Melvin died three months ago. I still can’t type it without feeling some heaviness creep into my chest.
I’ve been going to therapy/grief counseling because I still have a hard time at night. I feel a lot of anxiety and I don’t sleep all that great anymore. We think a lot of that has to do with how terrified I was every night that he was here, after I learned of the cancer. In the same moment I was so grateful that we’d had one more day I was also so utterly terrified that he would die during the night or the next day. I was constantly haunted by our prognosis: he could die at anytime. Nighttime was when I’d fall apart. It was the worst fear and panic I’ve ever known. So it makes sense, I have to make some peace with the night hours now. The good news is, it’s getting better. For sure.
Everyone keeps saying, it’s ok to be mad. I know about the stages of grief, I’m not sure that everyone goes through each one. But I can’t (or maybe it’s that I won’t?) let myself be angry. Here’s why. In the seven years I had Melvin, he never displayed an ounce of anger. He got a lot of crappy health issues thrown at him yet that dog even wagged his nubbin one hour after having to have his tail amputated. For me, being angry that he’s gone or that cancer found us, feels untrue to who he was to me. He was my bright light and in grieving him, I am trying to honor that. I’m trying live by his example. Trust me, it’s not always easy. Cancer has taken too much, of that we are all certain. But for us, his cancer was brief and he suffered very little. I’m grateful for that.
The grief has softened, a lot. I keep it together when I talk about him now. I have been able to watch a few videos of him and remain upright (HUGE)! And when tears come, I’m thankful for the love that brought them. Jake is doing much better also. He did well being left alone with the dog sitter for a week. He’s doing great with his training. His separation anxiety has significantly improved. I can see his overall anxiety lessening, sometimes his new calm reminds me of Melvin. Jake’s Jedi master taught him well.
In losing Melvin I have realized that the best way to honor someone’s memory, is to take on some of the goodness they brought to the world. It’s how love lives on. If they brought kindness, keep kindness going. If they brought laughter, carry the funny forward. If they made you feel strong, lift someone else up. I promise you, it helps. For us, Melvin brought joy and peace. And I will give both back, every day I’m alive.
And since we are a forward moving bunch, in my next post I’ll share with you my thoughts on changing the name of the blog.