Sunday, July 10, 2011

my dog died

this is chiefi about a year ago. we'd had him for about 8 months and i still called him wicket (like the ewok) because i thought it was a more fitting name.

i'll spare you from seeing a picture of chiefi yesterday. it was heartbreaking. you see, chiefi got ran over by a car on state street.

i always figured people whose dogs died were just being dramatic. i've sent dogs to the pound before or given them away. it can't be that different, right? WRONG!! oh my goodness, for all of you out there who have had dogs die, i am sorry i judged you. this is one of the most sad things that has ever happened to me. i feel like a person died. like my little brother. i keep expecting to see him or hear the little jingle of his tags when he runs around the house.

chiefi and i had a love-hate relationship, and it was becoming more and more love lately. literally in the last three weeks, chiefi has been growing up. he's not as obnoxious and listens. if you opened the door a month ago, chiefi would bolt out of it like his life depended on his freedom from the house. these past few weeks, he would sit at the threshold until you called him out. he barked at everything, but was also terrified of everything. lately, he's been barking only at actual threats, and actually single-handedly chased a huge dog out of our backyard (that coco completely missed). he was always affectionate, but has been less needy lately. he really was just a cute dog.

i am convinced that chief is the reason coco is still alive today. she was getting depressed and slowing waaay down 18 months ago, before we got chief. the day we brought him home, it was like coco was a new dog. she had been given a breath of life. chief kept her young. i never imagined chief would die before coco. i envisioned us as owners of just a small dog once coco died. this is so backwards.

beyond all that, chiefi was the only thing mason wanted in the hospital. when he had just come out of two surgeries and was uber depressed, mason cried for his puppy. and the hospital obliged. we were given special permission for chiefi to come visit mason, and it made mason's whole week. he smiled for the first time in weeks and it was a turning point in his treatment. he was up and walking again and out of the hospital in amazing time.

a few weeks ago, my dad fell into the lake. chiefi played the role of lassie, freaking out until my dad was safe back on shore. chiefi was my dad's forever companion. he would cry if my dad left without him.

i guess, needless to say, chiefi will always have a soft spot in my heart. when we first got him, i was convinced i hated him because i don't like little dogs. chiefi changed my mind about little dogs forever. he was a sweet dog, and fiercely protective and loyal.

he had gone outside with coco on friday night and never came back. around 2 am, me and coco roamed a one mile circle around our house, calling for chiefi and whistling, carefully stopping to listen for the jingle of his collar. after over an hour of driving around, i gave up and came home. my hope was that someone had found him late at night and would bring him home at a normal hour. the next morning, on the way to mason's curesearch walk, my mom and sister (with mason in the car) saw him, dead on the road.

when i got the call, i did not believe it. chiefi never went farther than the next door neighbor's house. he was too scared, and would come bounding back any time coco did. i convinced vili to drive by, just so i could see for myself. what i saw was heartbreaking. i was shocked, could not believe i was really seeing our chiefi with his innards no longer in. we got a shovel and bag, and brought him home for the last time. my dad could not even talk to us, he was so upset.

i wish i could say that we had a funeral service; that we buried him in a way that signified our love for him and gratitude for his role in our lives. unfortunately, none of us could bare looking at him. burying him was just one step too far in the grief cycle. so, we put him in the garbage can and he was taken by the folks at waste management to the dump. i like to think that was better than leaving him on the road, to continue to be ran over until someone else finally got around to scraping him up and taking him to the dump. at least the ones who did the scraping loved that dog.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

phones in pipes

so, today i am sitting in the exact same room as i was when i started this blog just about 4 years ago.typing on the exact same computer. i had watched the slow, sad decline that is leukemia and it culminated in my grandmother's death. pretty sad setting for this post, right? well it's not all going to be sad. at least, i don't think so. my grandma was not a sad person. she was full of life and happiness and jokes. oh, she was full of jokes. but she was also full of words. i know i've talked about her newsletter before, but man, that woman could express herself! i have a blog that i struggle to post on monthly, and she pumped out 6 page newsletters every week.

it was an awesome time to be in my family. we all knew the intimate details of one another's lives and we were closer as a family for it. i know that every family slowly shifts apart as more generations are added, focuses change, etc. but, it is sad for me to see it with my own! it seems like just yesterday we were getting together for family reunions, my sister (the first granddaughter to marry) was getting married, we had just one or two in-laws at the family functions. today, i only have two uncles who are not grandparents (one of them doesn't have kids, so i don't know if i should even count him) don't get me wrong; i love the in-laws! they make all the adorable chicklets running around possible. but, i also miss the days when we were able to be closer, when our relationships were the tender ones that needed to be nurtured. i miss the newsletters. maybe i just miss my grandma.

tonight, my grandpa asked me to type something up for him. usually, this was my grandmother's task. she would get instructions from him and come into the computer room and furiously type away until she got it done. she was such a cute secretary and grandma. there are a lot of times when i find myself feeling sorry for my cute grandpa. usually in our family, it's the man who goes first. we're a family of many generations of widows. i guess leukemia had it's own opinion about that.

anywho, as i sit here, dead tired from all the pre-4th of july festivities, i can't help but imagine what it would be like if grandma was here. i am sure i would be in the kitchen, chatting with her and getting advice about my life. the dishwasher (or dishwarsher if grandma was saying it) would be running in the background. i would be joined by cousins and maybe an aunt or two. maybe we'd be singing the kids to sleep while she accompanies on the piano. she'd be one of my speed dials, always ready when i need to talk. she'd congratulate me for taking my pills faithfully every day and encourage me to be more outgoing. i would be sitting with her in the computer room, content to just sit while she types something important for my grandpa.

a lot of things would be different if my grandma were still alive. i've been told to get over it before. told that it is time to move on, too much time has passed. i have a lot of choice words for the person who said that. that woman was more than just the woman who gave birth to my mother. she was amazing. i really don't think you can possibly grasp how much she meant to me. tonight, i just miss my grandma.