Empathy

When I wrote last week’s blog post Rainbow Bridge  I never expected in a million years the response that it received. It wasn’t just me hubby had people coming up to him in work, telling him that they couldn’t read it without shedding a tear or that it said what they felt but had never been able to express it. I had followers on Instagram contacting me about their recent losses and long ago losses too. On Facebook it was the same, with many people contacting me or leaving a comment. . It was emotionally hard as I am very empathetic, so when people start to get tearful when they are talking to me, it makes me cry too. But when I wrote the post I was half expecting it to stir up a lot of emotions because I had been in such a mess as I wrote it. I have to be honest I never did a final check on the post to look for errors, mainly because I found it so upsetting to read, it was real and raw. I haven’t even gone back to look at it now to refresh my memory before writing this one. I just can’t do it, I have already been in tears today twice over the dogs. It is always just bubbling away under the surface for me at the moment, although to look at me or to see any of my social media posts you would never know.

I am so touched that something I have written has moved so many people. I thank each and everyone of you who commented or messaged me. It was very hard last Thursday as I had no idea how it would be received. I had no clue if people would think I was wallowing, being self indulgent or a drama queen. That people would think that I should pull myself together and get on with the rest of my life. I promise you I am not self indulgent, wallowing or being a drama queen. I just write about life and my experiences. I try to give a voice to those feelings that we push down and don’t let anyone else see. I take a chance that people won’t reject me or ridicule me because I try to talk about things that many would rather brush under the carpet. Although there have been several articles regarding the death of a pet in National newspapers it is still treated with some degree of disbelief by those who have never had an animal / pet in their lives. 

The whole point of my post was for you – whoever you are, know that it is ok to feel whatever you are feeling, to express your grief ( and it is your’s and no one else’s) anyway that you like. That these feelings are totally normal. You are not weird, you aren’t wallowing in your grief, you aren’t an attention seeker and you are certainly not being a drama queen. You are hurting and it will take time to process all that emotion. Hell I am only 8 months on and there are days where I can barely keep it together. Days where all I do is cry. Days when I feel guilty when I know rationally I have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. I just wanted you to know you aren’t going mad, I honestly thought at times I was losing it. All of those feelings, even the uncontrollable rage that even surprises you when you roar, is totally normal. It is the beast called grief and it doesn’t have to be something that you go through alone.

As I touched on in my blog post even when you have suffered from a significant bereavement such as a partner / child / sibling / parent / friend, people who haven’t been through that kind of grief can’t begin to imagine the enormity of the feelings of loss and pain. They may see you red faced, tear stained and see your grief but that is soon forgotten because it has no direct impact on their lives. The next time they see you, taking the kids to school, going to work, getting the shopping – all things you have to do despite the pain and grief they assume you are “better”. They don’t understand that grief goes on forever. They seem to think that grief has a timeline and by a certain amount of time say 6-12 months maybe sooner if they are real dicks, you “should” be “over” it. How do you explain that there is no getting over it? You are just getting through each day the best you can. There will be good days, bad days and the worst kind of days.  Life will probably never be the same again. But there will never be or has there ever been for anyone who is grieving a time when they are over it. Getting Over It has to be the most grotesque phrase ever. Followed by Time is a great healer. There is no healing from grief, you carry that pain forever.

I had people contacting me about dogs they had lost thirty years ago during their childhood that they still mourned for.  Others told me about their recent losses that they just couldn’t process or that in the proceeding days before my blog post it had hit them, after thinking that they could keep going and carry on as normal. I was quite honest when I spoke to them and told them Jay and I have very little memory of January and February this year.

 We know we got Dembe, we know he was tiny but ask us to recall anything significant like where we took him on his first walk. What the date of his first walk was, his first bark, his first growl all the stuff we would normally remember and we draw a blank. It’s not because we didn’t care about it, purely our brains were overloaded processing what had happened when we lost Frankie and Mollie within 7 days of each other. I am so glad that I started the Dembe Diaries blog and his diary that I base the blog on, so that in years to come I can look back and see all those things in black and white that my brain was unable to absorb at the time.

 I do remember Jay barely spoke in the first 4-5 days after it happened. It was quite stressful as I went into list mode, trying to control everything because my anxiety spiked. His anxiety spiked because I was making so many demands on him all the time and obviously he needed to have some control in his life too. It was very difficult trying to get him motivated to help me sort the house out ready for Dembe’s arrival. Especially as we couldn’t stand being in the house as it was just full of reminders of how empty it was. We did cry together and we did talk about our babies, all of our babies. But the pain and grief was hard because although it has happened to both of you (or all of you) it is also an individual thing that no one can make better or take away from you. People grieve in different ways. Just because Jay wasn’t breaking down in tears every 5 minutes like I was didn’t mean he wasn’t hurting or struggling to cope. You only had to take a look at him, ashen faced, tired and so very quiet, grief and pain was written all over him. For a few days I was worried that he was going to drop down dead from a heart attack or stroke he looked so ill.  

