There are a few milestones coming up on the grief calendar, Melvin’s birthday, the day we found out about the cancer and the one year anniversary of losing him. Those dates are pretty close to each other in proximity. They are just sitting out there, waiting for me. I’m not sure if I should run towards them with a white flag, or like I’m crossing a finishing line, arms flailing in the air. Or maybe, karate kicking my way over them. Where is the guide on all of this?
I think the one year anniversary is a ‘you made it’. I mean, we usually make it, right? I think it’s a date where you can say, I have officially made it through most of the firsts without my loved one and that the hardest of the grief is behind us. It’s not really a yay or a wow, just a fact. It’s a different trepidation/anticipation than the other firsts (first day without, first week without, first Christmas without). Those are more ‘how will I get through’. The one year anniversary is more a day to reflect on ‘how I got through’. That day is still a little ways off, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it, or if I feel anything at all about it.
Facebook has been reminding me where we were last year. Melvin always went to the vet regularly but last year we were going for new things. Constipation, weight loss, hind leg weakness, him sleeping in a different position (true story, this is what I told the vet the reason for our visit was: “He has been sleeping in a different position”. When you know your dog, and I knew Melvin, a change like this means something). Oddly enough a year ago, his liver test values were holding, despite the fact that the cancer had started and large tumors were growing in his liver. His values didn’t tank until late February. That is how sneaky Hemangiosarcoma is. We didn’t know yet (a year ago) about the cancer, but in looking back at the posts there were some signs something was coming. I have no regrets about not knowing sooner, I am only human, I found out when I was supposed to find out.
But Facebook has been reminding me of something else. Last year at this time, I posted about Jake ‘stalking’ Melvin (more than usual). The reality was, Jake knew it was coming. He was so obsessed with Melvin’s smell that when his scent changed with the cancer, Jake became more tied to Melvin than ever. I wonder what that was like for Jake. To smell something new. To sense it wasn’t good. I bet he tried to burn a whole into my brain with his goggly eyes to tell me! As I re-read those posts, I’m thankful for Jake knowing. I imagine the months leading up to my finding out, there was a special bond between them. Each knowing that they had the other.
It’s easy to look back with 20/20 hindsight and say ‘I should have done this, I should have done that, I should have known’. But that is not going to get anyone anywhere good. Instead, I look back and say ‘THANK YOU FOR WHAT WE HAD’. I had two dog-kids that were there for each other, what more could a mother ask for?!
Here are two post from last year at this time when I joked (lovingly!) about Jake being Melvin’s stalker!
And my newest necklace which I LOVE!!!