Tuesday, March 31, 2009
"I am so sorry......" The doctor saying this was a veteranarian, but it is the same words the the doctor started with that told me Jim had died.
Mercury's biopsy came back with the results that we thought Squamous Cell carcinoma. The vet I spoke to is not the vet that will be treating him so we will see the new one on Saturday.
I hope some heavier pain meds can be gotten. Poor Mercury woke me at 3:30 this morning with a whimper that sounded like, well, like a human with a toothache. With every breath there was a little 'mmmph' that was high pitched. They sleep in the living room downstairs and usually I don't hear them. I am got up and gave him some pain meds. I let both dogs out and both peed so I was happy. Then it was snuggle time. I sat on the couch with a dog on either side and stroked ears and rubbed necks. Mercury settled down right away and yet, every time I stopped or slowed he would move his head and look up at me. Tigger on the other hand was excited that mommy came down to visit during sleepy time and refused to go back to sleep. She would lick my hand if I stopped petting. Of course, I stopped as I was falling asleep again so her licking would wake me up. After about an hour, I decided the drugs had kicked in and I went back up to my bed.
Mercury's demeanor is a split one. Some of the time Mercury is behaving normal. He is up beat and excited for food. He is ready for a walk or to go out back. Then I sometimes I come into the room and he is laying on the couch just looking miserable with his head on his paws and moving slow.
I am not sure if I have posted the story of Mercury and Tigger and how they came to be in our lives. Our first Dalmatian, Gryphon was a beauty with one blue eye and one brown and a fantastic personality. He passed at age 5 1/2 with renal failure. We went to the vet with him when his life was more pain then pleasure. Jim held him as the vet gave the shot and cried. We both cried. We sat in the truck and held each other. With no children, Gryphon was our baby. We bought him from a breeder at age 12 weeks. We trained him, had photos and fun stories.
We had been doing Dalmatian rescue work for a couple years and fostering Dals was a big part of it. We would take in a Dalmatian in need till a home could be found for him. After Gryphon, I told Jim no more rescues. I was grieving. Of course, we got a call a few weeks later. A Dal about to be put to sleep. Jim told me that he would handle the dog, I didn't have to do anything. He went down to the shelter and brought home this terror of a dog. No discipline and no social skills. Jim worked with him for 3 weeks and got him to the point of adoptablity. And we found him a home.
Then a few weeks later came the next call. Two puppies in NYC have 24 hours or less to live. I said okay because we had a family wanting to adopt a younger dog. This was a great rescue. It was a 'hand off' from one couple that got the dogs in NYC, to a family in CT, and they met us up in Providence. I sat in the back seat with a 6 month old and 4 month old puppies. The 6 month old pup was bouncing around and the 4 month settled at my side and looked at me with these big brown eyes.
I remember calling to Jim in the front seat that "This one is not going anywhere". Jim laughed and said that was fine with him. And Mercury was adopted by us (oh yes, the other puppy went that day to his new home too). Our other Dalmatian, Tigger is also a rescue, but her story will come later.
Tigger seems healthy as a horse, acts like she is 2 and will probably live to be 30. Dals have an age range of 12-15, and Mercury will be 10 in September. I have started taking photos. I will try to take some each day. If only I had known with Jim, I would have taken lots and lots more.
I also ask that any men in my life - friends or family, stay far away from me. I lost Jim, my Dad and now my male dog. Something emitting from me?
Saturday, March 28, 2009
This week I learned that our dog, Mercury has tongue cancer. They called it squamous cell carcinoma. I have been spoon feeding him to make sure he gets enough water and food into his mouth. He can't chew. In fact that was what made me take him in the first place, he had gotten so slow in eating his food I thought he had a broken tooth or something like that. I never saw the things on his tongue. In fact the vet didn't even see them until Merc yawned in front of her. She didn't even look for something on his tongue.
That was a ride this week. Last saturday, going in to the vets, the exam and them telling me there are lesions on the tongue and we need to biopsy them. Then Wednesday going in to drop him off, going in later to pick him up and the care and feeding. It was Thursday that the vet gave me 'the call'. Telling me that he has the squamous cell carcinoma and she started the 'so that means so many days to live' speech. I was in shock and ran thru those 5 grieving emotions really quick - shock, anger, denial, sadness, anger, shock, reorganization and anger (i listed more on purpose there).