Grief is weird one minute you can feel like you are doing ok and the next minute it feels like the world is imploding. There is no rhyme or reason to it, you are carried on its current and it takes you wherever it pleases. There is no control of it, it controls you initially, even denying you sleep when it wants to. Both Jay and I suffered from terrible insomnia in the 7 days after Mollie and Frankies passing. We would find ourselves downstairs in the middle of the night watching crap on the TV whilst eating chocolate biscuits and drinking sugary tea in the hope we would just pass out from a sugar overdose. I remember one day within about 20 minutes of each other we both left the electric shower on, when we left the bathroom, returning to it a few minutes later, neither of us could work out why we had left it running. We had no recollection of leaving the bathroom.  Life really was being lived on autopilot, all we could do was keep putting one foot in front of the other and get through another day.

I want to tell you that things do get better, the grief becomes less overwhelming.  I feel like I am finally starting to live life again instead of just simply going through the motions. I am not saying that in 8 months you will also be feeling better, it could be less time it could be substantially more time. But there will come a time when you let a breathe out and know that you are starting to be you again.

Up until about a week ago the last time I listened to music and enjoyed it was 29th December 2018. That was the day that Frankie passed away and I had been listening to my Sinead O’connor LP. I didn’t play any music for a couple of weeks. After that time had passed, I tried but I found the noise too much and overwhelming. I had no emotional connection to the music. I would rather be in silence or have the TV on low in the background.  For the last two weeks I have played music non-stop. I have sung at the top of my voice and quite possibly scared the neighbours. I have found the joy in music again. I haven’t played my Sinead O’Connor LP, I think that one will take some time. I may not play it again for several years, I’m not setting myself a target, I will let it happen, I won’t force it. One day I will sing something from the album and it will be like an ear worm that won’t die until I play it. At the moment anything from that LP makes me sad.

We have also started planning things for the future. We have booked  a short break in the UK next year and we will be taking Dembe with us. It is very exciting. This will be the first time since 2006 that Jay and I have had any sort of holiday. It is only 3 nights away but it will do us all some good just to get out of the house and away from the day to day. I am nervous as hell as I have become a real homebody since becoming ill. Other than stays in hospital I haven’t been away from the house in 13 years. It is hilarious to me that I am getting a bit anxious thinking about it when Jay and I have travelled to Sri Lanka, USA (Florida), Antigua, Paris, Menorca and various places all over the UK for weddings / christenings. I know that we can do it, it is just my world has been so very small over the last 13 odd years.

So please be kind to yourself, wherever you are in your journey with grief. Everyone does grief differently, there is no one size fits all. What works for you may not work for anyone else.  Remember living life does not mean that you have forgotten those who are no longer with us. At some point things will get easier, you will reach a new normal. It is not a journey you have to do alone. If more of us start talking about grief and how it affects us we will educate those who have never experienced it and maybe create a little more empathy. The world could really do with more empathy at the moment.

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Rainbow Bridge

I have  called this blog post Rainbow Bridge as all pet owners will know what I am talking about and can make the immediate decision whether or not to read this post. If you decide to skip it, I understand . I can’t even read the poem Rainbow Bridge without breaking down and turning into a snotty, red faced, tear stained mess. So if you decide from the outset that this post probably isn’t for you, I get it. I will just reassure you that I will not be talking about Frankie or Mollie’s passing at the start of this year. That shit is just too raw still to deal with and I would prefer to spend the remainder of the day functional rather than being the snotty, red faced, tear stained mess I know I will become.

 
The blog post is called Rainbow Bridge because I want to talk to you about the very real depth of grief losing a pet, any pet can cause you. A grief that you can feel embarrassed about because you didn’t know it was possible for your heart to physically hurt so much and you not keel over and die. A grief and depth of feeling that unless you have lived the experience you can not begin to even comprehend what the other person is going through. And a grief that you feel you have to hide from the world as grieving over an animal is still seen as self indulgent, selfish, weak, being melodramatic. A depth of feeling that is so strong that it even takes you by surprise.
 
