Posted on Feb 4, 2013 in Blog |

It has been just a little over 24 hours since our beloved dog’s death. I feel a bit of an obligation to update everyone for a few reasons:

1. You have lifted our family in prayer so high and so strongly that I want you to know it is helping. Prayer makes a difference for me. And I thank you for this gift.

2. I have been writing as a therapy to get through this grief, but some of my writing has actually created more pain for some of you. So I need you to see how I am working my way through my grief to the other side so you can as well.

3. I do not want you to think your words have gone unnoticed. I need to validate that everything everyone has said has made a difference and aided in our healing. No matter what it was, it has helped and is appreciated.

4. I also want to answer some of the questions asked and to address some of the suggestions.

First off, THANK YOU. For every note, flower, card, text, cupcake (coming tomorrow), candy bar, cup of tea, weepy phonecall, instant message, email, hug, and personal visit brought to us in just this short amount of time. Literally, hundreds of people have connected to us and I am in complete awe of the strength of our friends and family. I have not responded to each one and I simply cannot.

It reminds me of Preston’s death almost two years ago. I still have copies of every email, note, and text sent back then. Riley’s death is not on the same level as our nephew’s suicide. But the emotions are similar and I simply am overcome by emotion sometimes and literally don’t have the emotional or physical energy to respond. Some of you have said things that literally touch my heart so strongly that I cannot yet respond. I know I SHOULD respond to give you that validation individually, but I just can’t reach out yet in some cases. So please know your words and deeds are intensely appreciated.

Some of you have been asking about Reagan, our older Cavalier. He is ok, but sad. When I took him outside to pee at 3 am, he refused to come back in. He sat at the end of the driveway where he and Riley would usually meet up from different ends of the yard and trot back into the house together. This time he sat and cried for Riley. I finally had to pick Reagan up and carry him into the house. It broke my heart all over again. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that.

But I brought Reagan to work with me (we are still worried the Invisible Fence isn’t working and they aren’t coming out until tomorrow to check it) and we had many nice walks around the buildings and along the tree line. He was very content to be with us today. We will continue to spoil Reagan and spend extra time and energy with him to comfort him in his grief as well.

Riley did not come to me in my dreams last night as I had hoped. But I will keep hoping. I do keep thinking of him romping down the road and through our yard with that goofy look on his face, happy as an innocent child with only dreams of what adventure is next. He was a happy, happy puppy and I will hold that in my heart forever.

This morning was tough. I went to work because the office is easier to be in than the house for now. I was weepy throughout the morning and early afternoon. But I got some work done and I felt the love from every direction.

This afternoon and evening are better. I watched ‘Big Bang Theory’ for my daily dose of laughter, which I still believe is key to healing.

Someone said they can’t imagine anything worse than losing a pet. I disagree. Losing a spouse, a child, a parent . . a person. The death of a person has been more intense and more painful than even my sweet Riley. Riley’s death, as I think anyone’s death can, reignites the pain of other deaths. I have thought constantly of Preston, of my Aunt Betty, of Grandma, Grandpa, a boy in high school I knew . . . it just brings the grief back in various intensities. And that’s ok.

The irony is not lost on me that Riley died on our son’s 20th birthday. Stephen almost died a few times during the birth, after the birth, after his emergency surgery .. . he spent 18 days in Children’s Hospital. While I celebrate his birthday every February 3rd, I also relieve in a minimal context each hour of that day and how grateful we were to still have our son alive (and now well). So for me, Riley’s death could never match the death of a child. But it is nevertheless deeply painful.

For those of you whom I know, that a dog is ‘just a dog,’ thank you for not saying so to our family. Thank you for expressing your love and support in our grief as best as you can. I know it’s not easy because you truly don’t understand. But your love for us is intense enough that you are willing to offer support in the ways that you know how. Thank you for the emotional stretch. It did not go unnoticed.

For those of you offering me unusual ‘gifts’ – THANK YOU. Maggie wants me to hold her dog Cocoa, who has special healing powers. And I am going to do that. Angela, I want to hold Easton, your son, as well. I do believe in the healing energy of the little ones, whether human or animal. Reagan’s energy, though sad, is still comforting to us. Robin, your phonecall brought 32 years of friendship instantly into my heart and I felt the hug. Nancy, your literal hug released some of my pain. I mean, I could go on and on; please know every act of kindness is dearly appreciated.

For the driver of the vehicle that hit Riley: I really DON’T want to know who you are. If it’s someone I know, I am not sure how I can handle it if you approach me. I think it is better for me to have you remain a faceless entity. I want the driver to know s/he is forgiven. I hope that you can ask God for forgiveness and know that His forgiveness is given to all those who earnestly ask.

And for those of you who are still very angry at the driver and wanting karma to come back to bite him/her in the butt, please pray for the willingness to be forgiving of that individual. If we all got what we deserved in life for everything we have thought or done, I don’t think many of us would be where we are now. It is God’s place to judge; not ours.

I still believe LOVE CONQUERS ALL.

I do ask that everyone slow down when driving on Pensive Lane. Speeding has been a problem on this street for 20 years at least.

I don’t know where exactly on our street Riley was hit and I don’t want to know. I don’t want that spot marked because that is not where Riley’s soul is. We have buried him in our back yard, in the farthest point of our garden, near the raspberry bushes. He will rest in peace in that corner. It’s near the compost pile that he loved digging in (and stinking from).

Now the next part is primarily for the Lymies out there . . .but if it applies to you, please use what is helpful and toss the rest. . .

When this first occurred, my Lyme doctor texted me (his wife is on Facebook and saw my message) with strong words of love and compassion, but also, a stern reminder, ‘Mourn Riley appropriately, but don’t you dare let it affect your health! I’m very sorry, but I will be more sorry if you are hurt and relapse in the process. Keep your priorities straight. Your family, friends and physician need you to be healthy.’

I will be the first to admit that my LLMD is probably the ONLY person who could have said these words and not offended me. Less than a year ago, I listened to his own struggle with the death of one of his own dogs. I knew he knew my pain. But he also knows the affect that our emotions can have on our health.

I am so close to being fully healed from Bartonella and Protomyzoa Rheumatica; like, I am at the 90% marker I think. It has taken years of time, effort, wisdom, and money from everyone around me to get me to this spot. I can’t lose ground now.

Most Lyme patients can follow a history of illness that is sometimes sent into a spiral with a stressor event (good or bad) like a wedding, a death, an illness . . . I can trace my final spiral back to when I shattered my foot in the Safeway parking lot. Seven weeks in a cast. Three years later and about 20 physicians later, I found myself with my LLMD and a diagnosis that actually fit almost three decades of symptoms.

So I say this to each of you who is battling some physical ailment: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO HEAL.

For me, I had to fill our pills last night and this morning (both of us had gone two days without pills: a big no no).

We are eating, staying hydrated, sleeping, resting, being kind to one another, helping each other, letting each other grieve.

We are also laughing. Laughter heals. This I KNOW.

My personal opinion here . . . I think most Lymies have great empathic spirits. They FEEL the FEELINGS more than most people; their own and others’. I know many friends who have been teary all day with our grief. I appreciate the commiserating, but I also want to make sure it stays ‘appropriate’ and that our friends continue on the path to healing as well.

There is nothing more important than our health. I have learned this the hard way and will do everything I can to hang onto every ounce of health I gain.

Riley came into my life just as I was starting the treatment for the Protomyzoa Rheumatica. Last March changed my life as I had known it for almost a decade. I started walking again. Not 3 miles like I used to, but

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