I’ve Been Better


Despite my attempts to put on a happy face and move on, I’m still dwelling on the recent past.   I looked in the mirror just now and I know I look like homemade shit and I don’t really care.   Also I think I’ve gained about 10 pounds in the last week from days sitting at home not really eating meals, just loading up on junk food all day long.  And I’m not really sleeping.

When we brought Spikey into the vet, as I mentioned we were using a blanket as a makeshift stretcher.  We put him on the examination table on that blanket and he stayed on it for the last minutes of his life, as I held him and as the vet gave him the injection that put him to sleep.   (Euphemism, of course.)   Eventually I left the room, paid the final bills, and told everyone we should go.

My helper reminded me that we should get the blanket back.  I really wasn’t thinking about it and, odd as this may sound, it was a good blanket that I bought in Mexico years ago.   So I asked an orderly to help me out.

We went back into the room.  Spikey was lying on the blanket and it looked like he was just sleeping.  He looked no different than he’s looked a million times before.   I put my hands under his head and shoulders to lift him gently; the orderly was more matter of fact about it.   The blanket was pulled out from underneath him and he just kind of flopped back on the table.   His lifeless body went back down on the table, back first, his paws flopping in the air.  Simultaneously he looked as if he was still alive and moving and at the same time that was the moment that I realized he was really gone.

I shifted his body, putting him on his side, putting his legs on the table, putting him in what I suppose seemed like a more natural position to me.  I looked down at his body for another minute or so.  I’m not really sure why – perhaps I was waiting for him to move?   It is possible that I was in denial at this point – as the vet was administering the injection, as he was quietly stating progress (“Okay, his brain has stopped now.  His heart has stopped now.”) I had to keep myself from shouting out, “Wait!  Stop!  Don’t do this!  Can you roll it back somehow, can you reverse this?”

Last night I was out with some friends.  I couldn’t drink because I had the car but being with friends did serve to distract me; I was able to joke and not think about stuff.   But I went to bed around 11.  I tossed and turned.  All I could think about was that image of his body on the table after we removed the blanket, of that moment of realization that he was truly gone.  I got up.  I went downstairs and had a cigarette and tried to distract myself by playing some games on my iPad and then wrote those two brief blog posts.  I went back up to bed around 12:30 and again, tossing and turning, that image the only thing in my head.  I fell asleep around 2, woke up several times during the night, finally dragged myself out of bed at 7:45 and was in the office before 9:30.

Obviously this is not good.  Hopefully it will pass in a few days.  I’m in need of some distractions.  I need to snap the fuck out of it.  You may have noticed it’s not something I’m necessarily good at.


3 thoughts on “I’ve Been Better

  1. mb hanna

    May I say, in all gentleness, no one snaps out of grief. Give yourself a break here. I do understand the desire to go back to “normal” (even though that’s a new version of what was), but it really is going to take some time to feel that way again. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, friend. And, don’t torture yourself with that image. Try to find some other image of him to think of when he comes to mind. Grief is a bit of a taskmaster in the beginning. Peace, Spike.

  2. HKP

    How about some dark distraction? Peter Greenaway is always plumbing the depths of inconsolable loss, maybe “A Zed and Two Noughts”. Or some Nabokov. Take care.

  3. Jarrett

    Don’t rush it.

    Everyone experiences grief differently but the key thing to remember is that is does eventually change. You never really stop grieving it just becomes easier to deal with and you can recall the times you had together without that wrenching, disorienting grief.

    What you went through with Spikey brought memories of when we had to put down our Labrador Retriever Holly years ago – the whole family sitting in a vet’s clinic sobbing. Such wonderful, life-enhancing creatures.

    Link below to the dog Leao encamped by his misstress’ gave in Brazil:

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