Dog business

I know, it’s been a long time since I sat down and wrote a blog. Not sure why I won’t take time for blogging, usually. I’ve got a kind of blockage with writing. In my head there is so much going on all the time, and in my mind I’m expressing lots of things, but when I sit down, it’s all gone, and my mind goes blank.

So many things happened in the past few months.

The most devastating experience was the death of my wonderful bitch Jo, only 7 years old, on the 28th of June 2013. She ran full speed into a closed glass door, wanting to help me chase a chicken off the flower pot (I had banged on the door, she understood ‘go’). I had forgotten that she would want to help me with this task. It was in our new house, and she probably was not familiar with it yet. First we kind of laughed, but it didn’t take long that she showed signs of concussion. She went downhill from there. After three weeks of ups and downs (mostly downs), the vet suggested we should put her down. Lacking pet insurance and a sufficient budget, we could not afford to pay for diagnostics or an operation. We decided to end her suffering, and she died from an injection, her little cute head in my hands, me talking to her calmingly, looking into her eyes, my husband’s hand on her back. Life left her body within seconds. I lost my best friend, my baby, my comfort and joy.

It is true that writing brings one in contact with one’s emotions. I realise I’m not over it. I miss this great little dog, that had such a huge personality, so much.

We still had Charlie, her son. That was in a way comforting, but also reminding us of Jo all the time. He had to get used to being alone now, when we were at work. I don’t think he was happy; he was not as happy as he used to be. I hated his expression when I left him every morning, as if he was asking: “Why are you leaving me alone?”

We hardly got a break. Only a week later Charlie was bitten by a Husky, while he was with his “Every-other-weekend”-family, and he was badly wounded in his left back leg.

The whole dog experience was devastating and draining. It was also not good for our finances. We struggled a lot and still do.

Charlie recovered within the next 4 weeks and is now fine again, fortunately.

But more happened with regard to dog business.

While we were on holiday, we received a text from Charlie’s “Every-other-weekend”-family, asking whether they could adopt him. Boom! Even though it didn’t come unexpected, it hit us more than we thought. Charlie would get the opportunity to become a therapeutic school dog with the mother of that family. He would gain a family with four children still living in the household who all adore him. We talked a lot, we slept over it. And in the end, after about two weeks, we felt we would enjoy the new freedom this would give us, knowing that our dog would have it even better at his new place. We agreed; and he is gone now.

And here I am, grieving again. This time self-inflicted. But at the same time I feel the joy of this new chapter in our lives, my husband’s and mine. Charlie left a hole. And I’m not quite filling it yet. But I get spells of happiness that I now can do whatever I want with my free time. When I get that feeling of guilt, I remind myself that our dog is young and adaptable. He loves that other family and he is loved to bits and to pieces. And he might bring a lot of joy and happiness into young people’s lives at school – if he passes his exams. We’ve done the right thing. I know it.

The other thing I/we had to deal with is the criticism from our grown-up children (five of them). Some accepted our decision quite easily, some took it quite hard. I became very aware that we took a decision that hurt our children, and that we will have to live with the feeling of having caused them grief, especially so quickly after Jo’s death. I am very proud to say that they all decided to let Charlie go and support us. We are blessed with wonderful children.

I leave it here for now. All of a sudden I could write and write and write.

For next time: I’d like to share what happened job-wise and how my talk at the YES group went.

Bless you all! xXx

Advertisements

Letting go

It is one month ago that my second daughter flew the nest. It is only now that I can write about my emotions around letting her go. The process started a good year before, when I had a strong sense of having to let her take her own decisions and not being the first person she would go to when she wanted to share something, happy or sad. I could feel how she was maturing into an adult. At that time I was attending a psychodrama group with the wonderful Philip Halmarack, so I took the opportunity and worked on letting go of my daughter. It was very painful, but also insightful and transforming. I realised how very important it was to set her free and that I actually wanted her to move on and live her own life. When it came to the day one month ago, it was still painful, although also joyful, because I am so happy for her, moving in with her boyfriend, whom I really love. She received my full blessing and she knows I’m always here if she needs me.

She has left a big hole in my life. I miss her presence, even though we hadn’t had much time together anymore. I miss her hugs, the chats with her, the fun we had at the dinner table, I miss her coming home from work and sharing her day.

What am I filling this hole with?

At first, I just felt sad and sorry for myself and therefore filled this hole with negative emotions. Then I felt trapped (left) with my husband and the dogs and was quite vile at times, feeling I had no sense of duty anymore. Having a great support network, I worked through those phases quite quickly, though. Slowly but surely I stopped ‘pestering’ my daughter with texts and chats. Instead, I now consciously focus my attention on the things I have to do or I always wanted to do, e.g. writing another post on this blog. I am filling that hole with new projects: Our new house, which we move in soon; new ideas for workshops and how to use our ‘Magic Room’ – a nice little workshop space – in the new home.

I want to find dog sharers, so my husband and I can go away at weekends to explore new things together.

One door closes, another 10 open.

On Mother’s Day I received such a lovely card from my second-born: She appreciated that I struggled to relax into the new situation and she said she would never let go of me and that I’d done a good job, being a mother. Quote: “Well – Look at me!” 🙂

I am very proud of her, being so independent and grown up at the young age of 18 and experiencing a great love that has huge potential. I have my share in her being able to be happy. That I am proud of, too (tapping my own shoulder).

