Sad and anxious about my dogs

Last week was a real roller coaster. My dogs bark and cry. They do this because they are anxious since I am the only stable thing in their lives. Crash has been somewhat anxious since we got him. With both of them being rescues they have a past that I don’t know about. Unfortunately, this has made them what they are. I understand because they have been through what I have been through.

Last Monday I was told that the dogs have to go as people have complained about their noisiness. I understand this as they have truly have been noisy. I have done some drugs with them with little success. Now I have to try something else. I am doing the only thing that I can as a last ditch effort to solve the problem. I don’t want to have to drug the dogs all day every day to calm them. At the same time something has to be done….so…tomorrow they will be going to a dog boot camp for two weeks.

This may or may not help. They are old dogs and may not be able to make big changes. They will be with very professional and caring people who will work hard to make a difference. If they don’t eat for three days they will come back. I don’t know how they will respond.

The dogs are not at long term risk as my daughter and her family will take them if they have to leave me. However, they are the last link to my former life and I will miss them terribly. I want them to be settled and not afraid. The next weeks will tell the tale.

Falling down and getting up

I have been absent for so long. I went through a time when my ability to cope just seemed to fly away. There were things that happened, that although not earth shaking, removed layer of resistance and rendered me vulnerable. I experienced panic, anxiety and depression. I fell into a hole. I was unable to even think about writing much less do it.

It’s no point going into the things that set me off it is enough to realize that I am more fragile than I realized. This means that I have to take myself in hand and be more proactive practicing the things that help me stay functional. I have to more forward instead of dwelling on the past and my totally different future.

As always, this is not easy and has to be totally intentional. I had fallen into a pattern of doing needlework and watching TV. Not a total loss but I became dependent on distracting my mind and not facing things. Living this way does not foretell a future with joy and pleasure. Not everything can be wonderful but taking advantage of the chances to explore the things available is so important to both physical and mental health.

While watching a program on Prime called “Bones” a profound statement caught my attention. It is so perfect and although it applies to the past it could also be relevant to obsessing over the future.

Pain (in our lives) is always there. The challenge is to not try to make it go away. Fighting it is the problem. We fight to try and change the past or push it away but the pain is part of who we are. (acceptance) It is not easy but nothing of value is.

The parts in () are me.

Memories and our senses

Memories are interesting things. I attended a conference by a professor from Emory a while back. She was studying how our memories can change. Over time they may not be a accurate as we think. We have seen that in people who have had to testify in court about a certain incident. Our memories are colored by many things.

In my life I have noticed that some memories are connected to outside stimuli. So many memories are brought back by music (auditory), scents and touch. These physical aspects are inextricably connected and when we hear a song or touch something soft or smell some familiar scent memories come flooding back.

There are a things that we remember specifically because they were connected to our senses…especially music. In my work as a Parish Nurse I saw that people whose memories were lost recognized familiar hymns and could sing them. They also remembered things like The Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm. All of these things were joined with emotional experiences and totally imprinted.

My mother only wore one kind of perfume..Bellodgia by Caron. Whenever I smell this perfume I not only recognize it but immediately find memories of my mother come flooding back. Some song bring back memories of my teen years and I can scarcely hear certain songs without being connected to the past.

I have no idea how accurate these memories are but I embrace them and accept them as they are. I hope I never stop finding these connections to my past.

Change brings questions

Today one of the posts I read made me think about change. Not just about a change of environment but changes in ourselves. Each and every day we have encounters that change us. It may not be a major change and we may not notice it at all. It is like the “butterfly effect.” Anything that happens causes change.

We can’t be afraid of these changes. Sometimes the change may cause problems because we no longer fit with people that we have connected with over years. Our change may be unacceptable to them and we no longer fit together. The person may be unwilling to accept that your view is different than it used to be. This will be painful.

I have drifted away from friends because we no longer have much in common. Others remain because they have also continued on a journey of growth. This is life. I know that I have changed enormously over my lifetime. I am a different person. I am not static and am still growing. I intend to keep on growing until I am no longer around.

Too much stuff

We have too much stuff! Traveling just 15 minutes on the highway recently I saw 7 large places for people to store their excess “stuff.” One of them has spaces that people can buy. They actually will own a storage space. We have so much we have no where to put it.

I have never used a storage space and managed to cram all my excess into the attic or closets. I seldom climbed into the attic to check on what was there. The majority of things up there were things I didn’t need but was just reluctant to get rid of. I wonder how often people who have things in a storage facility visit the place. I am sure that there are people who no longer have any idea of what it squirreled away.