We are in this country ( the UK ) crap at dealing with other people’s grief, even when they have lost a child or a partner. We seem to assume that once a person returns to work or starts doing normal things again that they are ok. Many people seem to think that there is a set period of time that a person should grieve for and after that time has passed, all that emotion and sadness should just turn off. If they don’t you are seen to be wallowing or attention seeking. A lot of people just don’t seem to understand that grief is not a linear journey and that it never ends. You will always be dealing with your grief one way or another. Time is not a great healer, there is no healing for grief, there is a just getting used to it. What initially in the first days, weeks and months seems all encompassing does slowly reduce in size but it never leaves us. It is something we carry always.
 
Those of you that aren’t pet owners may be surprised to read that it is exactly the same for those who have lost a pet. I really hate using a the term pet as I feel like it diminishes their status. But until someone comes up with a better word, I will have to use the one that is universally understood. Most people these days understand that our pets are more than just “pets” they are much loved members of the family within their own rights. Which is why it cut me to the core when somebody recently clumsily said to me ” You were so lucky to get Dembe when you did to replace…” she stopped herself continuing with this statement as I think she realised how awful what she had said sounded. 
 
There is no replacing a beloved cat, dog, guinea pig, hamster or horse. The same as you can’t replace a mother, a father, a child, a friend. Each one of those like our pets are unique. So why people use the dreaded replace word I have no idea. I’m glad it was said recently to me rather than just after it had happened because I don’t think I would have been able to control myself. I may have got physically violent because it was just so insensitive. Now because there is a little bit of distance from the event and I am not caught up in the overwhelming emotion of it, I can understand that it was clumsy and not ever meant the way it sounded. Why do I know that? This person has recently lost her mother and father in the space of a couple of years. She knows there is no replacement for them, she is also a dog owner and knows they can’t be replaced either. Had she said this in January I wouldn’t have been so forgiving.
 
When I found myself in the position of losing Frankie and Mollie within 7 days, having lost Willow 55 weeks earlier, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to carry on without them. The pain, the grief was just so overwhelming. The house had already felt strange after Frankie passed and then when Mollie was no longer here, it seemed so cold and empty. I missed the feel of their fur, the warmth of their bodies, the noise their paws made on the laminate floor. The pools of water Frankie liked to dribble all over the floor after having a drink. The barking, the farting, picking up the poo, the bonio (dog biscuit) crumbs. Everything that had meant being a dog owner for the last 15 years had just been suddenly snatched away with no warning. Everything seemed so bleak and miserable. You will never know how much you will crave a cuddle with a dog ( or any pet ) until you suddenly are no longer able to do it. 
 
That was the hardest thing to cope with in the days that followed their passing, that I couldn’t stroke a dog, be licked, have a tail wag. Jay and I spent every minute that we could out of the house because being in the house just magnified our loss. We were lucky in the respect that a week after Mollie passed away we brought home Dembe. I dread to think what life would have been like without him. I know some people will think that far too quick and that they don’t feel that they could take on another dog / animal whilst they are still mourning their loss. Everyone is different and there are no rights or wrongs in this situation. Had there not been any puppies available we would have had to wait, it is just the way things happened. We felt at the time and still do that it was written in the stars. The breeders had the same surname as the breeders of Mollie and Travis. Dembe’s mum was called Willow, it all seemed like it was just meant to be.
 
Did having Dembe stop the grief? Of course not. In some ways it complicated things because initially I was terrified that Dembe was going to die. My anxiety went up through the roof. It had been a very long time since we had a puppy in the house and it all seemed very alien to us. So whilst trying to come to terms with losing my babies – which they will always be to me no matter how old they were, I had a new baby to deal with. It some ways it was also good for us, we threw ourselves into socialisation and getting lots of experiences under his belt. That meant we had to leave the house and see people. We invited lots of friends over to get them involved. I don’t think for us any time would have been the right time to bring a puppy into the house. Our lives had revolved around our Weimaraners and this was such a massive change to our life, it will probably take us years to get used to it or our heads around it.
 
What did surprise me was the way the people seemed to think once we had Dembe that the grief would just suddenly disappear – as in the replacement theory. There were good surprises as well, people that I had only ever known on facebook sent flowers, cards, gifts. We had so many messages from people. Even though at the time it was hard to read them, not because there was anything wrong with them but just because they were so kind and thoughtful. I heard that Jay’s boss broke the news to his colleagues at work and a couple of them burst into tears because on the previous Saturday the poor man had also had to tell them that Frankie had passed away. No one could quite believe that life could be so cruel. I still don’t believe it but I am happy that Frankie and his mum / best mate are together again.
 
