Forgiveness

I always think of forgiveness at this time of year.   September 11th was a day that saw the world change for so many of us.   I grew up in an era when we didn’t think about making America great, it was accepted that America was imperfect, but still the best place in the world, and that we were lucky to live here.   That Beaver Cleaver wasn’t an oddity, or a made up character, but the kid down the street.   I knew my share of Eddie Haskells, so anyone who tells you that all of the 50’s and 60’s tv shows were based on dreams and nothing to do with reality is full of shit.   I lived through Viet Nam, and the protests.   Through all that, we still held onto our belief, although we may not have expressed it, that we were invincible.  No one dared mess with us.   We were too strong, too powerful, and we just wouldn’t stand for any nonsense.    People were (and still are) dying to come here, not many are trying to escape.

Then the Towers fell.  And with them fell our illusions of safety.

I have never judged someone based on religion or skin color or who they choose to sleep with.  I’ve never felt the need to hurt someone because they didn’t agree with my beliefs.   I still can’t fathom what the purpose was behind flying planes into buildings.    Did they REALLY think it would take us to our knees for long?   Did they really not know better?   Were they honestly that stupid, or that filled with hate?

It didn’t work.   It did, however, leave residual anger behind.   Anger and grief that have never died.    Faded a bit, maybe, over the years.  But never gone away completely.

And they left behind a fear.   A fear of anyone from a certain area, no matter how innocent they may be.   When I went to Ohio a few  years ago, I stopped at a rest area near the exit for Shanksville.  On my way inside, I stopped and read the plaque that states that this is the area where the plane went down in the field.   I went inside, to get a burger for my lunch.  In line in front of me was a group of Arab men.    I found myself shaking, wanting to yell at them, ask them if they had come to see the monument to  their handiwork.   This is what the attackers accomplished.   Unreasoning fear and hatred of innocent people.   Not sure if that’s what they planned.

And on this day,  unexpectedly, I got a message from someone I’ve known for years, who cut me off without an explanation a bit over a year ago.   A message of apology, a message saying she loves me, and is sorry, and it was not my fault.    I have no idea how I’ll respond.   Forgiveness?    I don’t know if I can.

I struggle with forgiving, and forgetting, hurts done to me.   Max never held a grudge.   I, however, can hold one till it screams for mercy.

So I shall ponder the message from my former friend, and decide what I want to do about it on another day.

As for the 9/11 attackers – I will never forgive, and never forget.

 

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Strength

I used to be the strong one, the one who could handle anything life threw at me.   I was, and still am, the one no one in my family will take on, head on, although they still try to play their stupid games thinking I won’t find out and won’t take them down before they know what hit them.   I am fierce in defense of my husband, and my dog – my dogs- It still doesn’t seem right to make that word plural.

When my mother died, my heart shattered.   I’m not  unique in this, few can experience the death of the person who carried them in her body and nurtured them without experience the most devastating pain.   It wasn’t her death that broke me, it was the aftermath.   My family, most of them, showed their true colors, their real opinions of me (useless bitch) (golddigger) (mooch) (lazy ass bitch).   The stories flew, the lies were spun, the gullible believed and still believe that I stole my mother’s money, I robbed the estate, and some even bought the story that I somehow killed my mother.

One person held me together, kept all the shattered bits of me from flying in every direction.  Together, we built a life.   Still, I was in pieces.  I was never really whole.   Max helped heal my broken heart.  He showed me that I was worthy of love, that I could love, that there was joy in the world, and beauty, and friends who didn’t care if I wasn’t perfect every moment.   He didn’t care if my hair was thinning, if I was fat, if the floors needed mopped.  He loved me even when I didn’t deserve it.

So the pieces of me slowly came together again.   Different.  Weaker in some spots, stronger in others.

Then he got sick.   I had read everything about preventing cancer in dogs, I had given him all the foods that were supposed to help, all the supplements, and still, I couldn’t stop it.  We fought so hard, and we lost.

Once again, I was shattered.   I never want to feel this pain again.   I didn’t think I would survive it.

Bear asked Max to send us a puppy.   Along came Maverick.   Broken and scarred as I am, Maverick loves me.   He climbs into my lap and his tail wags and he wiggles and bites me and he just totally loves me for no reason except I’m his Mommah and he’s just so full of joy that all that spills into the broken spots and in spite of me, healing has begun.
Love doesn’t know that you’re broken.   Love only knows that you’re you.

