I use the term dream lightly. It was a nightmare.
I came home and the house was empty and I was calling for Melvin and Jake. I searched the entire house and panic overtook me. I started making calls, running around the neighborhood. Screaming their names. It was one of the worst dream moments I’ve ever had.
People came but they wouldn’t help me look for them. Not in a mean way, they would just stand there and watch me and listen to me. But they wouldn’t help me look. I frantically begged them to help me but they just kept saying you won’t find them. I was crying so hard, my heart was pounding.
A man came over to me and said, go through that door, maybe you can find them in there. I tore the hinges off of that door opening it and I ran in desperate to see my boys.
I found myself in a giant maze inside a building that was the size of a city. There were hallways and staircases and ramps but no rooms. I started running and screaming Melvin and Jake’s names. At every dead-end, someone I knew was standing there and they would say, you won’t ever find them again.
I continued to run and scream their names and I hit a dead-end each time. The same words were repeated to me, that they would never be found. The dream went on for what felt like eternity. I was exhausted but I refused to give up. I would have stayed there forever, looking for them.
I woke up screaming and sweating. Unable to breathe. I sat on the edge of the bed and then walked around to shake it off. I eventually fell back asleep.
The next morning I laid in bed thinking about the dream. I thought about how horrible it was. How tormented and helpless I felt.
Then all of a sudden, I got it. That nightmare, is me.
That nightmare is all the feelings I carry with me. It’s who I am now that Melvin and Jake are both gone. It’s not the whole of me, but there is a part of me that feels a painful hole from having lost my little family. My perfect little family. That city sized maze with stairways and ramps and hallways that I was running through blindly, is my grief.
I took a deep breath and reminded myself that above all else, I’m grateful they were mine to love. That we found such a lovely balance is one of life’s greatest gifts of joy. The dream was not the story. The story is love.
Losing both boys required me to start over in a lot of ways. I am not the same person I was after I lost Melvin. I am most definitely not the same person since losing Jake. I wouldn’t say I’m better or worse, I’m just a more current version of me. I’m still figuring me, without them, out. That Doug wasn’t part of the Melvin and Jake era doesn’t make him any less perfect. That he wasn’t in the dream doesn’t mean that he doesn’t fit. It actually is more along the lines of me not fitting. Like life continues and I have to reinsert my new self back into it and that new self is not technically new. I have memories and I often want to go backwards to how it was as much as I want to go forward and see how it will be. I think the dream is a reminder that I still have to work to do. As I continue to build on life moving forward, a new family structure will grow that can’t be and shouldn’t be painted from a memory. It should, however, be influenced by the same love.
I have started looking for a new dog. I spend a lot of time thinking about who that dog should be (to me and to Doug). Who that new dog is can’t be fully determined until he or she is here, which is part of the problem about even trying to envision it or wanting to be one way or another. It will be how it will be. I do happen to have faith in my ability to pick awesome dogs. I’m excited to see how the next dynamic duo plays out.
To all of you reinserting yourself back into life. I get it. It’s a maze sometimes, but new chapters must be written if we want our story to continue.
As 2016 nears its end, it would be easy for me to say this was a terrible year and to want 2017 to arrive already. The truth is, I’m OK if this year lingers a little longer. This year is the last year I had Jakey here with me. So despite his cancer, his death, the grief and even the blood clots, I want to stay here as long as possible. I’m familiar with this wind down to the end of the year. I felt the same exact way last year about Melvin.
This year is also the year of Doug! And that makes it all kinds of beautiful too. I’m very excited about the adventures Doug and I will have next year and curious as to who might join us on our journey of love and exuberance.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah! Happy everything! We hope with all of our hearts that you find your joy!
xoxo – T&D
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year! You are an inspiration!
Thank you, Wendy! Merry, merry and happy, happy!!!
I have the same feelings, wanting to look back and move forward at the same time. Not being the same person anymore. 2016 has been incredibly painful and I’m also trying to figure out how I fit now in this new, to me, world.
I wish you and Doug a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year together.
We are in an official gang. Merry Christmas, sweet friend!
Tracey, I met you on a FB ad, you came and helped me with decisions on Home Interior, but you also made me a huge FAN of YOU. You are AWESOME! I read every blog, I talk to my kids about it….you move us on a regular basis. To read something that is so powerful that it can consume a dinner conversation, tears and JOY and laughter that is REAL……
You are so sweet! Thank you so, so much!
You are an amazing writer… you express yourself so well, put into words so eloquently those twisted emotions that we call grief, the process of life. Thank you for sharing these deeply personal posts with us. Even now… 2 days shy of 4.5 years (exactly… to the minute)…of my girl, Gracie, transitioning….. reading your posts help me understand, heal and work through my own grief.
Wishing you and Doug and all your readers my favorite blessing for this season…..
Merry Everything and Happy Always
Thank you so much, Keri. This means a lot to me. Your favorite blessing is perfect, right back atcha!
No you’re not the same person you were before, but that’s not a bad thing. You’re the you that has experienced such great love that it changed your life. The loss of that kind of love also changes you. But I believe that it creates the space for more great love. Whoever (or is it whomever? I never know) is the next very lucky dog 🐶 that comes to be loved by you has hit the mother lode. ❤. Merry Christmas and I hope you and Doug meet some wonderful pups.
I have experienced great love indeed! Thank you for following along! Merry, merry!
The people in your dream are wrong…we will find them, the ones we have loved!
So true! I don’t have to look all that far, I carry them in my heart for now.
Merry Christmas and Happy everything Tracey and Doug (who is, by the way, a beautiful boy). Thank you for this. I have been feeling much the same since we lost 2 of our pupsters this year. But, we do have our Shadow, who turned 14 last month, and our crazy Zari, who is only 2 and a hoot! Shadow has learned to play again and it makes my heart happy!! Change is hard but not bad and you share that so eloquently. Thanks again for being YOU.
I felt so many things from your comment! Heartache for your losing 2 this year, jealousy for having a 14 year old (I love old dogs!!!!) and laughter thinking about a 14 year old and a 2 year old! That’s awesome!
You are such a wonderful writer. Your words are not only in my brain, but my heart too. Once again you amaze and inspire me with your ability to always look for (and find!) the love and joy.
The maze analogy totally fits my life right now and I feel very lost because I feel like that maze is just one big ol’ dead end that I will forever be trapped in.
You have reminded me that I need to look inside myself for the joy, because it’s still there.
Christmas blessings to you and your family!
Thank you, Mary Beth!
That maze is hurtful in so many ways. But I do think that eventually we start to see it from above, and not from inside. IT won’t always own you.
As for joy, it’s usually right in front of us, it’s just not always labeled ‘joy here’.
I identify so much with what you have written. I am still trying to move forward after losing Sasha in 2014 and Alli and Argus both earlier this year. They were such special dogs. I’m am greatful to now have Izze Pop and Frejya; they bring so much joy to the house and Shelby enjoys their company. The young girls make the older one act young again… Tommy’s still adjusting.
I admire so much that you have been able to not let grief rule over you. Carlos and I have not made a blog post since loosing Sasha. We have not even made the video we wanted to make for fear of not giving her justice, and now we’ve had 2 more loses.
Thank you for sharing yourself with us. You are inspiring!
Happy Holidays to you and Doug!
It has been such a heartbreaking year for Dog Mums with so many having to say goodbye to their beautiful and much loved friends. Even though I know our Maxi girl had a long and happy life I still grieve for her and not a day goes by without me thinking of her and wishing she was still with us. 2016 has been a year of challenges with some extreme highs and lows, I hope that you and Doug have wonderful 2017 with plenty of highs xo