I spent the afternoon learning what I could about this cancer in dogs, and then making phone calls to specialty vets in the area. And then being shuffled from oncology vet to dentistry vet to surgical specialist vet...finally to learn that until the biopsy comes back nothing is definate. I called a regular vet in Baltimore, close to home and made an appt for him to look at Mercury. A second opinion and a way to establish a vet close by. We had been to him once before. They were able to see Mercury on Saturday morning. He gave me a much more positive feel to the situation then my other vet (which is another reason I was changing) and he offered some good advice on how to keep Mercury comfortable, still eating and some options to think about when the results come in. He didn't start with the "speech" he started with "we may be able to do some surgery and it may or may not help". Maybe that is unwarranted hope, I don't know. I will know later this week. I just left his office feeling calmer.
I found the picture of "Professor Mercury" while looking for some others. The look on Mercury's face "mom help me" had me laughing. Jim loved to do things like this to the dogs and he always thought Mercury was near sighted because of how his eyes focused. He thought the reading glasses might help. He enjoyed these dogs and adored him.
Lots of dreams about Jim this week. It has been very comforting and I like waking with his face in my head. I only wish he could come to me when I was doing my taxes and tell me where which numbers go.
And to totally switch subjects, a thought I had last night and wrote here before writing all the Merucury stuff -
"Watching tv tonight I realized just how much I miss having Jim kissing me. I enjoyed his kisses and my kissing him. Any kind, from those deep romantic I love you ones to the light pass by think of you kisses and especially the super erotic ones that made my mind go blank. I also miss having someone to scratch my back. "
Month 22 and I am thinking of what to do for the two year mark. I didn't really do anything really special for year one but I wanted to. I still want to plant a couple trees but I am just not sure where they could go and I would want them to be allowed to grow free and tall. I wish I could find the people that got his cornea's. The organ donation sociey said that each one went to a different person, so he was able to help them see again. As odd as it sounds, it would be nice to look at someone and know that Jim is still there.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I laughed because Jim did this on his cellphone voicemail. It was a simple "Hello" but in the tone that you would speak as if you were answering the phone, not like you were about to say "hello, leave a message".
So often, people would leave him and message saying "hello Jim, how are you? Jim?" and then you would hear them on the voicemail maybe speaking to someone else saying "I thought he answered but I don't hear him, okay, Jim is this is a message, it's Uncle Benny, call me back....I guess that was his machine, I don't kno..." click.
I shut Jim's cellphone down just several days after he died and I am sorry I did. I wish I had kept it on for a little while longer. Long enough to get a copy of his voicemail (somehow).
The "hello" that I use is very much a copy of his, in honor of him. Most of my friends have heard it and even this friend knew it but said she forgot that it did that.
Ah, the little memories that make you smile.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Today I gave a friend of mine a lift to work. Wait, let's stop a moment. What a great thing to say. I GAVE him a lift. I love being able to do that. After years of no car, and getting rides from him, it is nice to do him a favor.
So, I am dropping him off at work and I see that I am close to the grocery store - Shoppers - that I wrote about last week. The store that Jim and I would go to and was stacked to the roof with memories. I told myself that I could go in there now, now that I have done it once.
I went in and it was an odd feeling, a welcoming, a good warm feeling. I knew it was good that I had come.
I went to the deli counter where there used to be a nice woman that knew just what meats we wanted, joked with me about Jim waiting in the car and in general was like the oldtime neighborhood grocer. She wasn't there last time and I think that was good. It was rougher last time.
Today she was right there and smiling behind the counter. She looked at me and said "ohh! it's about time!" and I laughed. We were the only ones there so I told her about Jim passing and she said she remembered him well because he would sneak up behind me when I was intent on ordering and spook me. He did that, but honestly, I had forgotten it. Theres a memory reclaimed.
There were some other customers coming up so I moved on to continue shopping. I am in the milk section and feel these arms wrap around me and I turn and she is there giving me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. She said she was sorry he is gone but to know he is with me. And to come back to see her. I told her thank you and I will. Then she left.
I stood in the milk section and had the stupidest grin on my face. Just a smile and some tearing in the eyes thinking about how wonderful people are. That she remembered us was one thing, but to search me out and give me a hug and some kind words just gave me such warmth. What a wonderful woman.
