Heartbreak.

I miss Jake. That is my entire existence right now.

All of me, misses all of him.

I’m surprised to even be here on the blog.  When I learned of Jake’s cancer, the future of the blog loomed in the back of my mind. I thought that when I lost him, so many things would go silent, including this space. This is a blog about my little family. My little dog family. And that little family…is gone now.

It has only been two days. To say it’s been two days seems crazy because it feels like forty lifetimes since we parted. I’m not sure why he feels so far away from me, I’m sure it has something to do with my protective barrier. Losing Jake is familiar in some ways, Melvin has not been gone that long and I know how grief goes. I know that sadness will try to hold me down and that I have to move through it. But like any loss, losing Jake is also completely different. Jake is my baby. Jake and I got each other through the last year. I know, I will work through this. This part, I know is torture and heartbreak that will one day find its way into joy and love and memory. This part I know is the heavy debt of true love.  I know that wonky little monkey will light the way with his magical googly eyes for me. I will learn to persevere the same way he did, making every difficult step count.

I keep telling myself, it’s only been two days.

If it was just losing Jake, that would be enough, losing him is unbearable. While that part is ‘the given’ part of loss and grief, there is this new and complicated part of losing him that began to suffocate me an hour or two after Jake died and that has continued to spiral ever since.

I am overwhelmed to not be caring for Jake.

Not the normal things we all miss about caring for our pets, like meal time, or potty breaks or walks or training or treats or them just being there and needing us. I am overwhelmed by the things that fill up the day when you are taking care of someone with special needs. Like getting up several times a night to check to make sure Jake has not fallen out of his bed and to make sure he is not sleeping on or near poop. To carry him down and out in the morning, to clean his diaper area in case bugs got on him while he was outside. To change his diaper 25 times a day. To clean up all the accidents. To apply ointment after ointment after ointment to his infection. To care for his eyes, his MRSP, his mobility, his movement from room-to-room, to cook for him, to answer the ten alarms I had set throughout the day for all his treatments. To get him to the front door for neighborhood watch, to his stroller for walks, to his sunspots in the afternoon and to the couch for evening lounging. To carry him upstairs and help him get into his bed each night, tucking his legs in exactly the way he liked them. I do my laundry once a week.  I do Jake’s laundry daily. I don’t leave the house for more than 3-4 hours without making a plan to have Jake’s diaper changed or to go home and change it myself. Jake is gone and I have gone from providing 24/7 care to providing nothing. Every minute that goes by and he does not need me to help him anymore, breaks me. I get up at night and he’s not there. I stand up at 1pm and 2pm and 3pm to change his diaper. I had alarms set for the entire day so I would stay on track with his treatments and although I have silenced the alarms, I am unable to silence the ache that occurs each time I realize, he does not need my nurturing anymore. Additionally, with or without the alarms, my body still gets up to stay on track with our schedule.

I have no idea how to transition from caretaker to just me. Not on top of dealing with the loss of Jake. As Jake’s mother, there is nothing more I want for him than to be running and jumping and leaping in heaven. To be able see all the loveliness and all the joy with both eyes. To be struggle free, infection free and most importantly, enveloped in Melvin’s embrace and love. Soul mates, reunited eternally. Being together, is where they belong. But there is still a part of me, a raw part of me, that also wants Jake here.

In addition to the loss, and the disruption to the beautiful cadence of my day with Jake, I am also now a mom, with no dogs. The boys are both gone. If I thought coming home to Melvin not greeting me at the door was hard, coming home to no Melvin and no Jake and no need for a noise machine and radio is a most deafening silence. This one, this one is just going to have to suck until I get used to it. It’s more just a reality that will have to sink in.

When Max died, I got up because Melvin needed me and he kept me going. When Melvin died, I got up for Jake. Jake needed me and we moved forward together. In this now dog-less house, I get up because I know  they would want me to. I try to remember who we are, even if we, is just me now. And there are parts of me that know I’m capable even though I feel incredibly weak.