Initially I felt like we had to hide the fact that we had been looking at puppies and we had visited Dembe, paid the deposit two days after Mollie had passed away. It wasn’t because we didn’t love her, I have been crying on and off as I have been writing this. It is because Jay and I are realists, we knew the dogs couldn’t go on forever. Mollie was 14 and quite deaf, Frankie was losing the use of his back legs, had arthritis in his hips and spine, he hadn’t been able to wag his tail for months and was a huge 41kg, 12 year old dog. He had lived far longer than anyone had expected. Even before we lost Willow in 2017 we had been discussing when we got a dog in the future what breed it would be and what his name would be. We had always said we would have a boy, due to the fact both girls had spay induced incontinence after being spayed as emergencies. We said a Labrador as Mollie had always had a thing for black Labs, she adored them. We never knew why but if she met a black lab on a walk her face would light up and she would play bow. The Weims were as much part of our decision making process as we were, as we wanted their blessing. I know none of them would have wanted us to live our lives without a dog.
 
I saw a Meme not long ago that said Dogs fill your life with many happy days and the one worst day of your life. It is pretty true, although the worst day is the worst day when you have to say goodbye, the not so worst days follow, where you have to face life without them and hope that Rainbow Bridge is true and that one day you will all be together again.
 
In Loving memory of 
Travis Morris
Mollie Morris
Willow Morris
Frankie Morris
 
Not a day goes by that I don’t mourn your loss. Not a day goes by when I don’t talk about at least one of you to Dembe. You would have loved him so much.
 
Travis
Mollie
Willow
Frankie
 
Everyone thinks they have the best dog ever,  none of them are wrong.
 
Dembe

I am a survivor

Well I am still not feeling the blog. I don’t know what’s going on but I am really finding it hard to come up with stuff to write about. I am spending 7 days waiting for inspiration to strike and it just isn’t happening. By Tuesday each week I am in a bit of a panic, I like to try and write on a Tuesday if Jay goes out running errands. If not I will wait until Wednesday morning but I don’t like leaving it until Wednesday as I always panic if I have a migraine or something and no blog post is produced.

At the moment the days are just merging into one. I haven’t seen any of my friends for over a month although I keep in regular contact with some of them. I have come to realise over the last 8 months that some of the people that I thought for there for me, disappeared when Frankie and Mollie passed away.  I understand that everyone has their own lives and families, with their own shit to deal with but it has been a very isolating experience. Some people have made a supreme effort to be present and other well not so much. It’s ok as I have a long memory and will be sure to return the favour when the shit hits the fan in their lives. I didn’t expect to be visited constantly but the occasional text message would have been nice, especially when they know my situation of living alone and Jay working.

Thankfully though I am pretty self sufficient, whilst dealing with my grief, I was juggling a new puppy and attempting to find time to sew / embroider. It hasn’t been easy but Dembe and I have found a new routine that works for us. He is pretty good at entertaining himself whilst I am busy sewing. He always positions himself in a location where he can keep an eye on me and ensure he knows if I have moved. He likes one of three places, the bed by the washing machine, the sofa that looks into the kitchen or out under the gazebo on the bench surrounded by all the cushions. I can’t believe my luck that he doesn’t get bored and then start destroying things. When I have finished sewing he knows that is our time and I will ensure I spend the time playing with him, doing training or just cuddles depending on his energy levels. I have been blessed with a pup that is so very well behaved and so very loving. His favourite spot for sleeping is right beside me on the sofa. This is him right now as I am writing this post.

My life has totally changed this year, I have re-assessed a lot of relationships. I have made the decision that I won’t swim an ocean for people who wouldn’t jump a puddle for me. I have decided that instead of worrying about what everyone is thinking or saying about me behind my back and believe me you’d be surprised the shit I hear being spoken about me by people who should know better, that I shall just carry on living my life and enjoying myself. The best revenge on those sad twats is to enjoy yourself and plaster it all over social media. It totally then fucks up all the fairy tales that they have been telling people for years.

I am also getting out of the house a lot more, this does have to be limited and planned for. I haven’t suddenly magically got better, it is just with one dog things are a lot easier. Especially as Dembe is such a friendly dog and on the whole pretty well behaved, although we have now hit the teenage years and recall seems to be a take it or leave it thing! Fatigue still grinds me down. I like using my energy for things for things that make me happy. So using my mobility scooter on Woodbury Common and getting out with Jay and Dembe has been unbelievably healing and grounding. 

It has been the one thing I have missed most since I got sick. The wheelchair trike although brilliant is an absolute ballache to transport. The wheelchair is fixed framed so that would take up the whole boot and then I would have to juggle the trike attachment with me in the front of the car. Not exactly safe. Then I piled on a load of weight when I developed my CSF leak and was virtually bed bound for a year, then in 2017 and 2018 we suffered a number of bereavements and I tend to self medicate with gin, chocolate and junk food / takeaways. I was 5 stone over the optimum user weight for the trike. So anytime I did try to use it the battery drained in minutes. I’ve been too embarrassed to say that because I allowed myself to get fat as fuck, I haven’t been able to use it. Hopefully now I am back losing weight ( it’s taken me until the last month to feel like I can actually do it) and I am back to 3 stone down, ideally at least another 3 to go so I will be massively under the optimum user weight. The trike will be used in the future as it is more suited to the rough and rugged environment of the common.