I thank her for the smile she gave me while I was in a place filled with the Jim and I memories that sometimes hurt. I thank her for the memory she shared that I had forgotten. I thank her for the openness to hug me in the middle of the milk section.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This morning during my dream state I had a conversation with an old boyfriend. I can't remember what we talked about, but I remember his face very clearly. Dodge boy (his nickname) from my college years.
He and Jim, they walked up to me together. Dodge boy and I talked and Jim chuckled beside us at some of the witty things I said - I don't know now what they were, then as I watched he and Jim melded into one and we lay down. I closed my eyes - I guess I was going to sleep while I was already sleeping - and felt him behind me. In the dream I woke to know that his arms were around me and the weight was pushing on my ribs and annoying, like it used to be. I reached to move his arm down a little, again, a common over the years manuever, and that's when I woke up for real.
I woke with his heat still on my back and the very clear remeberance of moving the arm. It was an almost nightly ritual and I don't know if I have thought about it in months. And I could still in my mind see both Jim's and Dodge boy's faces.
As I got ready for work, I was overwhelmed with the need to write and just sat and let it flow. This is what came out.
His laugh is not to be heard again,
those loud joy filled gruffs,
The hands will not be touching
caressing the skin.
To lose the one that makes
you feel that living is worth
you are special to him
because of him, the aches come.
How to fold and pack and give away
moments of your lives
The strength you need to do it
In small steps one by one
To know that his hair will never tickle
your shoulder as he kisses the spot at
the nape of your neck
to think of the years gone by with a smile
and think of the years to come with emptiness.
They say that life goes on
and you learn that yes it does
but sometimes there are mornings
when you wake and feel so lost and alone.
Often it seems time stops
then you find the way
that he has come and let you know it's okay
Move along but don't forget
The love is near and still strong.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I had lunch today with two of my neighbors. It was Debbie's birthday and our youngish male neighbor Keith (who helps her around the house) invited me to join them. He and I are LOST buddies - the wonderful tv show that is on wednesday nights.
The lunch was at Red Lobster and was very nice. Talking to Debbie, who has lived across the street from me for 8 years and getting to know Keith a little better. Debbie and I are neighborly, saying hi and sharing gossip when we see each other, but not really into each others lives. When we sat down at the table, she told me right away how much she missed Jim and his greeting her when he saw her on the street. She said he always took time to say hello. It was a good remembrance and a memory that I had forgotten. As she was telling me, right away I remembered him waving to her from the truck and as we came out of the house and she was going in or out of her house. He was like that with all our neighbors.
Keith had never met Jim so we moved on to other subjects. Mostly gossip about the other neighbors, comparing notes on the new ones and wondering about the ones that have moved away.
When we got home I took the dogs out for a walk before the rain came. The rain was actually just a sprinkle that lasted a few hours. The dogs hate to go out back to do their business when it is raining. But it is funny, if it was raining and I were to say 'walk', they would be up and ready with no problem.
I figured out using a dog age calculator that Mercury is 45 in human years and Tigger is 49 in human years. Figaro the cat is 77!! In real life, Mercury is acting like an 80 yr old and Tigger is acting like a 25 yr old.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Oh wait, not Julie Andrews but rather the oldest girl who is in love with the young man that becomes a member of Hitler's Nazi's and betrays them (Rowlf?). But this is before that - out in the yard, in the pagoda..."You are 16 going on 17, baby its time to think..." (humming, 'doo do doo da da do doo' ... I can't remember the rest of the words).
Now think. It's Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thursday.
And this came into my head "It is wednesday, going on thursday, oh what thiiings to do, pretty in pink and oh what to think, I better get back to work..." Of course, sung following the same tune as 16 going on 17. And I am in purple not pink, but that doesn't rhyme as well.
So that will be the song running thru my head today. Oh boy. Often that happens. A song I hear or even just reminded of, will start running thru and then never leave. I try to get it out by thinking of other songs and that works for awhile, but it comes back.
The real issue today is a post I read on a message board that I frequent. The OP (original poster) wrote -
"Love Is A Fallacy - Let's stop kidding ourselves. Love is nothing more than a result of the various serotonin and dopamine levels in our bodies. To suggest anything otherwise is a fool's errand."
Then followed 4 pages of other posters trying to get him to see that love is a great thing and can happen to anyone. It was good to see how many people believe in love and have found love. Many others that say they haven't found 'the right one' are still holding on to the idea that there is someone to share there life with, even if they haven't yet.
