Where Did My Wagon Go?

Take a look at the picture above. Look closely. See me anywhere? C’mon! Really look!

Nope. I’m not there on account of: 1. I’m old, but I’m not that old, and 2. I fell off that wagon several miles back, honey! All kinds of falling off the wagon been going on here.

As you know, last week was just a hideous one and I fell off the healthful eating wagon. I ate a lot of garbage during the week and managed to mess up the healthful choices I made by either eating too much of them or eating them with a dressing or cheese that negated the good the nutritious foods were doing me. If I were an alcoholic, I’d have been in the gutter. I binged in the same way, particularly when I realized that it was time to let Trey go.

A few times I caught myself eating things that didn’t even taste good to me and, in fact, kind of made me feel sick to my stomach. But, I continued eating them, anyway. It was almost as if I was using the food to punish myself in some way for not being able to help my old friend. I remember doing something similar when I would quit smoking, but fall off the wagon and have one. Often, I would then smoke so much that I would literally make myself sick – give myself nicotine poisoning – to punish myself for failing. (Am I the only one who does this? I’m pretty sure I’m not; but, if I am, don’t tell me, okay?)

This morning, I’m paying for that. I feel awful. I feel like I’ve got the chips and salsa sweats. My whole system feels clogged. My sinuses are wrecked and I don’t know if that’s from two weeks of sobbing, emerging airborne allergens, or food allergens. Maybe it’s a little of all three. Whatever the cause, I’ve worked up a roaring case of vertigo. Yep, I ate a bunch of garbage and now I feel like it.

As I’ve shared with you before, I believe very strongly that it is crucial that we allow ourselves to feel our grief and to work through it. Although there are varying opinions on the number of stages of grief, most agree that there are at least five: 1. denial and isolation, 2. anger, 3. bargaining, 4. depression, and 5. acceptance. Gorging like Henry VIII is part of my stages one through four. Making myself sick is actually part of stage three for me. Although progression through the stages is never smooth or one-way, I am moving closer to acceptance. In acceptance, there is the continuation of the life that does go on.

So, for that life, today I will buy new walking shoes, then Ellie and I will go for our first walk without Trey. Where we all once walked several times a week, we haven’t walked in many months because of my work schedule and Trey’s hips. It’s time for us to start that part of our lives again. It will be sad for me and if you see me walking at the park, I’ll likely be crying; but, life does go on and we – and our wagons – go on with it.

My wagon is my will and it’s been with me the whole time. While I didn’t ride it or use it, it never left me. Now, as I choose to adjust to a new normal without one of my fuzzy children, I’ll climb back in that wagon and ride it awhile.

Time to Say Good-Bye

It’s a beautiful song, but often a terrible thing to do. Today, I will say good-bye to Trey. While I am destroyed over it, it’s time. He has stopped eating and drinking more than a couple of mouthsful – except for last night when he got a plain double cheeseburger and cheese curds from Dairy Queen. (We’re not going to discuss what I had.) He doesn’t wag his tail and the sparkle is gone from his sweet eyes. Even with medication he is in constant pain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy tireless sister has found a vet that will come to my house this afternoon. Trey will be in his home, comfortable and unafraid when he makes his journey across the rainbow bridge. My friend Sean and my niece will be here with me. My niece will take his body for cremation. I know. I know. I used to think that was ridiculous, too – cremating a pet. I don’t anymore and, frankly, I don’t care if anyone else still does. I’ve lived a highly transient life and don’t see me staying here forever either. I don’t want to leave him here. Maybe if I were living in the house I planned to retire in, I’d feel differently; but, I’m not and I don’t.

It’s been a highly emotional couple of days for me and there have been several times when I’ve wondered if I could actually dehydrate by crying. There have been times when a tiny voice in my head called me silly for grieving so over a dog; but, another voice stands up and says that he’s more than a dog – he’s a friend. My other dog Ellie is not the brightest bulb on the circuit – beautiful, sweet and lethal for squirrels, but not all that smart. She doesn’t seem to know that anything is wrong; however, she will grieve for the loss of her playmate, the one who taught her to play when she was a terrified stray. Although I will let her see and smell his body, I expect her to look for him for awhile. At this point, only the cat Bodhi seems to know something is wrong. He’s stuck very close to me and has even been snuggly with Trey.

It has been emotional here and will continue to be for awhile yet as we learn to adjust to life without the old man.

So, remember yesterday when I said that I wouldn’t always make the right nutritional choice? Well, I won’t be making it this afternoon. My sweet friend Katie has already announced that she’s coming by after work with the comfort food of my choice – ice cream, any flavor but mint chocolate chip (I really hate that one). So, I don’t know what flavor she’s bringing and I don’t care. I’m going to eat whatever she brings.

Helping my old friend across the bridge is the right thing to do and it’s time; but, I don’t know that I could do it without the help of my other friends. My most sincere and heartbroken thanks to you all.