It's been 90 days today. 3 months. There have been changes, some I saw coming, some I did not. As I look over the past I am apprised at being caught so unaware.Oh Abby, I did not realize the paralyzing fear gripping me those two weeks prior to your death. Only after you had gone did I see I had been frozen and clenched in fear. The fear was all over knowing I was losing you, the tide I was trying to hold back but could only hold at bay for two short weeks.That last day, those last hours we had together were the most intense I have ever had with anyone, ever in my life. I have hazy recollections and I think that is the way my mind protected me against the ultimate heartbreak it knew was coming and the one I feared the most. One thing I clearly remember were the deep conversations we had, and knowing our hearts had spoken each of our truths to one other. I am so grateful, eternally so, to have had those glorious hours with you, to be able to say it all, and have you hear me, and to have you respond back with so much of the same intensity. I know you were trying to give me all I needed to see me through. I know that now Abby. As you were leaving from this plane to the next, I told you it was OK to go and how much I loved you. I do remember repeating that over and over again.Then, after you left, I was stunned. Numbness took over. Being stunned and being in shock was the thing that allowed me to get through that first night and those first days as my total disbelief was held back that you had gone.Forever.
So these are some of the realizations I learned.
You do the very best you can with what you are given.
To know that everything you need will come at the right moment for your heart (not when your mind tells you it needs it).
That the world as you once knew it is over. But, a new one is beginning, but you can't see it, yet.
During the absolute worst our minds protect us with the same numbing magic that pain medications do.
It is why things are so hazy and why we cannot understand or make clear decisions. My mind went numb. It was a good thing. One day many weeks later, I emerged from that haze and the disbelief. Reality began to seep in and acceptance followed. You were truly gone. Forever. There was so much sadness and the questions arose in me of whether I did or didn't do the right thing. That consumed me for sometime because for whatever the circumstance, I found fault with what I did or did not do. The Catch-22 is, I didn't do anything wrong, even though I wanted to find what was wrong and fix it. I couldn't. I had to surrender to the thought of acceptance of what was and when I did, it began to release it's vise grip on me.
There are tears. Still. Lots of tears. I let them flow. I have cried an ocean. The tears are cleansing. They release toxins that are tormenting my soul. I have felt the deepest pains I have ever felt.There were times I thought I was going crazy. This loss was that crucial and that critical to me.The love we shared was full and deep and meaningful. There may even be some disbelief that there is this much suffering over a cat but then I would say if someone doesn't understand the bond between us that's OK, I know what the bond was.This feeling is very real and powerful. My heart and soul had just been broken into a million jagged pieces by a completely unconditional loss of love. It's harder to understand how anyone could not be critically wounded and experiencing sorrow after feeling this much love.
I tried to find something to bring me comfort. Which is very difficult to do when the ground underneath your feet has rippled and cracked wide open. For me, it feels right to talk openly to Abby. I also found it therapeutic to create a memorial for her, a living one to be renewed each year. A spot in the garden to see beauty revive itself.Since I love photography, I also found a release in reediting her photos and compiling them into albums. It will be a long going process as I have so many of her to work on. But it makes me feel like I am still with her and it is preserving her memories.She still feels alive to me while I work on them. The most important thing I found for myself was writing about my feelings. In the early going it was the only way I could release the anguish and the deep sorrow, and as time passed, it was a way to explore how this grief monster was changing and morphing. It allowed me to be able to see visible progress away from the intense sadness. Yes, I still cry and probably always will, but now the tears are less and the sadness is not as strong as it once was.
Every one of us is so different. So going through this will be a unique process for everyone, this is just my experience. For myself I needed to write it all down, just as I blogged each event of Abby's last few weeks. I needed to record it so that I remembered. I still haven't sat down and reread all the posts between July 28th and August 12th, one day I will, but it is till too soon.Too fresh.
So many of the things that happened in early August have blurred in my mind, because there was too much happening and it was all so critical. The human mind can only handle so much and then it shuts down and protects itself. Harsh memories get suppressed because you don't want to remember them. But, there are things that are etched crystal clear like it just happened, but most are not.The best thing I have as my collective memory is this blog because it gives me a record of those events. Not just for myself, but for Abby too.
There was a part of me that knew what was going to happen,but I could not allow myself to think it, and I suspect that is where the fear came from.The deep dark place I didn't want to go to, was afraid to go to. But, when the worst happens,and you reach the end, there is such quiet. Stillness.The world suddenly stops moving. The frenetic pace immediately comes to an abrupt halt and you're left with all the accoutrements of the critical care unit you were operating under and it weighs down on you. Hard.
After all the palliative care which is time consuming and emotion crushing, all that is left is stillness. There are no easy paths down this road and the main lesson I have learned is that it is never over. I am putting this together because 3 months from now I want to see how much further along Abby's journey I have traveled and how my heart is healing with her guidance.I also hope in some small way this may serve to help someone else. Each journey is unique to each individual but so much of the process I can see is the same. If there is any nugget of wisdom anyone can find I gladly share my journey in hopes of letting you know that what you feel is absolutely normal. I would offer one piece of advise and that is to embrace the grief and lean into it. Let it wash over you. By doing so, you will allow it to become a part of you and also give your heart a good starting place into the healing process.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”-Lena Horne