It’s been two years, two months and 12 days, and I still can’t get over you. Every inch of my life was colored with your presence and energy, and even though I’ve tried so hard to move on, I really haven’t. I tried to fill the void with life — two puppies, cuz it was a really BIG void — and that just made me miss you more. I see your picture every time I log into my computer, and its as large as life. I think about you every day. I miss your Woo-ness every day. And it takes next to nothing and the tears still fall. I never believed in the whole “one true love” thing –the “one” you never get over. Who knew that my soul mate would be a dog.
How can it be that an entire year has passed since I said good-bye to my Rio and kissed her lifeless body farewell? I don’t understand that the world didn’t just quit spinning the second my heart shattered into pieces. And while I miss my girl with a pain beyond belief, life has managed to keep marching on. The sun keeps rising and setting, and the days keep coming and going. And I think, one of these days, I will start to feel alive again. One of these days, I won’t feel the sting of tears when I speak her name. One of these days, I won’t feel the familiar ache in my throat when I try to speak about a memory of her. One of these days, I won’t look for her when I come home. And one of these days, I’ll be able to reconcile the guilt of feeling like I didn’t do enough or perhaps I did too much. One of these days, I’ll put the pieces of my floundering life back together and stop trying to fill the hole in my heart she left behind.
One of these days…. Just not today. Today, I have given myself permission to wallow a bit. To fully feel the sadness and grief, and just miss her… Tomorrow, I can resume the effort, but today… Today I just gotta get through it…
Rest in peace, my heart, my Woo, my Rio-girl.
4/2000 – 1/20/2012
We don’t know which day it was, but sometime, some sweet day in this little window of time twelve years ago, my Rio was born. She was a small miracle, although the family into which she was born didn’t see her in that light. And I had no idea, on that day, just how much my life would change in just 7 or 8 short weeks.
And although she’s not here to celebrate her birthday, the resilience and stoicism that she faced her cancer with have remained. She taught me about strength, about continually moving forward, about taking the cards that I’m dealt and making the most of them. She taught me about unconditional devotion, love and loyalty, and how even when dealing with a sh!tty situation like cancer, there can be good that comes from it. And the good stuff remains, long after the storm is over.
So, wherever you are today, take a moment and remember Rio. I know I will, but then I do that every day….
Fall is here. This morning when I woke up, there was that early morning fog that we often get in the fall here in the Puget Sound. I think we got down into the 40’s last night, and my feet haven’t been warm all day. Another telltale sign: Tosca is blowing her coat again. I’m not sure why, but she’s got an odd schedule for losing all that hair. It seems like when the temperature drops, she starts dumping the coat in mammoth-sized clumps.
It’s a sad thing to see the end of summer…. but I do have a few reasons to look forward to the cooler seasons:
- No more guilt about how bad my yard looks.
- When I stay inside all day making “shinies,” I don’t have to feel like I’m missing the sunshine.
- Halloween — my absolute favorite holiday.
- Fires in the fireplace.
- Hot toddies.
- Snuggling on the couch with my girls.
- ‘Tis the season for pumpkin pie!
- No more shorts for a whole 6 months.
- Bogs! My favorite shoes are now back in play.
- Snow???? Here’s hoping.
And to cap it all off (with whipped cream), Rio is doing fabulous! She’s energetic and silly and playful. She’s unstoppable! She is engaging the Monkeytroops with ear nips, head butts and her signature “wwooo wwooo wwooo!” I haven’t seen her feel this good in I don’t know how long.
I read back through some of my posts today, and was remembering how difficult the first few months were — her amp, her recovery, her Cushings, her UTIs. She (and me, too) was definitely riding the roller coaster. All that worrying was so exhausting. But I also got to see just how much progress we’ve made, too, and that was the cool part of this blogging exercise. Not just the progress as far as her health is concerned, but also the progress I’VE made in how I look at things. For example, the list above! Normally, the first sign of fall makes me seriously depressed. The shorter days, the days without any noticeable daylight, the endless drizzle. And let’s not even get into my aversion to the “holiday season.” And yet, I’ve managed to find something worthy of looking forward to, instead of just putting on my bah-humbug pants and hiding.
So it must be true, from adversity arises strength. Or as Washington Irving wrote in The Sketch Book,
“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”
Yes, this year has had plenty of dark hours. And not just due to Rio’s health. I’ve got a long list of what’s been wrong with this year, but I’ve also learned that perspective is a good thing. If I just look at all the stuff that has blind-sided us this year, I forget to look down and notice that my wiggly-butt little Woo-friend is smiling up at me asking me to play. And I don’t want to miss a single second of that!!!
We took our first real road test with the girls this evening. Rio was in her “Ride” and although mom threatened to harness the Monkey twins and use them to pull Cinderella’s coach, she didn’t. It was just a walk. The Woo did really well, wasn’t too nervous, (specially cuz momma gives her yummy treats every time we get into the Ride). She popped her head through the sunroof a few times, and we got lots of (what I’m sure were) admiring glances from cars going by.
We got home from our little jaunt, and at the top of the driveway, I let Rio out to walk the remainder of the distance to the house. Zephyr took that opportunity to hijack Rio’s Ride. She jumped in and immediately curled up. She happily rode down the driveway in luxury. Trouble is, she’s a Monkeydog, and as such, is just a little clueless. Dippy Zippy’s tail was hanging out the back of the Ride the whole way down the driveway, and she was thump, thump, thumping her tail in the gravel the whole time we were rolling down the driveway. She’s a special girl!!!! I wish I had video….
I had to post this photo taken yesterday afternoon. I was trying to get a picture of Rio, and she heard a noise, so all I got was this of Woo on the move! I love it!
Today we went for our first dose of Vinblastine. Rio had some episodes of nausea last time we had Vinblastine (2 years ago), and the doctor gave us some Cerenia in case it happens again this time. So now we don’t have to go back to the oncologist for another month (fingers crossed). We go for a CBC next week, then the next chemo is oral, so we’ll just do it here at home.
She’s now sacked out on the couch, exhausted after the long morning at the doctor’s. But while we were there, we met lots of really tough dogs and the people who love them. We met a dachshund who was recovering from a broken back, three dogs with repaired knees/legs, an elkhound with transitional cell cancer, and Jetson, another tripawd just like Rio. He is somewhat of a celebrity to the local tripawd community (or at least to us!). He was a K-9 cop prior to his diagnosis with osteosarcoma. You can learn about his story here: http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/113246294.html. Rio thought he was very handsome, yet managed to not appear starstruck, even though he’s way more striking in “person” than he was on TV! Because of all of the publicity surrounding his retirement, he got enough donations to cover all of his medical expenses for the rest of his life!