Tag Archives: grief

Anna doesn’t want me to die.

My daughter is obsessing about the fact that {most likely} I will die before her. She cries about this, saying she just can’t bear to think about how sad she’ll be when I die.

I don’t really know how to handle this.

I’ve told her I feel the same way about my mom, but there’s no point in being sad for something that hasn’t happened yet and we should just enjoy the time that we have.

But on the other hand, this girl holds in her feelings a lot, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for her to have permission to cry about anything. I said, “Go ahead and cry it out instead of holding it in. But then when you’re done crying, think of all of your favorite things to do with me.”

I also told her what my friend Marcella told me: “Losing my mother was the hardest thing, and there’s no way to prepare for that level of sadness. So don’t think about it. There’s no point being sad about it before it happens, because there will be plenty of sadness after the fact.” That’s kind of a lot for a six-year-old to process, but it’s honest. I’ve held on to Marcella’s words whenever I start getting sad thinking about losing my own mom. I know it’s going to happen, but I have permission to not dwell on it until it does. Anna and my mom have a really special bond, and I’m almost more worried about her reaction to losing my mom than mine… almost.

I’m not sure how to help Anna get past this, so I’ll just keep letting her cry, and reassuring her that I {hopefully!} am not going anywhere soon.



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I’m haunted by my own screams today. A few times an hour, I’m running across that street again, a primal noise unlike any I’ve ever made coming out of me. My screaming had some benefit — it got the driver’s attention and it alerted everyone around to pay attention and call 911.

But that’s not what I was thinking when I was screaming. I was thinking, “No, not this, this is it, there he goes, no no no, what if he dies, how can he survive did he go under the tire? This is the horrible thing I’ve always known would happen There he is, he’s alive he’s alive, get him out of there BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP I can’t get him out!”

It all comes back to me, at least twice an hour. I haven’t timed it of course, but that’s my estimate. It all starts with the sound of my screaming in my own head. I’ve never screamed like that before, and I hope I never have to again. But the sound keeps reverberating in my head when I least expect it. Sometimes I sob and sob if I let myself be in that moment again. Sometimes I push it down. I know it’s good to cry and let it out, but it doesn’t really leave (so why is it called “letting it out?”) and I just can’t cry all the time any way.

I can only imagine what Anna was thinking when she heard me screaming. I’ve tried to get her to talk about it, but I don’t know how to draw her out. She says she wants to forget about it all. I wish I could, but I know none of us can (I am seeking professional help for all of us, BTW). She asked me why I won’t be able to forget, and we talked about how I also can’t forget the time when she was about a year and half old, and she fell down all 16 of our hardwood stairs. I yelled, “ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA ANNA!” as she tumbled down, me trying to catch up to her, wishing my voice would wrap around her little body and stop her fall. I think the force of my screams stopped that car on Saturday, and kept it from killing my son. I just wish they’d stop replaying in my head.


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Lessons in Letting Go

Letting go.

I have to put down my best friend of twelve years.  I keep asking myself,  who am I to decide the date of her death? What gives me this  power?  If I look at the big picture I don’t feel like I have a choice, but is the most heartbreaking decision I have ever made.

Nala has been an amazing dog.  She has rafted many rivers including Hells Canyon and The Middle Fork of the Salmon.  She has hiked thousands of trails all over the country and has traveled to the tip of Baja twice.  She has not left my side since the day I adopted her.  Since I made the decision to let her go, I have had a pit in my stomach.   Physically ill.  Nala is 14 and has a lot of pain.  She has trouble getting up, falls a lot and now has bitten Zephyr.   Well it was only a snap, but it did draw blood. I keep holding on.  What makes this so difficult is she does have some quality of life.  She enjoys eating and lying in the sun and going for small walks.  However the risk for Zephyr increases every day and Nala’s pain becomes more and more pronounced.   She is starting to become incontinent.  The guilt of euthanizing is so heavy.  Besides growling and snapping at my son, she has been the perfect example of true love.  She never left me even though I have moved her to eleven different times.  Lived with countless roommates and their various dogs.  She sits at my feet, follows me from room to room and has slept by my side for 12 years.  She has outlasted six different relationships and four different jobs.   She is unconditional love.

I have an appointment on Wednesday.  I am thinking of canceling it.  I might need to take this journey with her week by week.  Although I know she would not aggressively hurt Z,  the images of a child we had to send to a plastic surgeon who was bitten by their family pet keep playing in my head.  Those parents did not think their dog was capable of such a bite either.   Their dog was also old and in pain.  They lost their dog, their son has a scar for life and now is deathly afraid of all dogs.  I don’t want that for my son.   Oh Nala!!!!!!!  How come the right thing to do totally SUCKS?  I also know it’s not just about Zephyr’s safety.  It’s about her  pain.  She fell down two steps today.  She pants and pants, she not longer wags her tail.

Now I have to let her go.  And as much as I know it’s the right thing to do, I am having trouble doing it.  We have had a lot of loss this year.

Life is like a sand dune, always changing, moving and shifting.  We are here to learn to love deeply and to let go.  I keep reminding myself that people, things, and situations are always moving through our lives like the sand moves across the desert.  I know that love goes beyond our attachment to the physical.  It never dies.  Love is endless. It is a bottomless spring.  That said, how do I let go of that sweet fuzzy face?



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