She has been a shining light in my life, and somehow I know she always will be. It’s wonderful to have a close and loving relationship like that. I never had that myself, although I feel it has changed over the years. My relationship with my mother is now so much better than when I was young.

I want to mention my first-born daughter here, too. I had to let her go when she was only 5 years old. At the time, I wouldn’t feel the real pain, I simply couldn’t. I was only ready to feel it when I worked on it a year ago in another psychodrama session, which brought up the relation to letting go of my second-born. Before that I never felt complete; and I experienced a lot of sadness, but never allowed myself to feel the real trauma the early separation caused. It takes a good supportive network to carry one through such re-lived traumatic experience, and I am so grateful that it was there and I was ready. Having her back in my life is a great blessing.

I like the song line from Sting, which says: “If you love somebody, set them free!” That’s what love is all about. But, like everything in this life on Earth, it’s a process, it can’t be done just like that. It involves grieving. Without mourning, there is no letting go.

Right now, I’m going through the process of letting go of my old life. I feel like growing. Sometimes I feel the growing pains, but I know that it is only temporary, and that I will come out the other side like a butterfly; and I will spread my wings…

…and – finally – fly.

Bless you all!

A lost friend

I distanced myself from my closest friend half a year ago. The realisation of not having this relationship anymore comes in little, painful steps. Soon, I’m going to visit the town where she lives. Normally I would now make arrangements to see her and I would get all excited about it. She felt more like a sister to me. When I saw her the first time it was like a reunion. That was about eighteen years ago. I just fell in love with her – her looks, her energy, her aura, her innocence. I could talk with her like with no-one else. She knew everything about me, and I’m sure I knew more than anybody else. The only thing was, that it was always a bit one-sided in terms of putting effort in keeping and maintaining this relationship. The balance wasn’t right. Often I would call her many times before she would call me, or I would invite her so much more often than I was invited back, especially when her family was involved. I often felt abandoned, left out. When she was in love she would make herself very rare, and I would not be the first to know either. I’m sure she loved me in her own way, though, and had her reasons to act like she did.

The last few years I was more of a listener and supporter to her, as she was going through a never-ending crisis with her husband. I would call her minimum once a week to find out how she was and would listen to the same story again and again. Last summer I met her and told her that I felt our friendship was a bit one-sided and that I wished she would sometimes want to listen to me, too. She hadn’t realised I had been feeling like this and apologised, and we spoke about me for a change. She is a good listener, too, and it helped me to talk about my experience and short comings. I thought, our relationship was going to be more balanced from then on. I spent a lot of time with her during my stay.

One day I bumped into her husband, when I visited her at home, quite unexpectedly. I thought he should have gone to work by the time I arrived. I wanted to avoid him, knowing what I knew about him. But there he was, saying a friendly ‘hello, how are you’ to me, so I answered back friendly and asked him about his work, as nothing else seemed to come to my mind – Small Talk. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realised how sensitive this topic was for my friend. A minute into him talking about his job my friend interrupted him harshly and reminded him that he should know that his job arrangements (working away 4 days a week) were a big cause of the troubles they had, and that he should kindly not talk as if everything was alright. Before they could go into an argument, I said: “Stop, I’m sorry, but if you are going to have a domestic, I’d rather stay out of it.” He got up and left quite quickly after that. I didn’t think much of it, although I did see my friend was a bit stressed, especially with her two young children afterwards. We had quite a nice time together, and I stayed over and spent the morning with her, having breakfast, before I left.

A few weeks later I received an email from her, in which she accused me of having been insensitive when I had started talking about his job with her husband and not sticking up for her when she had a go at him. She felt betrayed. I could not believe what I read. Reading that felt like a stab in the back. That was too much for me, that tipped the boat over. I was furious, and as a result we had a rather nasty email exchange, which felt like poking in each others wounds. I wanted to hurt her.

Why did I do that. Why? I should have just apologised to her about my thoughtless conversation with her husband. Instead I stood my grounds and explained what happened for me in that situation and that I didn’t see myself doing anything wrong or selling her out. Does it matter, who is right? We were not able to leave it at that and move on. She kept her emails short – I was writing essays. At one point, I realised this was so going nowhere. I decided to distance myself from her. I felt not acknowledged and not seen as the person and true friend I thought I was.

But since, I have been grieving and missing her so much at times. It is a big loss and I don’t feel like having benefited from my telling her my ‘truth’. I think about her often, and there are times when I am very close to writing an email to her or calling her. I looked her up on Google and found she had opened her own practice as a complementary therapist. I thought: “Wow! Finally, she’s done it.” (she had been talking about wanting to do it for such a long time, I had actually lost faith). And I felt happy for her. I sent a message on Facebook about my discovery, hoping her daughter, who’s connected with me there and might see my post, would tell her about my wishing her well.

When I think about it now, I know that our friendship, as it was, belongs to the past and is an example of a rather neurotic one. I needed her more than she me, or maybe in a different way. Maybe one day our paths cross again. I think I would like that.

In the meantime, I feel I need to do some forgiveness work. But – to be honest – I am quite stuck with this issue and will most certainly need some help from a systemic constellator or a psychodrama facilitator, in order to clearly see what is going on underneath; but mostly in order to step into her shoes. But I won’t touch the topic for a while. It scares me like hell.

Farewell, my friend, my soul sister! I miss u. There is no replacement and never will be. I will try and keep the good memories alive, and maybe one day I will go to you with an open heart and try to re-connect. Or, maybe you will?