I do love my mobility scooter though and it has given me back my independence. It is easily taken apart to it can fit in the back of the car. It makes life so much easier if I need to go to the doctors or the hospital for appointments.

Over the 2 months I have got back into sewing and actually enjoyed it rather than feel I am going through the motions. From January until June I made a bloody good show of pretending I was ok, ensuring I used my embroidery machine every week and appeared to be enjoying myself. At points I felt like I was dying inside. I felt like a shell of the person I was. I didn’t feel I could voice the pain I was in. I know others struggle with grief especially when it is over an animal and not a human being.  Like I said earlier it has been one of the most isolating experiences of my life. There just felt like there was no one there. I do wonder if there had been someone their if I would have still felt so isolated.

I do have a tendency when things are tough to disappear into myself and attempt to shut out the world. I still kept on posting on social media, I still kept the creative things going but in all honesty I was going through the motions. It is only now that I can watch anything remotely sentimental without breaking down immediately. I only now feel like me. I feel like I have been on some weird journey where at points I lost myself. It is true what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger because in January / February this year I honestly thought the pain would kill me or I wished it would.

So I skillfully went off on a tangent there, I am enjoying sewing again and being creative rather than having to force myself to do it in the hope at some point the joy would come back. I am still working on my scrap busting quilt sew along. I found out yesterday that it is between a double (bed) and king size (bed) size, so it definitely is the largest one I have ever worked on. I made the back panel for it yesterday.

And in case you have forgotten what the front looks like

This morning I sorted out the wadding ( what you call batting in the USA ) which needed sewn together. I also made some plastic templates  to draw around as I have decided to tray something totally different with the quilting. It has taken me a few days of mulling it over to come to my plans. I have drawn it out so I have something to refer to. I now just need to have Jay clear the floor space in the lounge so that I can put my quilt sandwich together quilt back + wadding / batting + quilt top. I use temporary basting spray to hold it together but as it is so large I will also be pinning it. This ensures that the fabric stays nice and flat so it doesn’t shift and give you puckers. I also managed to sort out the binding yesterday. So it is all ready to be quilted shortly. I will be quite glad when it is finished now as I hate half done projects hanging around. I am really ready to now get myself into new projects and stretch my skills.

Anyway I started with no clue where this post was going and have managed to ramble on forever!

Dembe has changed locations

He likes it so he knows exactly where I am in the house at all times.

I think this year I have learnt, a lot and we are only in August. My heart has hurt more than I ever thought possible without keeling over and dying. I have learnt in the depths of grief you are still able to love unconditionally and you must never feel guilty for that. I have also learnt that the majority of people run away from grief and think that is acceptable behaviour. Despite all this I have come back stronger, love another dog more than I ever thought possible but when you have this gorgeous mutt in your life how could you not?

And yes he is holding my thumb in his mouth!

This is the year that nearly broke me, the year that changed everything and has just proved to me I am a survivor.

Holiday Post

Mr Myasthenia Kid has been on holiday over the last week and for the rest of this week. Due to this I woke up today Wednesday 26th June and realised I hadn’t written this weeks blog post and I was completely clueless as to what to write. So I am going to be really lazy and just spam you with some photo’s of Dembe who has totally stolen my heart!

This was his first meal back on January 11th 2019. We laughed so hard with him climbing inside the bowl. He was so dinky I was permanently terrified that I would stand on him or fall over him.

 

This was taken when he was 9 weeks old. It seems ages ago that he was this tiny, it’s crazy to think it was this year.

 When he first came home he was obsessed with anything that smelt of his daddy and still is. His latest trick is to raid Jay’s dirty laundry basket and steal pants out of it. If there are no pants anything will do as I found out this morning as he brought a T-shirt into my bedroom.

We bought him a cute little toy box which we thought would last him a very long time. His favourite thing to do was chuck all the toys out and climb inside. When he first came home he couldn’t even get in the toy box and we would have to get his toys for him.

In this photo he is 19 weeks old and it marks 11 weeks that we have had him home. It is really crazy how much he has grown in just 11 weeks. At this point he could get on and off the bed by himself, climb the stairs up and down, jump on and off the sofa. All stuff he was way too tiny to do when he first came home with us.

A month on and he has grown again! No longer looking like a baby but like a small grown up doggy.

