Monday, April 30, 2007

Just when I thought I was all cried out .... Death Sucks Part II

Hi all,

I meant to post this on Friday night, but after the events that took place, I just didn't have the energy once I finally got the kids to bed that night. So it's a little late, but here's the latest adventure from Kim's Korner ...........

It seems whenever I'm sending out a mass email recently, it's cause I'm sad about something ... and today unfortunately is no different. Last night (Thurs Apr 26) we lost someone else in our 'circle'. Hershey, our dog of 5 yrs, who some of you met and knew, was let out accidentally by one of the kid's friends last night, and was hit and killed by a car. Two cars actually. The first lady stopped, which was very nice of her, and from the witness accounts, he still might have had a chance at that point, but then an SUV came along and smoked him again, and although the person slowed down, the asshole didn't stop. You can't tell me you can hit a 50+lb dog ... see a kid freaking on the side of the road, and not realize you hit something.

It all started just after 8:30pm. Hershey made his great escape, and the kids left to walk their friend home (5 houses away or so) about 10 min later. They saw Hershey walking in front of them, called out to him, and of course once he saw them, he thought they were coming after him, so he made a run for it right into the road. When they first saw him, the little girl had started going up to her house to grab a leash, and the boys were standing in her driveway when the car came along and hit him. Alec and Adam saw the whole thing. I'm very sad about that. As much as Hershey was 'Mom's Boy' ... he was Alec's best friend, and to have him see that, a head on collision with his dog ... my son's never going to forget that. It's just one of those life altering events that stays with you.

Adam came running back to the house for me, their friend ran into her house and called me on the phone at the same time, and poor Alec was freaking in/beside the street.

I do have a couple of things to be thankful for .... 1) that in all the chaos, that Alec wasn't hit himself. and 2) that Hershey didn't suffer long cause he was still alive when I got there.

When I got down the street to everything, the little girl's mom was out in the street directing traffic around Hershey cause he was still in the middle of the road on the yellow line. He was still alive, but the only thing moving was his head as he turned it slightly to look at me. And he never made a sound. He was looking at me with those huge chocolate brown eyes, and there wasn't a thing I could do for my boy except drag his broken body off the road and over to the side and sit with him until he was gone.

I was sitting on the road with him, rubbing his head, the kids had gone to a neighbours house to call their dad, and someone suggested that we had to 'take him somewhere'. Not thinking, I jumped up and started to clear out the back of my SUV to make room for him, realized it was going to be a futile effort cause I was just throwing things around from one side to another in the back, and not really moving anything and so I went back to him just as he died.

Paul (the ex) showed up and called his friend who had a large truck that we could put him in the back of to get him back to our place.

Not sure who called the police. Someone must have though cause within minutes of my reaching the scene, one cop car arrived, then a second a few minutes later. Poor guy, I felt bad for him too cause there's really nothing they can do for anyone at that point except take info and direct trafffic.

Tonight after work, Paul will come over again and we'll be burying Hershey in the back yard, next to Shelby. Our cat who he loved to chase for most of his 5 yrs until she died a couple of years ago.

As much as I cursed his hair around the house, the fact he got into the garbage, the fact he chased the old cat and new one .... I'm really going to miss that damn dog!!! :-( He loved us very much, and we loved him too. He was Alec's best friend and my protector. He was the reason I wasn't afraid to be 'alone' at nights after the separation. I knew I had Hershey and he'd rip anyone apart who ever tried to hurt his family.

The house was very quiet last night after the boys went to bed. I kept thinking I'd hear him walking around upstairs, getting into the garbage or jumping on Alec's bed ... and every time of course I was wrong.

I know it's just a dog. But any pet owners out there will understand that animals DO become part of your family and it hurts very much to lose them. Hell ... I started crying walking by the stupid garbage bag sitting in the kitchen last night, cause I knew I'd never again have to say "HERSHEY!!!! GET OUT of the garbage!!!!!!!"

It was a very long and hard night. Both boys ended up in my bed, and it was almost 1am before Alec was able to even close his eyes. They kept waking up and wanting to talk about it. Long night. Today, although we were all late, the kids went to school and I came to work. I'm writing this on my 'lunch hour'. I thought being with their friends at school today would keep the boys minds busy, and they wouldn't focus as much on being sad while they were with their friends.