 

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Tears flowing

Today wasn’t a great day

I’m not a morning person.  Wandering the field while puppy chews sticks and eats grass and taking stones out of his mouth, and leaves out of his mouth, and waiting for him to be motivated to poop, while my feet get wetter by the second and my pant legs are wet and I need to pee and please dear GOD will you just poop, for crying out loud?  is not my idea of a fun way to start the day.  Nor is wandering around the house eating everything in sight and playing with empty plastic pots and digging holes and jesus mary and joseph, I need my coffee, this is not fun!

Sigh.  This too shall pass.

The field.   Max’s meadow.  His tree, where he rolled and dug and sniffed baby bunnies but didn’t bother them, and got the zooms, and tore around – all of these are reminders of my sweet, beautiful boy.    When he was young, he would chase me as I mowed that field.  When he got older, he would just watch, and when I was done, would run out, zoom around, roll in the piles of cut grass, eat the clumps that fell off the mower – MAX, YUCK, LEAVE IT!!!!!!!!!! – the one thing he would NEVER ever drop.   His paws would be green from the grass.   And I would laugh and tell him, “look at what Mommy did!”  and he’d run up the sand mound and zoom back down and around me and I’d laugh.

It’s hard to go out there now.   It’s hard to stand under the branches of his tree and not see him there.    Some days, it’s not so bad.  Some days, I think of him rolling on his back in the grass, and I smile.  Today wasn’t one of those days.  And today was the day that Maverick wanted to go there, over and over, and sit, just sit beneath the branches of that tree and look down the hill.

I’m not supposed to be grieving – we have a puppy, everything is supposed to be fine again.   I’m not supposed to miss my boy.   But I do.  With every breath, I want him back.   I want him well, and happy, and running down that hill after a deer, and rolling in the grass under his tree.

I want him back.

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Don’t tell me

Not to cry

It’s only been 3 months

don’t tell me he’s waiting for me

I don’t want him waiting for me in your heaven, I want him on my front porch

Don’t tell me I should be better because “we have the puppy now.”

Yes, Maverick makes me laugh.  He is a total  bundle of joy and excitement and new and I  LOVE YOU MOMMAH and laughter and bright and smart and funny.

He’s not my Max.   I love this little guy.  I didn’t think I could.   He’s not a replacement.  He’s another.

Some days are easy.  Some days are hard.   Today was hard.

“and all the tomorrows”

 

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Counting Mondays

11 Mondays

11 weeks ago, we let you go.   Much has changed in those 11 weeks.   And every Monday, at 8:30, time stops, and I see your sweet face, and I feel your fur under my hands, and I whisper again, “it’s okay, baby, you’re not gonna hurt anymore.”

Every Monday, for 11 weeks

How many Monday will it be till I stop counting?  I can’t imagine Mondays ever being okay again.

I’ve started counting Fridays.   Two Fridays since Maverick.   His silly antics and puppy nonsense are helping my shattered heart to heal, my heart that isn’t broken but shattered into a million pieces.

Still.  I count the Mondays.

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Love in a bundle of fur

Max was many things, but he was not much of a cuddler.   He loved people, but he was happy to have some distance between himself and anyone but a few.   He would put his head on my lap, push himself between me and other people, but just lay on the floor beside me?  No, that wasn’t really his style.  He preferred the cool space by the front door to my lap.

Maverick wants to be on me all the time.  When he’s playing, when he’s sleeping.   He gets his toy – of which he has many – and gets part of his body on my lap or as close to my leg as possible.   When he sleeps during the day, he wants up on the sofa, curled up between me and a pillow, or beside me on the floor, but some part of him has to be touching some part of me.

I love seeing the similarities between them.  I love seeing the differences.   I love that there ARE differences.   I couldn’t handle a Max but Not Max.   This funny, adorable little guy reminds me of Max in so many good ways.   And I cry while I laugh at him, wishing Max were still here, wishing Max could truly be a big brother to this Tiny Terror.   He’s so full of himself, so confident, so curious and happy and loving.  I know he’d love Max.  I know he’d look up to him and learn from him – I miss him so.

I told the Bear that I want to get a sign made and put on the path to Max’s field.   That field will always be his – as will so many things here.   And my heart will always be his.  I’m grateful that there’s room in this oh so broken heart to love another.   Grateful to Max for showing me that I can love more than one, and to Maverick for giving me Chapter 2.