This along with his first go in a paddling pool is my all time favourite video of him. He had been confined to a small patio for around 6 weeks whilst the garden was revamped. This was on the first day that he got to explore the whole garden. He went crazy! Just adorable.

His first go in a paddling pool back in May. He loves his paddling pool.

He has got so big he can now jump on the bench, the last thing he has been able to master.

This was yesterday at the garden centre as part of our homework from his obedience training classes. We are taking him out to lots of places so he gets used to being in different situations as he is being trained to be my assistance dog.

Last month I taught him how to take my socks off. He loves doing this.

It took him minutes to master. I am still so proud of him.

He is now 7 months old, todays achievement was that he cocked his leg for the first time on a walk. Jay was so proud of him. I missed it as I am unable to accompany them on the walk due to the distance and terrain.

He has given us such joy in an awful time. I really wouldn’t be without him.

Pure Joy

I try not to write an awful lot about Dembe on here mainly because he has his own blog The Dembe Diaries . However there will be times when I do write about him because he is such a huge part of my life. I really can’t believe how much I love the little guy as initially I was too scared to give him my heart completely. Talking to Mr Myasthenia Kid he said the same, he didn’t want to be hurt or feel the pain again in the future ( a very long time away we both hope obviously). The problem is this little guy is just so loving and so utterly devoted to the pair of us.

As the weather had turned warmer we decided that we would get Dembe a paddling pool. We had been looking at various different types but it was pretty clear we would need something that was going to withstand puppy claws. A child’s inflatable paddling pool would spend more time having punctures repaired than actually filled with water. I saw my best mate on Instagram had got her dog a rigid paddling pool which was exactly what we were after. I found out where she got it from and we bought one the next day. 

We had no clue how Dembe was going to react to a paddling pool. At the moment he will not walk through puddles on the common but if the shower is on he will dive in. He will chomp on the water coming from the hosepipe so his aversion to puddles is a real mystery. 

We needn’t have worried as he went absolutely crazy for it. The video was shot as it was being filled for the very first time. He stayed in the paddling pool ( jumping in and out) from 8.45am that morning until gone 2pm when he finally came back in the house and went to sleep for two hours. He had paddling pooled himself out!

Jay decided on Thursday whilst he was at work that Dembe needed some artificial turf placed around the paddling pool so he didn’t slip and slid on the patio slabs. He was running around like crazy on Thursday morning and we were worried due to his over excitement he was going to have an accident. At least with the artificial turf in place it would soften a fall and give him somewhere else to lie down outside when he wanted to chew a bone / frozen carrot.

 Since the garden has been revamped he has loved being able to go outside and play. He has also taken over one of the garden chairs and is using it as his sunbathing area.

I took the photo above yesterday. Green crocodile is one of his favourite toys, he loves soft toys and has loads of them. On Monday night he managed to drop well actually he threw Crocodile into the paddling pool. We had been expecting it as he likes to toss his toys up in the air and then chase them. I had to put crocodile in the wash and I had just given it back to him . I was in the kitchen and Jay was in the lounge, I looked outside and fell about laughing. He was sat there as proud as punch with crocodile hanging out of his mouth.

Dembe makes us laugh so much everyday. He has such an enormous personality. He is such a loving dog and also so very clever. Last week I taught him how to remove my socks and he now does this every night for me.

 

I did make the mistake on Thursday evening of asking Dembe to take my socks off whilst I was sat outside. He took them off and then proceeded to dump in the paddling pool. Lesson learnt, only get your socks taken off in the house!

Next week we will be starting his obedience training classes, I am excited and nervous at the same time. I know that he is reasonably easy to train so I can’t understand how Mr Myasthenia Kid can’t get him to walk to heel. I also want to get him to be able to walk alongside my mobility scooter and for me not to have to worry about running over his feet. I am also worried that the class will wipe me out as it is held in the evening and my ability to join in with a lot of it is going to be severely limited. However it is really important to get the lead work sorted, so my fears will have to be overcome.

Dembe brings us so much pure joy everyday, I am so glad we have him in our lives.

Time for a change

For those of you who have followed my blog for some time you will have noticed this week that on both platforms, Blogger and WordPress that my blog sites have had a makeover. 

The reason behind the change was two-fold, firstly it was just time for a change and secondly it was time to move forward. Both platforms used photo’s of Frankie as part of the blog. My Myasthenia kid page had a photo of Mollie and Frankie from the summer as its banner. Every time I went on the page it was a very real reminder of everything we have lost and the grief I feel. The time both Frankie and Mollie have been gone can still be counted in weeks, I still feel very sad most days. When you are with your dogs like I was 24/7 for the last 11 years they become a massive part of your life. It was like losing two members of my family, the family I have made with Jay. Still having them on the Facebook Myasthenia kid page and as a huge part of both blog platforms felt wrong. Although I will mourn them forever it was time to move forward and the new chapter of our life is now with Dembe our yellow Labrador. Not featuring him when he is a major part of my life felt disloyal to him. So hence the change.

