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Archive for August, 2010

The Night Her Light Went Out

Some people might feel that blogging about something as personal as death is inappropriate. But writing is my therapy… so here’s a warning – this post is a tough one, and a personal one. But if it can help one other person through a tough time, then it’s worth it.

I had the devastating experience of putting a beloved pet down this week. My little cat Missy, who was only 8 years old, had to be euthanized Tuesday night. She was diagnosed with something unknown but ‘likely cancer and not good’ about a month ago, and we were watching for deterioration. We figured she’d have at least a year left. We didn’t see any signs until we got home from work Tuesday night and found her struggling for breath. We bundled her up and went to the vet. Once we arrived, the diagnosis was quick and certain – it was bad.

We did x-rays to be sure – we couldn’t make such a huge decision without being as sure as possible. When the pictures came back we knew it was time – I won’t share the details here, but needless to say… We now had a decision to make, on Missy’s behalf. It was awful. We laid our faces down next to Missy’s to look her right in the eyes. I would have paid so much money to explain to her what was happening, why we had to make the decision, and that we loved her.  But the look in her eyes told me that it was actually she who was teaching us something; that we could give her one last gift as her care-givers, and that was to end her fear and her suffering of why she was feeling unwell, and let her go.

The vet sedated her so she could rest and be calm. She snuggled into my lap, and was far more calm than me. She even purred, a tiny bit, although she wasn’t breathing well. She was doing all she could to tell me that she understood, and was grateful even, as if she knew that we were helping her be OK. I stroked her head, and cried about how I wished she could understand my words. I recounted with her silly tales of birds out the window, sunbeam naps, and scary hail storms. Remember the time I was sick and you sat up with me. Remember how you looked when you were playing with your toy mouse. She listened and waited, and I cried and cried.

When it was time, I put Missy put back on the table, wrapped up snug in her blanket, and I sat with my head right next to hers. I continued to pet her, crying, telling her that it was OK now, no more pain, no more fear. I told her how I hoped she understood why we were doing what we were doing, and that I hoped she knew how much I loved her.

And then, amidst the chaos of my tears and the vet checking her vital signs, I suddenly saw her light go out. Her eyes did not close, but they grew dim, and then my Missy was gone. So peacefully, so gracefully. Just as she lived her life… she left me quietly, and with dignity…she was gone.

The next day was beautiful. Sunny and bright, exactly the kind of day that Missy loved. My husband said  “She sent us this day, to tell us that she’s happy now”. And I believe him. We are fortunate, because we are left with  happy memories and all the love she gave us when she was with us. We miss her terribly, and I don’t expect this aching feeling to go away anytime soon. But somehow, I know it’s OK. Because I know that when we left that vet’s office, my Missy was no longer there. I was blessed, in many ways, to live that experience with her. I saw her light go out — and I got to say goodbye.

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Embers Are Forever

It occured to me that lately I’ve written about ways to spice up your relationship and keep it fresh. However, a very wise and dear friend sent me a bit of food for thought about my most recent post Making The Effort. I don’t think her words need much explanation; they are beautiful and poignant. She said:

“(In a relationship) the sparks eventually turn into embers (the part of the fire with the most heat) …  No more popping, sparking, or sizzling,  but comforting nonetheless.  And they hold the heat forever.  The fire can be almost out, but if you stir up those embers, you get a little flame and you have a new beginning, sparks and all.”

Beautiful. Fire and flames are new and exciting, but eventually they flicker and grow dim. And that’s ok. Because the heat and the embers are around forever.

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Making The Effort

My husband and I watched a great movie on Saturday, called Date Night. I found it hilarious and touching, in the all the right spots.  The movie is based on a typical suburbia couple (the Fosters), with kids, jobs, house, etc. Same old same old, day in and day out. One night, they learn that a couple who seemed ‘great’ together are splitting up. As they tell the Fosters “we became great roommates”. This gets the Fosters thinking that they might also be headed in that direction. They decide to spice things up – they dress up for their regularly scheduled date night (which they never do), go to the city for dinner (which they never do), and things snowball from there. In case you haven’t seen the movie and are likely to do so, I’ll stop there.

But here’s what got me thinking. Making the effort is the most important part of a relationship. Because it does get easy. It’s easy to get up, put on the same clothes, go to the same job, and come home on the same roads. It does get comfortable. It’s comfortable to go to the same restaurants, have the same conversations, and do the same things. But that doesn’t mean it stops being special or unique.  Each relationship is special because it is between two people who have found each other and have pledged to share their lives together. It is unique – whenever two people with individual personalities blend, a unique type of camaraderie is formed. But when the special and unique get lost and forgotten, what you have is two pretty great roommates. Even good friends. That is not enough.

Here are a few suggestions to keep on keepin’ on:

  • Have a ‘real’ date night. My husband and I have a date night every Friday (barring life getting in the way, which happens, believe you me) but we often do the same thing. So once a month, we do something that we would NOT normally do. It doesn’t need to be expensive or exotic – have a picnic on your living room floor, but send each other sticky note invites. Or wear your fanciest clothes. Make it special.
  • Pick a random speaking point. When a couple is married, it’s normal to talk about your day, the kids, the need for groceries, or upcoming dental appointments. Once or twice a week, pick a superbly random topic (google CNN if you have to) and have a discussion. A real fist-banging, tear-jerking, riotous laughing conversation.
  • Watch out for the ‘roommate’. Be aware of being in a relationship; be aware of when the sparkle level gets a bit low. Find a way to jazz it back up. Keep your eye on the roommate vibe; if you don’t, and it sneaks up too far and too fast, it is harder to get rid of.

Next time you look over and think ‘hmmm…’  Recall all the things that give you butterflies in your stomach. Remember why he or she makes you smile even on the most terrible of days. Relive the reasons why, if you could, you’d pick this life and this partnership all over again.

Make the effort.

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The Curse of the Carpals

About two months ago, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists, and bilateral extensor tendonitis in both arms. Turns out, I am also having some alignment issues in my spine, neck, and shoulders (apparently, that is where I carry my stress). My daily activities came to a shuddering halt – I was no longer ‘permitted’ to carry heavy things, play slowpitch or tennis, or type too much (outside of work). And so my blogging screeched to a halt.

I seem to be slowly making improvements. My physiotherapist is amazing and my exercises, although seemingly mundane and silly (anyone who has ever had physio ‘homework’ can attest to this) seem to be working.  Although the typing still needs to be done ‘in moderation’ – I think I’m getting back on track.

Here’s hoping for most postings!

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