It’s only the start of day three. I’m trying to be kind to myself.

I will find my way. The boys will guide me and love will continue to live on.

Thank you for your messages, your comments, your thoughts, your prayers and your general awesomeness. Thank you, for you. I do plan on sharing with you what happened with Jake, probably next week. Until then, here is a photo of my little angel from our recent photo shoot.

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32 thoughts on “Heartbreak.

  1. My heart breaks for you..your words cut me to the core. I am so sorry. 😦 You were such a unbelievable mama, and did so.much for Jake that you’re right, you have constant, constant reminders that he is gone. When we lost all of our girls and had no furry souls, I could not bear it. The silence was deafening. I fostered to adopt a week later because I couldn’t take it anymore. Everyone is different and grieves in their own way, and at their own pace.
    Even though I have not met them, I have loved your boys, as I know others do. You’re not alone. ❤

    • Thank you so much, Lisa. This means so much to me. There are three things I love about this…one, that you reached out. Two, that I can feel your empathy through your sharing of your beautiful love for your girls, and lastly, that you loved my boys too.

  2. My heart aches for your loss. When you are ready, you should foster! You can have a dog around, but without having the commitment of adding to the family, but making yourself “feel” useful! ❤

    • Thank you for reaching out. Yes, I def have that on the radar. I’m sure my heart will signal my mind when the time is right. Until then, you following along means so much.

  3. That loss of constancy of care is mind blowing and , as you know, will be a relief some day. My sweet Bailes was full care at the end. Picture my fat ass, 6 months prego, carrying him everywhere , including up and down stairs. That 50 pounds felt like 1000, but I did it for a long time. When he was gone, I remember not knowing what to do with all that time. It should be an immediate relief but it’s just a void.
    Getting this out is so good Trace. I’m glad you can!! I love you. I’m here.

  4. Although I know ‘sorry’ doesn’t make anything better, I am so sorry for your suffering. The idea of Melvin and Jake being pain-free is hopefully a slight glimmer of comfort as you are in the depths of grieving. It is an unbelievable loss to lose an animal. I am thinking about you and sending healing wishes your way.

  5. You know, when Sam died we wondered what to do with our blog. We had other pups, but the blog was always about Sam. We decided we didn’t want to lose touch with the great friends we met through it, and carried on. It’s evolved to be their blog. We are thinking of you.

    Monty, Harlow and Ramble, the pups at “How Sam Sees It”

    • Thank you for sharing this. There are so many things swirling right now but I know they will all start to settle and I’ll find my way. I appreciate you reaching out.

  6. I’ve been thinking about you the past few days, wondering how you were dealing with the absence of what filled your daily and nightly routine. I’ve wondered if you’ve slept a night through if you’ve lied in bed waiting …
    I’m thinking of you and hoping your beautiful soul mends.

    • I have slept some. Unlike with Melvin, where I couldn’t sleep but I felt him during the day. I sleep some at night this week but the awake hours are agony because Jake was my whole day. Grief is the same, even when it’s different. It’s what you have to go through. Thank you for always thinking of us.

  7. I just love that photo–love how he’s looking up. That’s where he is now…”up.” I feel you on all of schedule and the getting up–it sounds like you were caring for a baby. Truly. I have no doubt you will find your way and hopefully one day a wonderful new boy or girl will come into your life to share your joy. My heart still crumbles when I think of Marshall. Luke still clings to his stuffed animal that looks like him. As I’m packing up things to sell this house, I keep coming across more and more of his hairs that have been tucked in corners or under furniture. His container of dog food still sit full in the garage because neither of us wants to go through the emotional agony of pouring it into the trash can. The loss is just hurtful, to use your words. But I know we should count our blessings that these wonderful creature join our families for the most magnificent of reasons, even though their time with them is never long enough. Hang in there lady–we’re all thinking of you.