I’ve known since the day we lost them both that the day would come that I felt strong enough to update the look of my blogs and Facebook page. I needed there to have been enough time passed that I wouldn’t feel guilty for changing things. It still took an awful lot to change the banner of my Facebook page associated with this blog. I wondered if people would think it was too soon or that I didn’t care about Mollie and Frankie. No one has said anything and deep down I knew they wouldn’t but you are still very conscious of how things may look to other people. 

The blogs were a spontaneous decision on Saturday night, when Jay was working late. I hadn’t like the look of blogger for ages and I needed to change the banner of the WordPress sites. I had taken a lovely photograph of some tree’s a couple of weeks ago and thought it would make a nice banner / background. I love Woodbury Common it has strong emotional ties for me. Every dog we have ever owned has been walked there, it was where I would go to forget the stress of everyday life before I became too sick to walk the dogs. To have that represented on the blog and it being my photograph gives me a sense of pride.

I also needed to change my Google Avatar. The photo had been a black and white one of me and Frankie. It is one of those things where every time I saw the photo I would hold my breath and wait for the pain in my heart to start. I have now changed it over to a lovely photo of Dembe. I wanted to start to look forward as I have been feeling a lot better of late. More like me and not totally bogged down in my grief. 

It has taken time for me to accept that I am allowed to look to the future and how our life with Dembe will be. Being an only dog he is even more the focus of my attention. He must some days wish that I would shut up as I talk to him constantly. He is the thing ( along with Jay ) that has got me through these last few months, who has forced me to get out of bed, to socialise when all I wanted to do was go to bed and just not have to deal with the world. Although it has been really hard on occasion I have made it through 100% of my worst days and that is an achievement.

The final thing I changed was my profile photo on my social media accounts. For a year possibly more it had been a close up photograph of Frankie’s nose. People always ask me about it as it was a cute photo but when you have just lost a faithful companion it can be really difficult emotionally to talk about it and people assume that he is still with us. I then have to say that he isn’t and that compounds the hurt. So I have changed this over to a photo of Dembe because when I speak about him I don’t feel sad. 

It took longer than I thought it would to change all the stuff. Whilst updating all my social media accounts I realised some of them were out of date and they still talked about Mollie and Frankie. So it was sad updating them but I do need to do this. I will never forget them they were a massive part of my life. They the three of them saved me when I was grieving for Travis our first Weimaraner and then when I became sick. I don’t know if I would still be here without their love and affection. Dembe has done the same shown me that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that it is ok to be sad as long as it doesn’t dominate every waking hour. 

So I hope you like what I have done to the blogs etc I think you will agree it was time for a change.

Dembe aged 24 weeks

Off Topic

I know some of you are going to think I have well and truly lost my marbles so please feel free to skip this post if you hold no truck with the supernatural / ghosts / spirits what have you. I have to write about it due to what has just happened and I can’t ignore it any longer.

Ok so regular followers of my blog will know that we lost Frankie and Mollie within 7 days of each other ( 29th Dec 2018 and then 5th Jan 2019). Jay and I are not religious, although he was brought up in the Catholic faith, I guess he is atheist or agnostic. I have never asked him. I was brought up without faith and am atheist. However I do believe that we don’t just cease to exist when we die. Which I know for some atheists will be difficult to get their head around. The thing is I have seen too much, heard too much and had premonitions of events that I couldn’t possibly known about months or sometimes days before they have happened. That I just know that there is more to this world than what many of us see and hear.

For example for the month before my A-level results came out every night without fail I would dream about the letter C. Like on Sesame street this letter C would be huge and there would be 3 of them. It was bizarre and whilst dreaming I would try to change it to 3 B’s as I knew this dream was telling me what my A- level results would be. Low and behold exam result day I get 3 C’s. Pure laziness on my part, preferred earning money and going out to actual studying!

Before my driving test I repeatedly dreamt that I would be in a part of Plymouth called Little America and I would be asked to perform a reverse around the corner. As I was undertaking this the driving examiner would tell me to stop as he had under estimated how close the white car behind us was. Low and behold on my test – I am driving through Little America and I am asked to do the reverse around the corner. As I am doing it, just as had happened in my dream the driving examiner called a halt to it as a white car was too close.

