Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anniversaries and Squeaky Wheels

Achievement Unlocked: One Year a Widow!

The end of last month was the one year anniversary of my husband's passing. While I was a little more insane than usual, it was not anywhere near as bad I figured it would be. That could be due to staying at my parents' house to lessen the stress, or the different stress of my dog going lame and needing emergency treatment on the same day as the anniversary. 

How can added stress help alleviate existing stress?
Easy: distraction.
I was too busy worrying about my pooch being unable to stand to dwell on the past.

That is not to say that there weren't some serious arguments, complete with cussing, at the deity of my choice (no answers, so it was a rather one-sided argument). It can be summed up in one profanity-free sentence, "Dear God, don't let me have two reasons to mourn on this date!"

Link, my 15 month old dog, did end up being alright--albeit very sore--from what I now know to be arthritic damage from past injuries. He is probably going to need surgery at some point, but for now he is just going to have to be on meds and restricted puppy activity.

In addition to that one night of insanity, I have had several short bouts of random craziness, especially at night when I start to analyze things that must, should, could, or might happen. Brains really should come with an off button! During the day there are lots of distractions to keep my brain from running circles like a mouse on a squeaky wheel, but at night...squeaksqueaksqueaksqueak!

So I write in my journal and dump as much of the worry and planning and random thoughts onto paper so my brain has less to think about. Less mouse food I guess! It has worked for over eight years, and I don't see myself giving it up with how well it keeps me sane. The scribbling keeps the mouse at bay, or at least keeps the squeaking to a minimum.

Link AKA the Snoring Blanket Hog
The soft contented doggie snores next to me reassure me that I am doing something good, even if it is just making an abandoned and unloved pup have as good of a life as he can possibly have. That is good enough for me. And that feeling helps me deal with pain from past loss, all the better.

Link is welcome in my Widowdom as long as he wants to be here, and heck, I think I have this whole caring-for-damaged-beings down to a science now. I am even finally learning to take care of my own slightly-damaged self! Damage just serves to build character--not that I need any more--and wisdom--which I can always use more of.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Yesterday was NCD Day--National Chocolate Discount Day (which conveniently follows Valentine's Day)--and I am proud to say that I did NOT partake of the festivities. Granted, that was because I ran out of energy to go to the store, but it still was a mile-marker of sorts for the passing of time.

A bouquet of mixed flowers on a sunny windowsill
Flowers? Bah! Gimme Chocolate!
I do have to say that Valentine's Day is not a real mental problem day for me. My late husband and I never really gave it much thought as we pretty much scheduled our holidays when both of our bodies were cooperating (which is harder than it sounds). BUT, we did always go shopping for goodies the day after.

Maybe that is why I avoided it yesterday, and I just kept busy to avoid thinking. Or maybe I was tired of watching my waistline increase over the last year and skipped the chance to get more candy. I like that second reason better.

In good news, I am starting to think that my dog really is a life-saver. My life. He keeps me going on days that I just want to curl up and ignore the world. He pushes me to get out into the world and just GO, even if it is just for a two-block walk in the neighborhood. Even on days when lousy health is combined with mental funk, he noses me into moving, makes me grin, and laugh out loud when those are the last things I want to do.

Leashed dog sitting contentedly on a large rock in the sun
My Alarm Clock
At the moment, he is reminding me that a healthy sleep schedule is good for me by looking up with big brown eyes and yawning big before pawing gently at my leg and going back to sleep next to me. Does he do it on purpose? Oh, probably not. But it sure is nice to have him nudging me along.

Do I suggest every grieving person run out and get themselves a brand new puppy? Heck no! I had given up for the time on getting a pet when I got adopted by my (at that time very malnourished) pup. If I had a full time job or children to juggle I probably would not have even kept him... probably. But I was lacking a daily grounding motive--what kids or a daily work routine provides for many people.
The morning of NCD Day I wanted to alternate snoozing in bed with slouching around in pajamas, but the dog's soft chirp escalated into a whine insisting that it was time to get up and go. So, instead of staying in bed or going for a quick trip down to the supermarket, I was out hobbling around a dog training class. I was out in a park socializing with strangers (read: avoiding doing other tasks that I didn't really want to do). I was listening to the squawk of sandhill cranes and Canadian geese. And I was giggling out loud at my dog trying (and occasionally managing) to catch flying objects with his paws. 

Canadian Geese and Sandhill Cranes
We are LOUD
There are days that I press the snooze button and kick the pooch out to romp on his own in the yard, but I a grateful that the fuzzy fifty-pound alarm clock decided to adopt me. And that he made my NCD Day much more pleasant than it would have been--pile of chocolate or no.