Thursday, September 11, 2014

Photography Healing

Photography helps me refocus myself. It's very healing. This has been especially helpful since I'm still mourning Floyd's loss.

"In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality."
- Alfred Stieglitz

sea horse
beach shoes
hanging lanterns

Thursday, August 28, 2014

There's a Hole in My Soul

There's a hole in my soul. It's because he is gone.

Floyd in his cool camper, enjoying a Malibu breeze.

Floyd died on August 26, 2014. He was 17 years old.

It was the most difficult decision of my life. It was horrible. The day before he was put to sleep, I cried like I never cried before. Once we made the decision, I walked through my office with sunglasses on, made it to my car and sobbed. Really sobbed. That night, I came home and cried some more. Every time I looked at Floyd, I knew it would be the last time. His last dinner. His last bedtime snack. His last . . .

Tuesday morning was surreal. My husband woke up before me. He cleaned out the truck. Made Floyd a bed in the back seat. Punched the directions to the animal shelter into the GPS. And put the shovel in the bed of the truck.

I took Floyd out for his last morning potty. He ate his last egg for breakfast.

Then, we got into the truck for the ride to his resting place. He was born in St. Augustine and he would die in St. Augustine.

We discussed different options. I looked into in-home euthanasia but it just didn't feel right. This isn't Floyd's home - we've only been here for 8 months. So, we decided to do it in our truck. The truck that has been a part of Floyd's life for the last 12 years. The truck that he took on many adventures. The truck that felt like home.

The 90 minute ride went okay. I fed Floyd leftover salmon from the night before. I figured that his last meal should be a good one. For a brief time, he became really anxious. It was bad. It was an acknowledgment from God that it was time. I tried to comfort him. After a while, he became relaxed. He rested his head on his Winnie the Pooh bear.

Then, we arrived. I felt like I would vomit. My husband could not go inside without stopping to compose himself. That moment was awful.

They don't usually euthanize dogs in vehicles. They made an exception after my tear-filled call and my husband's pleading. The two ladies who did it were very compassionate. One of them actually crawled into the front seat of the truck in order to hold Floyd. It took about 15 seconds for the sedative to start working. He became very sleepy and just let go into my husband's arms.

We kissed him and told him how much we love him. I kissed his ears for the last time.

When the ladies came back to administer the last shot, I couldn't watch. I was afraid that Floyd would cry. So, I walked away. I didn't hear any cries. I turned around and saw the anguish on my husband's face. It was pure sadness. He touched Floyd and looked into his eyes when he died. Floyd was not alone. He was loved up until the last breath. He is still loved.

We're not saying loved. We're saying love.

My husband dug Floyd's grave. He is buried at our friend's farmhouse. Horses watch over Floyd. He is buried with Winnie the Pooh and his toy puppy, Charlie. He is wrapped in blankets. There is a cross placed on his back. God is responsible for Floyd. Floyd is with Him. I know this. I feel this.

The space on the living room floor is empty. It's as empty as my heart. It's as empty as my soul. I don't know what to do with his leash. I don't know what to do with the rest of his toys or the cans of Pedigree that are still in the cabinet.

All I know is that I miss Floyd more than I ever could have imagined. I am grateful for the last 17 years but I also would do anything to kiss him again.

This sucks. It sucks really bad. There's a hole in my soul and I'm not sure if it will ever be filled again.

Goodbye, sweet Floyd.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thank Goodness for Mechanically-Inclined Husbands

I love that my husband is mechanically-inclined (i.e. Mr. Fix It). We were traveling on I-4 about to head into Orlando and our truck started acting funky. The power steering quit working, engine began over-heating and other stuff I don't understand.

My husband knew exactly what it was: some pulley thing that a belt attaches to. The plastic circular thing that is supposed to be part of the pulley had melted. We pulled into a Publix parking lot, my husband took out his toolbox and began figuring things out. Then, we called a cab to take us to an auto part store, paid $42 for the part, rode back to Publix, paid $24 for the taxi, installed the new pulley thing & put the belt back on. We were on our way home less than 30 minutes later.