I could go on and on and that would either serve to bore you rigid or for you to believe I am totally bat shit crazy. My premonitions come and go, I can go years without them happening. The last time it happened that I can remember was when Jay had his car crash in 2011. For around 3 months before I had the same dream over and over that Jay would be in a car crash and that our car would be written off. As I had dreamt it Jay did indeed have a crash ( caused by a drunk driver in a stolen car) and our car was written off.

So that’s the premonition side of things, I also see things. Not hallucinations but spirits / ghosts etc. I wrote extensively about the flat Jay and I used to live at in my post entitled “Haunted” (link here ). I can have feelings about places / people also. I also can hear things not as in voices but as in I can hear things like a dog jumping off the bed upstairs when Dembe is downstairs with me and the only dog that used to jump off Jay’s bed was Mollie. I have also heard a dog shaking his head and the collar jangling with the ID tag but Dembe is fast asleep next to me. 

The first dog I saw that had passed was our first Weimaraner Travis. The second litter of puppies had been born in 2007 and I had come in from work and was upstairs checking on them. I heard a dog behind me, I turned to look and assumed it was Mollie. I still remember what I said ” are you going to take care of these puppies or will I have to do it?” As I said those words I had turned my head back to the whelping box, when Mollie didn’t walk past me I just assumed she had gone back down stairs. I went down stairs and walked into the kitchen to find Jay in there with all 3 dogs. I was confused so asked him ” have these three been down here the whole time?” to which he replied “Yes”. I nearly fainted with shock, I knew that I had just seen Travis, a full body apparition of a dog that had passed away over a year ago. 

I am not the only person to have seen Travis. A delivery driver and his mate was bringing in some furniture and told me one of the dogs had escaped from the kitchen. I said no they are all in the kitchen. The guy went white and said I just saw a dog on the stairs . Travis used to sit on the bottom widest step and we had nicknamed it the sulky step as he would sit on it when we went to work. 

My mum has stepped over a dog in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom when she was staying with us and then realised all three dogs were in my room. There had been no dog in the hallway.

My cleaner ( years ago when I could afford one!) said she had felt a dog brush past her on the stairs as she was vacuuming them. When she looked into the lounge ( our stairs are in the lounge and have an open banister) she saw three dogs sprawled over two sofas all fast asleep. No dog had gone past her, well no earthly dog. 

So strange goings on in my house have happened for years. When family members or close friends pass I have problems with the electrics, things turning themselves on and off without us touching them. Since one friend passed last year my hallway light at the top of the stairs flashes on and off. It’s just flashed whilst I am proof reading this. Initially Jay never noticed so I thought I must be imagining things. Then one day the light went off completely for several seconds and then came back on again. It can go days even weeks without the light flashing and then all of a sudden it is doing it every time the light is on. I acknowledge my friend in my head but I have to tell you out of all the stuff that has happened here, that’s the only thing that can scare me. Especially if I am in the house alone.

 That brings me nicely up to what happened today and surprised me so much I said “Oh my god” out loud and Jay said “did you hear that?” I was sat on the sofa that is opposite our stairs. Our stairs has three mirrors going up the side of them so I can see in the mirror opposite me the top of the stairs. What had caught my attention was the sound of two steps at the top of the stairs. I looked in the mirror as I always would have done when the Weims were alive only to see the back-end of a Weimaraner disappear into my room. I then said “oh my god” because I was taken a back not frightened. Jay had heard the steps but due to where he was sitting he couldn’t see the mirror. When I told him what I had seen he wasn’t surprised as we have both seen and heard our babies since they passed. It provides us with a level of comfort knowing that they are still with us, even if it’s in spirit only. 

Dembe has also seen them, I say this not because I pretend to know what he is thinking but because of his reactions. He has play bowed ( stuck his arse in the air and bent with his front legs on the floor) and rolled his ball to nothing. I was sat across the other side of the room and watched him do this, not just on the one occasion but on many occasions. He has taken toys over to what we have nicknamed for years the sulky step because that is where Travis and Frankie would sit sometimes. 

Jay has heard Mollie, Frankie, Willow and Travis accompanying him on his walks up the common when it has just been him and Dembe and not another soul in sight. Some days it is a comfort other days it just reminds you of how very much we have lost. Of course we wouldn’t be without Dembe but at the moment it still feels like we are all still getting to know each other. With Mollie, Frankie and Willow we had been with each other for years and we know all their little idiosyncrasies. So although the house doesn’t feel as empty as it did in those six days after Mollie passed whilst we were waiting to get Dembe, it still feels pretty empty compared to how it used to be.

I think that’s why what happened this afternoon really sort of shocked me. I wasn’t expecting it. It was nice to know that they are still around and they don’t feel pushed out with Dembe around.