a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Grief and Joy

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Grief and Joy

SUMMARY: Things change over time. But not quickly.

Two things happened Sunday that made me realize that the jagged wounds of losing Tika and Boost are scarring over:
  • I took Chip and Zorro up Coyote Peak to my special Photo Spot where the Merle Girls and I had gone so many times, and although of course I thought about Boost and Tika, it was more of a reminiscence, not a tearing-out-my-guts experience. That had been one big reason why I hadn't even tried before: Couldn't bear the thought of going up without the girls and remembering all those good times.   But this time, I was completely present with these dogs, paying attention to them, enjoying them, incorporating their presence on this special peak into my life story.
  • I again came across Team Small Dog's cartoon post about scaredy-cat young Border Collies from a while back, and it reminded me so much of Boost all over again, and it made me laugh all over again--and the laughter didn't end in sobs; it was all delight.
So, two and a half years is apparently how long it takes to where  I'm managing to have their memories in my life without immediately breaking down.  You know, it gets to where one thinks that will never happen.  Not to say that I don't miss them so much so often. But it's bearable now, most of the time.

Unlike this:

This evening, I had a little extra time and was in the neighborhood of my parents' former home. Thought I'd do a quick drive-by.  Oh, it hurt. From a mile away, the closer I got, the more it hurt and hurt. Grief is physical.  Both parents gone so recently, and the house where they lived for 49 years, and all those birthdays and Christmases and dinners and celebrations and all the books and the bookcases full of photo memories and all the family memorabilia and heirlooms and the things that my parents loved everywhere in the house.  All the things that made the house My Parents' Home.  It could never be reproduced anywhere again. And neither could Mom or Dad be.  It hurt so much.

So, 9 months since Mom died; 6 months since we sold the house; those are nowhere near long enough to distance the grief.

It'll be a long time before I try that again.


  1. I'm sorry I missed this when you posted it. Maybe it would have helped to know someone was out there understanding, to some extent, the mixture of feelings here. You are right. It takes time for the physical pain (and you're also right about it being physical) to subside slightly. Good news is that it will.

    1. And I don't know how I missed your comment back then! I came looking for photos of my dog-play session with friend Sarah taking photos of us in August 2017 (related to my t-shirt post from yesterday), and Lo! I hadn't posted anything that month. So I took a look at September, and here this was. I appreciate your words. You've talked often enough about your own pain that that feels real to me, too, and so I know whence you speak. Here we are three years later. Some days it's still all too much, but that is rarer and rarer. I know that it will never go away, based on how I can still cry for Amber or Remington all these years later. But very seldom any more.