The first poster said in later posts that he hasn't found his 'perfect woman' and doesn't think she will show up. Many more posts about him getting up and going out, meeting people and even being more flexible in his standards or 'dream girl'.
I wrote a long post about meeting the 'right one' and how even if he wasn't my dream guy, he was the right one for me. As I wrote it I thought about what my dream guy is and realized that my dream has changed. What I wanted 20 years ago is not what I know I need or want now. Of course not, because I am not the same as I was then. I thought about how anyone could match the emotions I feel for Jim and realized also that of course they couldn't, but that doesn't mean new emotions won't come along. I can't say I could love someone else, at least not at this point, but I also realize from reading what others have written that it may be possible. Or, it may not, who knows. I did realize that I can be flexible in my expectations and that is something I see as important in a relationship.
I deleted the post I was going to send. Mainly because I don't think he would get it. I wasn't saying much different then what others had written and he was not understanding it. I feel sorry that he seems to have closed himself up so much. And I am happy to have found love with Jim, but also love with my friends.
Monday, March 9, 2009
A coworker gave me a card that has this quote on the front. The inside was blank, just a note from her saying she thought of me when she saw this.
I started looking through that vast dark hole of the internet search engine and found some quotes from others that touched that 'Jim' spot in my heart. Some of the authors were a surprise, and yet, right on with the sentiment and feeling they touched.
Love is stronger than death.
Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end. -- George W. Bush
There are never enough "I Love You's".
-- Lenny Bruce
There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.
-- Nicholas Sparks
Love is like a friendship caught on fire.In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.
As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable
-- Bruce Lee
Saturday, March 7, 2009
My plan tomorrow is to help a good friend unpack at the new apartment. She moved today and wanted some company as she set things up. She has helped me and Jim with our move from Boston to here so I am glad I can help back. It is what friends do for each other.
I have had help from many friends these past couple years and it is appreciated. There are times when just knowing that the friends are there has helped me get through painful moments when all was very bleak. Let alone, being able to call them if the painful moment gets too painful and hear another human voice.
Sharing some of the fun in life with friends has been very important too. I am happy when I hear the laughter from others and in turn I get to laugh. I especially like it when it is humor that I spread, a joke or comment that I made and that someone actually 'got'.
Today was one of those nice warm days that got me energized. It sounds like I have been doing nothing but cleaning, but if you look around the house you won't notice it. It is just that so much needed to be done, that doing what I have has made a difference to me. You know, when you find that laundry basket in the closet that has shirts in it you haven't seen in a couple months and don't remember how it got there, but when you wash them it is just great to have the shirts back.
Walking the dogs tonight was pleasant. They were revved up because it was still 60 degrees or so and they listened well when I was calling them. Just seeing them run across the field is a pleasure.
Going to bed calm and relaxed for a change.
As I type it is actually 69 degrees outside!!! Wheeeee!!! After the lion of a storm that March brought to us last week, this is a nice way lambish day.
Much of the drudgery of laundry, dusting and such will be done with windows open and the music playing. Two loads of wash have already been done. Finding a home for the clothes may be the chore, but maybe as I type this, I will make up some bags for charity donations.
I must admit a minor indulgence. I now have a 'kitty litter changer'. A service that comes to the house, drops of new litter boxes with litter in them and picks up the old one. Oh, it sounds really really wasteful of money and I may not be able to do it for long, but for a mere $8.00 a week, it means I don't have to handle the job I hate most. Dog poop, I can deal with. Kitty litter for some reason is no fun and I avoided it to the point of a smelly basement. It made me happy to think that tomorrow I can go down and do some work in the basement without cleaning up the cat stuff first. It made me actually almost excited? to be doing the stuff I have been putting off. So, I guess it is worth it.
On a similiar note of getting past things I have been avoiding. The second half of the blog post is painful.
Last night I was bopping around to Sam's Club and then needed a grocery store. Close by was the one that Jim and I always, every sunday, went there. I actually have been avoiding that store because sometimes I would drive by thinking 'should I go there' and get the goosebumps that say 'no, not yet'. I went last night because it was later, I was in a rush, and I admit, I was trying to be brave and strong. I failed. I had my first big true meltdown, in awhile.
