So for the most part, May passed in a bleary fog. I woke up every morning to the click-clack! of a phantom dog door, or I'd imagine the usual roll-over sighs from the cushioned bed on the floor next to me only to roll over myself and squint at it, empty. For a while I'd get up and stubbornly go through Jake's favorite morning routine, The Opening Of The Patio Doors-- something about a full bowl of food in conjunction with a wide open door used to hit The Captain in the sweet spot. I love food, should I eat? But I love outside, too, should I run? He'd do both at once, generally, mouthfuls of hastily snagged dry food garfed out on the floor between weird stunted darts onto the patio.
I'd open the doors and go outside to sit and cry, and Randy would come out and widen his eyes, pointing at a rogue chicken just moseying through the pasture, all the confidence in the world, and we'd both just shake our heads. Laugh it up, chicken.
At some point during the month, Randy started closing the doors after I opened them because we live in Phoenix and this is May I'm talking about. I'd open the doors and the air conditioner would start to whine and some coils would get hot to the touch and other parts would freeze; Randy would close the doors, the air conditioner would stop panting, the alarm bells would silence, red hot coils would dim to burnt orange like usual.
I stopped going to the gym four times a week and starting going none. I stopped eating vegetables and chicken and lived off endless oily napkins of microwaved cheddar cheese Triscuits. On the days I didn't wear my big purple robe all day (Robey), I wore my standard uniform: one of four thick cotton skorts I bought at Sam's Club in 2010 and a pilled-out vintage Old Navy tee from roughly the same time period. I'd pull my hair into a Utility Bun, which is as ugly as it sounds. It involves wrangling all the hair into a giant ball (or "blob" if you're Randy) and securing it to the very top of my head-- the very top, mind-- so it wouldn't pull to the back and give me a headache. The very top. Right on top. When I washed it-- and you can count that shit on one hand because I don't know exactly what they're putting in dry shampoo these days but I'm using it to dehydrate apricots-- it went straight back up, only the bun (blob) sagged wetly to the side for a while.
I started recording and watching Dateline reruns exclusively. Did you know Dateline is on probably six channels? Did you know you can watch it probably twenty times a day if you have enough space on your DVR and enough emptiness in your heart? I've watched so much Dateline I'm convinced every marriage ends in murder. I've watched so much Dateline I've practiced getting myself out of the trunk of my car. I've watched so much Dateline I'm using Dateline as a verb: as in, "That guy in the Safeway parking lot better not try to Dateline me," or "Driving into that abandoned warehouse district is probably a great way to get Datelined, take the freeway instead." I somehow feel safer yet scared beyond comprehension at the same time.I missed Jake every second. I was so used to being around him every second, see, that every second I wasn't around him there was a void. Randy missed him terribly, too, of course, but Randy mostly missed him in the mornings and the evenings, the times he'd typically been home with him. Randy didn't have the all-day interaction like I did, the constant running verbal and physical commentary. If I wasn't actually stepping over Jake, or if I wasn't brushing my fingertips over the top of his body walking down the hall, I was poignantly missing him.
And that was all the time.
Randy and I have a new gorgeous, healthy granddaughter; she was born on May 10th and we were both lucky enough to have been at the hospital when she came into the world. The joy and adrenaline from her birth and presence was an enormous buoy. And I had some amazing friends come out for Comicon-- friends who have been through this same scenario several times over-- and so that was also huge.
But it just fucking sucks. I had gotten to where I wasn't missing him to the point of tears every day when we decided to go up to the cabin. And lo and behold, Jake wasn't up there, either. His water bowl was, though, and his sheepskin doggie bed, his Big Pillow. The cow hide rug he used to "hide" in. ("Has anyone seen Jake?" Jake looks up from his camouflaged spot on the cow hide rug. Never got old, that joke.) It was like starting over.
So yeah. It's been one month today and distractions aside I have to say it's not much easier. Randy and I are talking vaguely about getting another dog; we're dog people and we'd like the companionship, but at the same time we don't want to make a move too soon out of grief and end up resenting some poor sweet dog simply because it's not the dog we're grieving. We'll probably do something sooner rather than later, though; at the cabin I spent about fifteen minutes trying to convince a squirrel to let me hug it. A friend of a friend just had a litter of Aussie pups and has offered us one, and we're stalking the rescue sites, too. We're thinking one of each, it's just a matter of timing.
I opened an Etsy shop for all the quilts and throws I had leftover from Comicon and I'm enjoying working on other quilt projects. And I went back to the gym this week, too, so that's progress. I also threw out the goddamned Triscuits. I have to keep the skorts because I don't have any other shorts (skirts?). But my hair is down.
It isn't down. I lied about that. Baby steps. I have stopped watching Dateline, meaning I can once again accept a drink from my husband without sniffing it suspiciously, and that's refreshing.
Thank you for all the sweet comments and emails. I'm a month-late getting back to some of you and I apologize for that, but in fairness I spent a lot of that time locked in the trunk of my own car.