or a cat.  Or a ferret.  Whatever.  One of the most overwhelming feelings you have when grieving your friend is guilt.  And no, I don't mean the "why wasn't I there?" and "why didn't I do something?" guilt...although you may have that.  It's the "why can't I stop thinking about anything except how sad I am?" guilt.  When a family member dies, everyone has a certain expectation and understanding of how terrible it must be for you.  Dead sister = license to be flat on your back with grief for a week or two.  Or maybe that's just in my head...  Either way, I think it's pretty normal for those of us left behind BFF's to feel that way.  When I lost Leslie, I seriously felt as if my arms and legs had been removed and bricks were laid on my chest.  And then I was asked to carry on with my life in that condition.  I not only lost my best friend, I lost a connection I had to my childhood which was so often spent with her.  I lost a special bond to OTHER people I knew through her.  I lost my social life.  I lost my phone conversations and my workout routine and my shopping mirror and voice of reason in matters of the heart.  And how do you tell someone that you are sad enough today to be unable to function because you have no one to do the stairmaster with? 

Oh, and then the guilt that you are sad because of a stairmaster...  Your best friend was just shot in the head.  And you're sad because you have no one to make you feel better about your sta-dri workout capris being a bit tight in the bum. 

And you can't talk to her mom because, well, it's her mom.  She just lost her baby.  And in the worst moments of my grief, I could not relate to that pain.  And you can't talk to your mom because she's feeling grief, too, but, at the same time, she's feeling relief.  Because it wasn't you.  And you understand that.  But it doesn't help YOU because you can't find relief ANYWHERE in this situation. 

And you can try to talk to your friends.  But they'll tell you stories about how this or that happened to their friend....but if their friends aren't DEAD, then you want to scream.  Because if their friends aren't dead then it feels like there is no way they can understand and to suggest they can is ludicrous.  (My thoughts on "understanding" changed dramatically over the last five years, and I want to share that with you...soon...but right now I'm talking about that initial all encompassing grief so it's not relevant here.)

You can't talk to HER friends because you're all just blind people looking for the same button...

But you can talk to your dog.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's true.  Truman saved my life in those first few months.  He was the only person (and I realize I said 'person'...sue me) who never tried to make me feel better.  I am not suggesting there was something wrong with people who did.  It's a natural reaction and it was BECAUSE they loved me.  I do it, too...even when I know it's impossible.  But Truman didn't..  He had no feelings about anyone or anything in the entire world, but me.  There was no way to be selfish around him.  Had I suggested to Truman we might think about someone other than me, he would not have even comprehended the idea.  He listened.  He loved.  He hugged.  And he never, ever left.

Get a dog.  Get a life.  Get your life back.  It works.

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