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Sleep deprived but not love deprived

I really didn’t want to love this little terror.  I didn’t want to open myself up to this pain, this searing, unending pain, this loss that doesn’t get better with time, not again.  And then they put him in my arms and my heart went – oh, wtf, let’s do this.

Little Maverick.  You are the sweetest little tiny terror.

I asked Max to send us a puppy.   I guess he knew we needed laughter in our lives again.  The Tiny Terror has mde me laugh more in the past few days than I have in months.

And still I cry.   I miss my Max so much, and everyone tells me it will get better, and I should be getting over it and Maverick will heal my shattered heart.

That’s an awful big job for a Tiny Terror.   I don’t think he’s gonna make me whole.  I think he’s gonna make me laugh and let me see that I can love again, and that there’s still laughter in my soul.  Max taught me patience.   Good thing, because the tiny one is on the go from the minute he wakes up till the moment he crashes.  And oh, that moment, when he’s almost asleep and so sweet and soft and cuddly – that makes all the biting and tearing up the house worth it.

But it sure would be nice if I could get more than a couple hours of sleep at a time!

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Saying hello without saying goodbye

Almost ten weeks ago, we let Max go.   Tomorrow we bring home Maverick.

I’m still grieving.   I still look for Max everywhere, in the family room on his rug, in the kitchen in front of the sink, where he always loved to be in case a random bit of food should fall.  I think he liked making us step over him, too.    I look for him in the living room, on his sofa, on the landing, everywhere.   He isn’t there.   Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of him and then the pain shoots through me again.   I still haven’t said goodbye, not completely.   I don’t think I ever will.   He was such a huge part of my life, he will never leave my heart.    Every night I told him – “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow – and all the tomorrows to come – you will always be in my heart.”   Until the last week, when it changed to “for all the tomorrows we have left, until there are no more, and even then, you will live in my heart.”   He would lay his paw across my arm, and look into my eyes, and I knew he understood.

I miss him so much I can barely breathe.   I’m supposed to be “getting over it,” “moving on,” “looking forward to the puppy.”

The last part is the only true part.   I AM looking forward to the puppy, to puppy breath and goofy silly puppy antics.  I’m even looking forward to chasing him around and keeping him out of stuff, and potty training.

These are not two mutually exclusive emotions.   I thought they might be, I was wrong.   I love Max, always will.   I love Maverick and will love him more as the days go by.    I won’t stop missing Max because Maverick is here.   I just hope I find more reasons to smile and not so many to cry.

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And he’s beautiful

Max will always be first – in my life, in my heart, in my soul.
He will always be my beautiful boy, the one I promised I would never leave.

He didn’t like to share, his toys, his food, his mom and dad.

If we were bringing home an older dog, he would not be happy about it.   A puppy, however, is a baby.   Max loved babies.   I think he’d understand that this little guy needs love and care and that Mom needs to give him that.

And he’ll be okay with it.

And so I present………..Maverick

IMG_1732

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His name is Maverick

And he’ll be coming home in a few weeks.

My empty, aching heart spoke last week, asked a friend where she got her dog.  She gave me the name of the breeder, I called and he has a litter.
We visited the puppies on Sunday.   Little guy crawled into my lap and gave me kisses.   He fell asleep in Bear’s arms, paws wrapped around his arm like Max would do.   And then did the same to me.   It was all over for both of us, we knew he had to be ours.

Later that night we got the confirmation that he was indeed ours.   And I sobbed.    Waves of grief for Max, guilt that he might think we’re replacing him, emotions all over.   It’s been a whirlwind – puppy proofing the house, buying stuff, choosing a name – THAT was crazy! – laughing and smiling one minute, and tears welling up the next.

I opened the peanut butter jar tonight – the first time since Max left us.   A stupid jar of peanut butter had me sobbing.

I’m reading like crazy, things have changed in 10 years!   So much to remember, so much to do, reading Max’s puppy diary to remember what puppies are like, and smiling over the silly things he did – this is the fun, joyful part.   I’m planning the stories I’m going to tell Maverick about his big brother.   That’s the sad, bittersweet part.

So another journey begins.    Another walk down the road of loving a fur ball, watching him grow into a good dog and fighting, once again, to keep him healthy and happy as long as we possibly can.   Max taught me so many things.   Let’s see what Maverick has in store for us next.

And thank you, Maxer – for still taking care of Momma.

 

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