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Always Ok

Here it is December, and while I set a goal of writing one post per month in 2014 and even decided to try my hand at 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo in November, I can say with fervor that I failed those goals.  I can’t even find the time to write one article per month for our local monthly publication which has generously offered to publish anything and everything I decide to write, as long as it fits into their word count needs for the month.  In 2014, they only published one article of mine, because that’s all I managed to submit.

So much has happened.  I got married in June (whoa!!) and 6 days later, so did my ex.  They’ve since had a baby, a little girl who is now three weeks old and I got to hold her and smell her lovely baby smells at less than 24 hours old.  My mom mentioned later than when she heard how much time I spent holding this sweet little girl who is the half-sister of my daughters and yet, technically, nothing to me, she worried that maybe it hurt me, somewhere inside.

Maybe it should have?  Perhaps when I held her, I should have searched for similarities between my daughters and this little baby and felt bitter about my ex-husband having another child with his new wife while I’m left unable to bear more children.  But I didn’t feel that way.  In the moment, I felt so grateful that they welcomed me into their hospital room and allowed me to be a part of this monumental moment in their lives.  I felt so much love for that little life, the sister that my daughters will grow to love and cherish.  And then, weeks into having her home, I had to smile as I listened to my ex describe sleepless nights and be thankful that it’s him and not me.

Sometimes, I worry that my military upbringing has taught me too well that when we move on, we move on in every aspect – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Should I be happy holding my ex-husband’s baby without any angst?  Is that normal?

This past Monday, we had to put our Dobie boy down.  His name was Hank.  I’ve written so rarely that I don’t even know if I’ve properly expressed how much he has meant to me, the last two years.  Over the past week, we’ve talked about how we shouldn’t be so upset, because he’s “just a dog”.  But he wasn’t just a dog.

How can I tell you how soft and velvety his ears were?  Dobies almost always have their ears cropped, but none of the 4 homes who adopted our Hank before us cropped his ears, and I was so thankful.  He had the biggest, dopiest smile.  He was such a love.  We had him in our tasting room every Saturday, and most Fridays, and even those who disliked big dogs,  or Dobies in particular, fell in love.

He loved to run the vineyards and his nose detected even the faintest hint of deterioration in the wines we had in barrel.

He was more than a dog.  He was the child we could not have together.

But over the past few months, his behavior had gotten to be questionable, at best.  We hired a dog behavior specialist (something you should consider being, if you want to make lots of money – seriously) and he said that with 50 years of experience, he had never encountered a dog like ours.  Not terribly promising, I must say.

He used to love playing with other dogs and then suddenly, he couldn’t.  He used to sleep through the night and then without warning, he wouldn’t.  Instead, he would just pace and poke us as we slept.  Finally, a friend mentioned that a dog he’d had in his youth had had a stroke and displayed similar symptoms, and so we made an appointment just days before our (delayed) honeymoon to get Hank’s brain scanned.

He had a tumor on his frontal lobe.  It was growing rapidly, which explained his discomfort and how unpredictable his behavior had become.

So, we put him down and I’m OK.

I’m Ok and I feel guilty for feeling Ok, because no one else in our family is Ok.  Hank was such a part of our daily lives.  He was the one who kept me from pressing “snooze” every morning; the one who chased down rogue balls on the golf course; the one who taught us to accept his adoration and love as though we deserved it.

I don’t know how to mourn properly.  I have lost so many in my lifetime.  I only know how to celebrate today, and those who occupy my mind even years after saying good-bye inspire me to reach out and make contact, but I’m always Ok.

I’m always Ok.  Is that Ok in the grand scheme of things?

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