Funny how kids minds work .... as I was getting ready for work, I thought Adam was being VERY quiet in the kitchen. Then I heard the back door close. I looked out the bathroom window and saw him walking to the garage with a piece of paper in his hand. Then he came back, got something else, and left it with Hershey. He had written him a 'good bye, I love you' poem, and left him his 'blankey' for the day, so he wouldn't be cold or lonely in the garage today :-(

Sigh ... did I mention Death Sucks!!!!!!

Whatever freakin' cosmic test these last couple of weeks have been ... I'd better be passing!!!!!

That's it. That's the news of the day. Sorry it couldn't be more cheerful, but there's just nothing happy about losing a family member .... even if he was a four legged one.



We ended up burying Hershey in the back yard, next to Shelby on Friday night, (in the rain no less ... how appropriate lol) had a little funeral with some neighbourhood kids, and then I watched Happy Feet with the boys until they both fell asleep in my bed again.

They're already talking about a new puppy of course, but I told them I wanted a bit of time before we jump into a new dog. Man, I hate the thought of going through the puppy stage again :-( We've discussed what our next dog will be, and have narrowed it down to either a Golden Retriever or a Shephard. I've been trying to gather pro's and con's for both. Still doing the research/reading on both, and haven't decided on either yet. I did manage to talk them out of a Beagle though. Since those guys are runners also, it wouldn't be a good type of dog for where we live right now.

Whatever our next dog will be ... it HAS to be the type that won't look to bolt the minute it gets the chance. We live on a FAR too busy road for that type of dog .... either that .... or we move I guess ;-) And yes, our next dog will DEFINITELY go to 'training'.

This is a new week ... today's a new/better day .... and although we'll always love him, it doesn't hurt as much today to think about and miss him.

Later all!!!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm very very sad today ... aka ... Death Sucks!

Hi all,

A friend of mine, Tracy, died last night. I can't say we were 'best' friends by any means. But she was a friend nonetheless, as well as being the sister-in-law of my best/closest friend.

I've known my best friend Cassandra for 15yrs, meaning I've known Tracy this long as well. Tracy was her SIL for 20yrs. They were like sisters. You know how your best friend's family sort of morphs into your own at times and you find yourself attending everything from kitchen parties to weddings together. Tracy was only 6yrs older than me. We had 'celebrated' together on different occasions ... she was a friend as well as part of my closest friend's family.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer almost 2yrs ago. She did the chemo treatments, had the mastectomy, did everything she was supposed to do to fight it. She was doing well, and supposedly it was gone. A little over 5 weeks ago, she was out with her husband, saying "you know, maybe I'll go back to work in the next couple of weeks." Instead, she went for a checkup and they found three tumors on her brain.

She didn't want to die. She had alot more laughing to do, more life to experience. All the life's events she was looking forward to. The kids graduation, their weddings ... she knew she wouldn't be here for any of it. At that time, less than 2 months ago, they gave her a year.

Tracy was a very strong woman with one of the most up-beat, positive attitudes imaginable. She was 43yrs old and wanted to fight. She had alot to live for, and alot of people who loved her. She had all the radiation treatments on her brain to shrink the tumors and again, did everything she was 'supposed' to do, but it wasn't letting go this time. These past couple of weeks, she deteriorated at an incredible rate, and the disease began to attack her body again. Literally eating her from the inside out.

A few weeks ago, when I had my hair cut, we walked through the mall afterwards because we knew Tracy was there and she wanted to see what I had done for the 'surprise' cut. We didn't see her because by the time I was done, she had gotten tired and gone home. I look back at that day now, at being upset over the haircut and I remember standing in a fast food lineup after we couldn't find her, thinking at the time "stop being such an idiot about your hair ... it's going to grow back!!! Look at what Tracy's been through, she lost ALL her hair, and it wasn't exactly her choice to do so, so suck it up princess and stop being such a stupid schmuck!!!" That was only a few weeks ago, and we were still thinking 'maybe she'll beat it' ... but last night she ran out of fight, said her good bye's and went to sleep.

Death really sucks.

I don't understand what lesson we're supposed to learn from the death of a wonderful person, who had an incredibly infectious laugh, who had a husband and two children who loved and needed her ... and yet, some idiot can walk into VA tech yesterday and kill so many innocent people. For what? If someone 'had to go', why couldn't that psycho (or pick any other psycho) simply get smacked by a bus before he entered the building. The rest of it never would have happened. Leave the people like Tracy. Non smoker, non drug user, social drinker, enjoyed sports, generally took care of herself. Great Mom. Great wife. Great friend. Leave the people like her who touch the people they meet, simply with their personalities, and are genuinely loved by young and old, and just wipe those other sh*theads out in some 'final destination-like' way and be done with it. I could understand those laws of nature.

