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Grief at 3am

Grief is weird. It takes on whatever shape it feels like and leaves you stupefied.  Wandering. Longing. This morning I was thinking of Lucky. He passed in August, just 11 years after bounding into my life. It actually started with not being able to sleep at 3am after being poked in the face by our new dog Griffey. I have no idea why he woke me up but like any good mom, I got up and went outside with him. He didn’t leave the porch but stood growling at something I couldn’t see, then turned and asked to go back inside. Weird dog. He is asleep again, on the carpet next to me.

I realized that every time he flinches, or sneezes, or looks around, I am instantly filled with miserable dread. Sad anticipation of what is surely in our future. And I try to remind myself that Lucky was at least 12 years old when the tumor ruptured and baby Griffey will be with us for a long, happy time. Live in the moment, Lacey. Dwell in the past. Don’t dwell.

Sorting it out while awake before the sun, and in the wake of a terrifying hurricane, it is becoming clear to me that I haven’t yet properly mourned for Lucky. Like it isn’t real. I still feel him with me, all the time. I can hear him quietly panting in his sleep as he dreams of chasing squirrels. At any moment he is going to walk through the door, tags clicking, tail gently wagging, and curl up in his bed next to me. Snuffing quietly in my ear to make sure I’m OK.

At the hospital when Lucky died I could hardly breathe. After he was gone I went numb. For days. I don’t remember crying once we got home. I must have, but mostly I remember feeling nothing. A giant void. Interminable blackness. I canceled plans. I ignored phone calls. I remember being thankful that I didn’t have a job to go to where I would have to go about my business like I was OK .

When King died, it was sudden and horrible and I had to go to work. I didn’t even tell anyone because I didn’t want to deal with pity and well wishes. Why did I do that? Who knows. Wallowing in the darkness by myself seemed the right choice. I wasn’t thankful for the diversion but I was. With Lucky I just stayed in a constant numbness until that dissipated. I wonder what I was supposed to feel next.

And then this morning, in the solitude of 3am, it tears me open. My stomach in knots, writhing in unimaginable pain. I cry. Griffey lifts his head, offering his support but he is a baby and can’t know how I feel. I cry until my muscles lock up and I am frozen in a shameful grimace. How had I not yet cried for my Lucky. My child. My kindred spirit. He knew everything about me and still was so brave, for me, when faced with death.
It feels like a lifetime of sorrow hitting me at once. I realize it is; it is Lucky’s lifetime, a lifetime of love, commitment, happiness, sadness. A lifetime of memories. Of conversation and understanding.

-There is strong shadow where there is much light- 

Griffey, Lucky, King
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2 responses to “Grief at 3am

  1. Lacey, I tried to read this without crying, and I almost made it to the end, but I just couldn’t help myself. Have you seen the picture of our Joe on my home page? Your Lucky looks very much like our Joe, and it was absolutely brutal when we lost him. My chest tightened and I felt like I couldn’t breathe when I read your painful words tonight. I know just how you feel, and I still miss him desperately. He was not a dog, he was our child – with a huge personality and so loving of life. He died because of a misdiagnosis from a vet, but he was 13 years old, and we had to forgive. Joe had a wonderfully spoiled life, and we try not to have any regrets. It was good for you to cry and grieve. I sometimes still break down and cry, but the good memories are overtaking the pain. We still have one beagle, and I tell my husband that after Pete is gone, I won’t have any more. I can’t go through the pain again. But I love dogs so much, and if we don’t care for them – like you are Griffey – who will take care of them and love them as we do. I don’t mean to make this about me, I just really want you to know that I understand, and I care, and you are wise to put it out there and grieve for your boy – both of your boys.

    • Thank you for your kind words Maddie. I truly appreciate it. I have seen Joe. They could have been twins! Such a cute pup! I sure was possessed the other night but it had to happen. I’m still sad am happy I was able to give him the life all doggies deserve. Plus I have both him and King in their urns on the shelf next to the desk in the office. I like to think they are watching over me. 🙂

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