    • Thank you so much, Mishelle. I know how those left behind pieces can be so heavy. I still have Melvin’s allergy meds in the fridge. I think it brings me comfort to be crazy to keep it.

  8. While I am caring for 2 dogs in addition to my own 2. I have to keep separated and rotate every 3 hours. My sister in law called me that she could not care for her dogs anymore so I drove to Missouri from Western , NY to get them as her landlord wanted to just call the pound and have them killed. Samantha is a beauty of a Black German Shepard and only 3 years old. Her start in life was not very pleasant more like torture as she was whip with a fishing rod to start out her life. Her second owner beat her terribly . Punched her kicked her, and just was so horrible to her. My sister in law tried to help her but she had no control and not educated enough to make Sam better. She gave her a place to live fed her and loved her. Sam needed more. At first when she came here I had my hands full, but she is learning to trust again. She hates men. My son worked with her and she is his new best friend.She is very sweet and listens very well.She walks well on her leash. She is so big I was afraid to walk her at first.Athena is a sweet Pit Bull she is 5 years old . She had some small issues but she learns fast.She does have a little stubborn streak.She is also a escape artist but she found out I know how to deal with escape artists and she has gotten much better on not trying to escape.When I got back from Missouri I got a call in the middle of the night that my ex whom I was still close with and was his Health Care Proxy that he was in hosiptal and needed to be transferred. It ended up me having to have him taking off life support and he passed away. Two days after his funeral I get a call that Fran my sister in law passed away. Though all this I am taking care of 4 dogs a cat, and a African Grey Bird. I wouldn’t have it any other way. When one of my furbabies pass I always after a time adopt or give a furbaby in need a place to call home in Honor of the one that passed.

  9. Love the photo of Jake, he does look like a little angel. ❤ So sorry you're going through this, I know a little bit how it feels.

    Maggie will have been gone for 3 months on Monday; just writing that is making me cry. We still had Duke, the 4 cats & Doug the lizard, but she left a really big empty space. Duke has always been our easy care dog, while Maggie had allergies, itchy feet and was a picky eater who had a hard time maintaining a good weight, plus she caught practically every weird virus a dog could get. We got pretty good at giving pills, since there was nothing that we could hide them in that she would eat. Nothing like the level of care you gave Jake & Melvin, but it still left a space.

    • I’m so sorry. Maggie was so lucky to be loved by you guys. And yes, i can sense you get it. There are all different types of love and some are just more ‘hands on’ than others. This Monday, as I look at one week, I’ll be thinking of you and Maggie. Thank you for reaching out.

  10. Bless your heart! My heart hurts for you. Sending thoughts, prayers and hugs to you as you begin the next phase of your journey.

    I think Jake was looking up because he knew Melvin was getting ready for him. He was letting him know that he’d be there waiting on him.

  11. I am so sorry my dear. We are thinking about you, please take care of yourself, allow yourself to heal. Maybe take a vacation and getaway from everything for a while – visit family/friends people who can surround you in the love we wish we could share with you in person.

    Wags & Kisses from the Dz Dogs.

  12. My heart breaks with you Tracey! You will get through this and his memory will live forever because of you! I miss you to sweet Jake!

  13. I had not expressed my sadness on Jake’s loss. I am so so sorry. The pain from loosing such beloved friends/babies like your boys and my Bulldogs is unbearable. Even though we have Izze Pop and Frejya in our lives, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my Bulldogs.

    I have enjoyed so much reading about Melvin and Jake, and I’ll enjoy reading about the new joy in your life that is Doug. He truly was sent to you from the boys, like our Izze Pop was sent to us from Alli (Izze Pop’s name was Alli!)

    Not sure if you have heard this song, “Better Place” by Rachel Platnum. It fits my new your girls perfectly and I can’t help to think it fits Doug as well.

    Much love going your way,
    ~Liliana

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