There are times when such a space is needed but I bet those are in the minority. I wonder why we find it so hard to divest ourselves of excess. I know that I tend to think that I just might need “it” in the future. If that was really the case it would be ok but usually I never needed “it” again.

Now I have downsized from my longtime home to a small apartment. In order to keep things neat there has to be a place for everything. Keeping things in place means there can be no excess. I don’t intend to have any extra storage space so I had to get rid of anything not really important to me. I many ways it was freeing. There are things that I miss but not so much that I would change anything.

Life can be challanging

Life is truly challenging. One day everything is fine and the next…who knows? My daughter has ILC breast cancer. This type of breast cancer only shows up in 10% of people and doesn’t usually show up on a mammogram. It is frequently found by feeling a lump. It can also be difficult to treat.

ILC or Lobular breast cancer was only defined as a different cancer in 2012 and now research is being done on how it can best be treated. It has some things in common with lung cancer and a study is being done in Britain using the newest lung cancer med as a treatment.

Enough said about the disease itself. For me the hard part is watching my child go through all of this. Like most people I want to die before my children. I know this is not always possible but I don’t want to watch their pain. I think most parents feel this way.

During my time working as a nurse in pediatrics I saw parents struggling with the pain of having a seriously sick child. Losing a child has to be excruciating.

My daughter has a good prognosis but the journey changes your life forever, No more going blithely through each day. Even after treatment has had good results there is only remission…not cure. Learning to live with this reality is hard. I would take it from her if I could.

She is a positive person and is adjusting to this new world but I am having difficulty. I am a mother and want only the best for my children. Life is not perfect and we all have to live with that reality. Sometimes it is just not easy.

Surviving holidays

It is so easy to get sad thinking about the coming holidays. Christmas was always so special to my husband. He absolutely loved it. At the moment I don’t even have any decorations that are suitable for where I am now. Since I don’t go out much I guess I will have to search Amazon for some things that will work. This is a small apartment and I don’t really need much or have any place for it.

We always had the biggest tree that would fit where we were living. It actually took up more space than I would like but nothing else would do. One year he was so irritated with the tree having so many old ornaments that didn’t look good that he went to the local shop and bought everything off of the display.

He really didn’t care about getting things for himself but was always concerned that we did all the things for others we could afford. There were years when we had guests at our dinner table who had no one to be with. We used to joke that we took in strays. It was our joy to do so.

Things are completely different now and I know it will take so thought on my part to make the changes I need to. I am blessed to have family to be with and new friends to share with. My life has been rich and will continue to be.

We are communal

I have always considered myself to be an extreme extravert but as I grow older I can see that I am becoming more middle of the road. As an only child I always had time to myself but sought the company of others. Now I like both. I do have time to spend thinking, creating, learning but need people at some point during the day

I am sure that the pandemic has made it emotionally difficult for everyone. We are not meant to spend all of our time alone. We are communal people. I have felt so sad for those who have had to stay by themselves for such a long time. I am sure the rate of those experiencing depression and anxiety has skyrocketed. I hope they have been able to find help and hope for the future.

Sad Bassets

The weather has changed at last and the air is cool and crisp. The dogs and I both love to walk when it is like this. We took the longer walk. Old bassets don’t do long or fast walks but today they were up for more exercise.

Dealing with the dogs has been a challenge in the last week. Crash (male) had diarrhea and Tillie (female) a bladder infection. This is the first time since we have had them that either of them has had any real problems but as we get older things happen. They have both been to the vet and both are better.

Basset mom is better too now that they have more or less recovered.

Grief is linked to joy

It is difficult to explain what I am experiencing so that it makes sense. My thoughts have been going in many directions lately. I have revisited so many scenes from my past. A video has been running in my head most of the time. Visiting the past is becoming a big part of my grief process. The moments when life was so wonderful pop up and bring me both joy and pain. It reminds me of the idea that when dying we see our life pass before us.

When I lost my husband my focus was on losing his present person. Missing him day to day was front and center. Things to do took precedence and I would wake each day with the nagging feeling that there was something I was forgetting to do. Just the normal routine of living had disappeared.

Now that I am mostly settled in my apartment and have a new daily routine I guess it frees my mind up to explore the things that made our years together so amazing. Now I can bear to immerse myself in the times that bring my grief to the surface. I am more able to endure the pain so that I can also feel the love and joy.