But losing people like Tracy, or my Dad to a body/soul robbing disease like Cancer ... there's no justification in those laws of nature for me. It doesn't make sense, and I don't see the big cosmic 'point'.

I think when the end comes, people know when they're dying. My grandmother waved at my mom and dad across the room from her hospital bed, and called them over to say goodbye, my mom and dad called me home the weekend before dad died, and when the ambulance finally came to get him a few days later, to take him to the hospital, he didn't want to get in because he knew if he did, he wouldn't be coming home again. And in those final seconds before he died, after being non-responsive since just after I got there the night before, he opened his eyes and looked at my mom. He knew. I think Tracy knew also.

There was a hospital bed on hand at the house for awhile, she refused to use it, and remained adamant about staying in the recliner. Yesterday morning, it was determined it was time to move her into the bed. Although she had been un-responsive for the last couple of days, when it came time to get into that bed, she fought back, she was awake, mad and there was no mistaking any of her words lol, she didn't want to get into that bed, cause she knew if she did ... she wouldn't get out again ... and she came back and gave it one more shot and fought back hard. She knew. She got in that bed yesterday around lunchtime, and she died just after 10 last night.

She knew exactly what she wanted when the time came too, and left the details for her husband. She had gotten a present for him and each of the kids, and on Friday night they all had supper together and she gave them their gifts and had a final family dinner together. That was the last time she really ate. She slept most of the weekend, and then yesterday, the kids were called home from school. The doctor and priest were called to the house also. She wrote letters to all of them. To be opened after she died. She even wrote her own eulogy. She said "who better to talk about my life than me. I had a great life." She made sure everything was taken care of.

Speaking of 'taking care of' ... I have to say ... David, her husband was an amazing man through all of this. Literally taking care of her every physical and emotional need, and letting her know how much he loved her through it all. An amazing man.

This morning I went to work, took care of a few things that I wanted taken care of, then met with my PM for a few minutes, called my best friend and told her I was on my way, then left and hit the road for the 45-55 min drive, and spent a long day with lots of crying, lots of hugging, some laughing talking about various 'good' times, more crying, picking out funeral outfits, ... lots of coffee :-) long day. Got home around 8 tonight. Exhausted. Death is very draining.

I think one reason this is hitting hard and hitting home, is that although many of us have been through the death of our parents and/or grandparents ... this one is hitting the 'inner circle', this one's in MY group of friends.

My heart still hurts tonight. For Tracy, David, the kids, my best friend, Tracy's dad, who also lost his wife, Tracy's mom only two years ago to brain cancer, my best friend's parents, who loved her like a daughter .... for so many others who'll miss her. And for my dad too. Hearing Cass describe her last day with her sister in law, of her fighting this disease and losing, getting the weekly then daily reports, brought back alot of memories. Not happy ones.

It also hurts, cause I was originally going to go down this weekend and say good-bye to her, and I didn't. It was my son's birthday party weekend, my mom was visiting from out of town, so I called my best friend and told her since I was planning to come down next weekend anyway (there was a benefit scheduled for Tracy next Friday night), I would just wait and see her and say my good-bye next weekend. I kick myself now. I looked at the clock at 3pm on Sunday after mom left and thought "it's still early, I can still make it there and home before too late ....." but the boys had just left to walk the dog, I started cleaning out the truck, they ran into friends and started to play, I didn't really want to bring them to see her that way, wanted to do it the weekend I was alone, which was only a few days away ... right? ... and the next time I looked at the clock it was 5pm, and we didn't go. I regret that very much. I'm always preaching to the kids about 'making the right choice!' .... THAT was not the right choice :-(

One thing I'm happy about though (aside from the obvious that she is no longer in pain and suffering), is that I was on the phone last night with Cass when she got the call from her brother. Everything happens for a reason right? I had called my mom to fill her in on the latest news on Tracy, that it was expected to be hours to a day, then said I had to call Cass. Called her as soon as I hung up with mom, and we weren't on the phone 5 minutes when she got the call from David on the other line. Although I couldn't be 'there' at the time, I was there, and we had a good cry together, so I'm glad about that. I just wish my heart would stop feeling like it's being squeezed in a vice-grip right now. I don't like that feeling. Yes, I know it goes away, or at least diminishes considerably ... but I still don't like it.

Did I mention death sucks?

My condolences to all the family members who lost loved ones and friends in yesterday's senseless shooting.