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.