He was sweaty, since it had been 95 degrees outside, had grease all over his hands and arms and somehow cut himself during the process so the grease was mixed with blood. I was so proud. I'm also thankful for a husband who knows things like this. I feel safe with him and know that we can get through anything.

This little detour reminded me of how important it is to be self-reliant and to know that you can pull through any challenge.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mind Junk

I feel cluttered. I keep picturing that my mind is full of junk. Sort of like this:

In times like these, I think too much. Way too much. I think about discovering new places and traveling the country with my husband and writing every day and becoming my own boss. I wonder what it feels like to be so confident that I sing along with Tori Amos. The beautiful lyrics floating from my stomach to my heart, through my throat and onto my tongue.

I think about starting an LLC so that I am prepared for all of the entrepreneurship opportunities that are on my bucket list. I think about work. Not as much as I used to but I hope that I am making a difference. I am faced with many new challenges and quite a few of them are outside of my comfort zone. My leadership capacity is being tested and I'm finding that I have to make decisions in more direct and assertive ways than I ever have before. I surprise myself sometimes. Am I being direct or a bitch? I am unsure sometimes.

I stopped reading the bible and I have no idea why. I know that I need to start again but I haven't. I don't know why. Maybe it's the mind junk. I'm not sure but I am thinking that mind junk is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's an excuse. A rationalization. An out. A way to build a wall to keep me from myself.


Or, maybe the mind junk is a catalyst. A way to open myself to a an mysterious vulnerability that will at first break my heart and then restore it, little by little. Becoming new again. Becoming me again.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dog Years Reflections

My dog is almost 17 years old. He only has to make it five more weeks. If he does, he'll be considered to be 119 years old in Dog Years.

Floyd is pretty much blind. I think that he can see some things but I'm not sure what they are. We have to lead him inside from the backyard because he gets lost out there. He also runs into walls and furniture and stumbles over shoes if we forget and leave them in the middle of the floor.

He sleeps a lot. A LOT. He whines more than I like. It's not irritating - it just makes me sad. There are a few things that help him relax. His floor fan is his comfort zone. It's just a cheap $20 box fan and it runs 24 hours per day. He usually sleeps right in front of it. Sometimes, he sleeps so close to the fan that I'm afraid his tail will get stuck inside. The next saving grace is Sara McLachlan or Nora Jones or Adele - any soothing female voice will almost instantly relax him. We also give him Benadryl at night with a little snack - it really helps.

Even though Floyd is blind and losing equilibrium, he still LOVES to eat. He can't eat hard food or dog treats anymore so he gets extra meals. Floyd eats breakfast, dinner and a late night snack. If he cries a lot at night, I also give him a little bowl of milk (this usually does the trick). He will do anything for fish - he gets salmon and tuna for treats and I think that he's in heaven when he does. This morning, when my husband made breakfast, Floyd got his Sunday egg over medium.

Floyd's toy box sits on the living room floor and it is filled with memories. Winnie the Pooh, Scooby Doo, Eeyore, a cow that moos, a small puppy named Charlie and a chipmunk among other stuffed animals. He will sniff his toy box once in a while but no longer plays with his toys. They are patient with him ignoring them and understand that the older you get, the more you just wish to be left alone.

Only pet people can understand how much our pets mean to us. I was 20 years old when I adopted Floyd from the Humane Society. I paid $40 for a family member who I never imagined would be a part of my family 17 years later.

My husband and I talk about Floyd dying. I think it is a way to prepare ourselves for the inevitable. We are thankful that Floyd has had a wonderful life - he was loved and traveled and went on many adventures. I can't imagine my life without him. I know that death is a part of life but it's so difficult to accept.

Until it is his time to go, I will give Floyd as much loving as he can stand. I kiss him and tell him that I love him. I'll do whatever I can to keep him at peace - even if it means stocking up on canned salmon and buying a new fan if this one ever breaks.

Here's a photo of Floyd on vacation many years ago:

Floyd on his first boat. He loved it!

And a recent one at home:

Floyd sleeping in a new spot.