I should have turned around in the parking lot when I started wheeling the cart and felt the tightening in the chest. I went ahead, walked in and was immediately inundated with memories. Still pressing on, I went to the deli counter and I think if the deli lady that served us for years - long enough to know our names and that Jim liked spiced ham - if she had been there it would have been worse. Can one deli person make a difference. Yes. Anyway, she wasn't, I ordered my turkey and cheese and liverwurst. I turned to go and saw the spiced ham. I started crying. Tried to stop. Rolled over into the meat section and stood in the empty area and cried. Sounds pathetic. I didn't even have a tissue. I laugh as I type this - I used the receipt from Sam's club to blow my nose *it was not gentle) until I could get to over to the paper goods section and the tissue boxes and open one of them.
Just being assaulted on all levels, sight, sound, even touch of memories of being here with Jim. I have talked before about this, when I walk in someplace and he is there. The things we did, saw, ate, it is inescapable. Yet, in some way, they must be faced and handled. Well, I faced them but I sure didn't handle them right.
Jim and I would go to the store every sunday and the first part of our visit was him out in the parking lot calling his siblings. He had 3 brothers and a sister and he would call them to say hello, see how they were doing and just keep a tab on the family. The second part of our visit was him coming in to help me finish the shopping, which means: making suggestions as to what he wants to eat that week, even though I had a good list. Get his blood pressure checked at the pharmacy, make sure we had tastykakes and ice, and in general act like a husband.
So I moved to the bathroom, cried a little more and then washed my face. I really whizzed thru the rest of the store. The one thing I did remember as I was shopping was why we would drive 20 minutes out of our way when there were three other grocery's near us. The prices and the selection. I was buying stuff last night that was hard to find in other stores. Simple things like Bush's chili beans and frozen veggie mix of onion and peppers. I got lots of both of them so I will have them in stock for a bit.
Got to the check out and the memories exploded again. Jim, Jim, Jim. Standing at the end of the checkout and bagging stuff. He would always be joking with the cashier and talking about how this would be his retirement job. This is what he would do when he was old and gray. Ouch and ouch.
I am not sure if I can make it into that store again. I would like to say I am strong enough to make these good rememberances and not painful memories. For now, I am going to let it work thru me and go out and enjoy the sun. Writing has helped. It always does.
First fun for the sunny day? Oh, you guessed it.....cleaning up the dog poopie and planting some daffodil bulbs!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The instructor was great and very patient with our questions, problems and in my case, bad jokes. I found that I enjoyed the classroom environment. I am going to take the class that is next step up and keep going.
Dreamweaver is a web design style that I have been using for the last year or so. We had a website designer come in and set things up and give me a basic instruction and then leave. I was able to use that for awhile, but then the site needed revamping and changes had to be made. I found that I could do some of the changes just by hodge podging and copy/pasting a bit. That worked so far and now I need to step it up.
Learning from square one was interesting because some of the things I knew, some of the things I was already doing, but not in the right way so this showed me the better smarter way, and some things I would never have even thought to do and that made this class all the more worth it.
This is another item on that list of things that I can do since Jim is gone. I can take some night classes. Also on that list is eating mint chocolate chip ice cream (Jim hated mint). I don't mean that he would have minded me taking the class, but there was just never any time. No, Jim was a strong advocate of furthering our education and we even took an adult ed class together one time. One of the blog posts I talked about that class - sign language - and our adventure during the class. With Jim it was always some kind of adventure.
I am going to have fun as I start making changes to the website. Making some tweaks here and there, adding photos, rearranging text and creating links to new pages. Yep, that sounds like fun to me.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Well, a good friend sent me a link to a site. It is a Rondo Award time he said. I had no idea what that meant but as I looked over the ballot, I realized it is a ballot ripe for other horror/science fiction lovers.
The list is worth looking at even if you don't vote, just for the choices and information that is there. However, if you want to vote, it is easy. Just copy the ballot, paste it into an email and make your selections. I made my selections by cutting out everything else in that catagory that I didn't want to vote for. It made it easier for me to keep track.
It is interesting sometimes what we find ourselves sharing.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
At 21 months, looking back, seems like a longer trip than it sounds. The last month has been one that has just let me stop for more than a couple quick breaths and then on to try and grab the fast moving train that is life right now.
There is one thing I am doing now that I haven't before and that is talking out loud to Jim. I have talked to him in my head, but never really walked around the house speaking to him. I am now. Maybe that is just lonliness, but I am thinking it is more me still feeling his presence. And I like that.