Yesterday all I could cough up was the gratitude list and in doing it I did feel better. A teensy, weensy bit better.
Truth is, people continue to be so deeply kind and thoughtful and inquire as to how I’m doing. So I figured I’d lay that out.
I’m not doing well. Sure, I’m doing my best to say that I am, to allow myself to feel the grief and loss and pain while not allowing those feelings to lace their sinewy tentacles around my soul. If I do, they’ll grab on. They’ll sink a multitude of hooks — thick ones like you see used by big game fisherman to hoist up their catch; rusty and jagged ones that rip and tear my emotional flesh; and then there are the sneaky ones, slender and oh-so-sharp. These last blades are the ones I don’t feel going in. Their edges so finely honed and delicate that they’re inserted deep into my heart before I realize they’ve pierced my skin. Then I move, and I can feel them rip.
So how am I doing? Okay, I guess. I managed to get back to work today and even was relatively functional. A new dog was coming in for her interview and to spend a few hours with us for evaluation. It was important to me that I show up and by that I mean not just be present but really show up. And I did. It was the first new dog interview I’ve done without Truman. That hurt. What was magical to see was how my other three stepped up their game and slipped into slightly new roles. Bridger now leading things — becoming the first new dog that incoming canine kids get to meet at Hydrant Club. The ambassador, the greeter, the one who helps the nervous ones feel more comfortable. It’s an uneasy crown perched on his head at this point, but he will grow into it.
As for me, I was almost all the way home before I realized that I’d forgotten to drop off a few of my clients’ dogs. They were nestled in the back, quietly and gently watching me. Normally they’d have been a bit rowdy as we drove past their driveways, excited to be home to tell their humans about their day. Today, somehow, they dialed that down. They sat so quietly and so present, their energy so deeply healing.
To all of those who continue to reach out and ask how I’m doing … please don’t stop. Know that your asking alone is a healing balm to me. The care and kindness means more than you can possibly know. And please keep telling the stories — all the stories of how Truman touched your lives … I’ve said it before. This being may have been a dog, but he was far from just a dog.
Now about that trip to Philadelphia.
In the midst of my early grief for Truman, another loss. My Uncle Irv, my mom’s older brother. He was a steady presence in my life. When I sift through the index of images and experiences in my life, Uncle Irv was pretty much always there. He’d not been in top health for a bit. He also was 92. You know what? While that matters to some degree — he had a long, full, wonderful and charmed life — to those who lost him, loss is still loss.
For me, going back to Philadelphia was odd. I’m from there, but on graduating high school I left and never really went back. After a few years my parents had sold our house on Meadow Lane — spending their time between our home at the Jersey Shore and places around Southern Florida where my sister and brother had moved. In the years since then I’ve been back to Philadelphia less than a handful of times … always for funerals.
On this trip, though, something odd. You see, Philadelphia never felt like home to me. I loved our house. I loved where I grew up along the Main Line, but I always felt somehow just out of place. Like I didn’t really fully fit. From college I went immediately to California, which became home. As I wended my way from Center City to the hotel to meet my mom and sister before heading to the funeral I had this very strange sense. The sights around me were foreign. I didn’t really have clarity around where I was going. And yet, it felt deeply familiar. I don’t know what that is about, but it compels me to plan a trip back there. Something tells me there are somethings left for Philadelphia to teach me.
Today’s Gracious Gratitude. I am grateful for:
- Kindness that comes from unexpected places
- The way my dogs are adjusting and finding new structure in the family
- Being home
- Experiences that show the meaning of home is deeply complex and that my journey to understanding its meaning to me is about to take another turn
- Being faced with some troubling news and not panicking
- Post work dips in the pool
- Roasted red pepper stuffed with turkey, brown rice and yummy vegetables
- Inigo’s face when I hand him a big chunk of watermelon