Saturday, April 23, 2005

And then there were four 

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the beginning

The fight begins

fighting the good fight


Immediate aftermath

When you're grieving, the best possible thing to do is keep yourself busy. You can only close yourself in your bedroom and hide under the covers crying for so long, until it becomes unhealthy. We all had our ways.

I got a job at a clinic at UPMC, theoretically as a research assistant, but realistically I was a glorified copy girl. Queen of the copier: collate, double sided, sort, oh yeah.

Mom and dad renovated the kitchen. New wall paper and flooring. The wall paper had lemons on it, so it became mine and my mom's mission that summer to find as many decorative items with lemons on them as possible.

It was still hard. My mom would come to church with me on Sundays, and cry every time. Didn't matter what the sermon was. I was getting quite sick of the church, as a matter of fact. Not my faith. I was mad at God, oh yes, FURIOUS, SCREAMING ANGRY TANTRUMS with God. But I still had my faith. But the church? I was annoyed at the people. At the "evil spirits" bullshit. At their phoney sympathetic faces. Once I moved to Atlanta, it was a long time before I sought out a church.

In august, it was time for me to move to atlanta to start grad school. I was of mixed emotions about it. I seriously considered delaying a year. I could do it. The school would hold my place. Everyone would understand. On the other hand, I needed to get away. Everything reminded me of my brother. In spite of our efforts to distract ourselves, the house still felt like a permanent funeral. It was time for me to go.

But it wasn't easy. I didn't know a soul in Atlanta, and I was renting a single apartment, so no roommate. All alone, in a strange new city....in the south where crazy people lived, and still very much in pain. I was very lonely. And I was spending far too much time by myself, on the couch, watching TV. I needed companionship. I needed to get out, meet people, do things.

I needed....a boyfriend?


I needed A DOG!!!

Which is how Sadie-girl came into my life.

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No, I didn't order her online, and she didn't come in a box! One month after moving to atlanta, I got in a car with a friend from grad school and her boyfriend (to help me decide, I was afraid I would want them all) and headed over to the Atlanta Humane Society.

She was just so calm in her cage, while all the other dogs barked their fool heads off and went nuts. I thought "she is the perfect size and temperment for me!" She was a year old, and her previous owners didn't want her because she would run away from their yard.

Boy, did she have me fooled! Crazy dog didn't sit down for a week after I brought her home! She was the perpetual motion dog! I eventually trained the laziness into her. Get up at 5am to take her out? NOT ME! Sleep in, dog!

I honestly don't think I would have made it that first year without her. She forced to get out of my depressingly little apartment. To get exercise, to meet other dog people. She was there when I got home at the end of the day, and she was a good snuggler and tv-watching couch buddy.

She helped my family through that first year, too. I took her back north with me for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead of spending those holidays our first year without A and missing that empty space at the table, we could focus on the novelty of having a very enthusiastic fuzzy new "child" running around. Sadie took our minds off of our loss. NOT that we forgot about A. But instead we focused on the happier memories, with Sadie at our feet, begging for scraps. (dammit, my dad taught her to bark for pieces of turkey. thank you, Dad, for teaching my dog to beg...loudly)

So some people may think I'm nuts for spoiling my dog and for fighting to keep her through my condo troubles. But I owe a lot to her royal sheddingness, so I will continue to treat her like a child, and DEFINATELY continue letting her lick my bowl after I have ice cream. I will also continue torturing her by smearing cream cheese on her nose.

The first anniversary was hard. I spent the day sitting on my balcony, crying. Also cried a week later, on his birthday.

The second anniversary was a little better. I had kicked an asshole to the curb, and spent it with my new friends (who I met when I finally went back to church, one of the BEST decisions I made in atlanta), who made me a spaghetti dinner and made sure my wine glass was always full.

The third anniversary was a little easier....and the forth easier still. Every year the pain gets a little easier to handle. Not that it goes away, it will NEVER go away.

I talk to my parents and E every year on the anniversary. We usually don't say exactly WHY we're calling, but we all know. My mom's friends look out for her. She spent today sorting through stuff at my grandparent's house (depressing) but then a friend of hers tookher out for dinner. My dad is spending a cold weekend in Ohio playing golf with some guys on their street. He offered not to go, but mom told him it was OK. They're keeping busy.

I called E. He was at his bosses wedding (and that's pretty fucked up, but that's a WHOLE OTHER STORY). "so what's up?" "what's up? it's the 23rd!" "ohhh....dammit! I wasn't going to go to the wedding because of that! I totally forgot!" What a dork.

So it gets easier for all of us.

Today I was bound and determined to make it a good day. I had my brother's birthday and mother's day to shop for, so I told Kev: I need to go shopping. You are coming with me.
Shopping damage:

for my brother: a dvd called "neurotically yours" featuring Foamy. I'm also setting up a blog for him. I hope he keeps it!

for my mother: light summer slippers (sooo cute, bought myself a pair, too). "wash away your sins" bubble bath (kind of an inside joke), a fridge magnet that says "moms are like dads, only smarter", and a patriotic bangly bracelet (she loves that stuff)

for Kev's mom: "wash away your sins" hand soap. HA! she'll get a kick out of that.

for ME!: a cook book for baking, aforementioned slippers, some kitchen gadgety utensils, a dozen bagels (mmm...baaaagels...), and...the BEST one: a pair of $150 Italian khakis that I got for $15!!!! SWEET! They're a little long (Italian women must be really tall) but...$15!!!! I couldn't legally NOT buy them!

Kev bought me lunch. And he's been very sweet and attentive all day. Not that he's usually NOT sweet and attentive, but he's just been extra-so today. God, I love him. He's helped me more than he knows. Just being a solid presence and always there for me. I don't know what I'd do without him. Oops...tearing up a little...silly me :)

Sadie has been extra clingy the past few days. Unfortunate, since she's shedding. Who knows why, but maybe she senses an extra need for cuddling? I'm going to think that, anyway. It's certainly not because she's hungry and sees the chips and salsa on the coffee table, that's for sure.

Thank you all for reading through all of this, and for your kind comments. I didn't reply to them because I was so focused on getting this all out. But I appreciate every virtual hug and sweet sentiments. Even though I've spent the past few days writing this all out, and getting very emotional about it, I haven't spent the week moping. As is my habit, I have kept BUSY! Busy at work, and even better, busy COOKING! I updated the long neglected recipe site. Check it out until my "shameless plus." I also added a little thumbnail flickr thingie, which so far only has ren fair pics, but I hope to add more soon.

I love you all :)


If any of you have ANY questions about what I've posted the past few days, PLEASE feel free to ask. Clarifications, more details, more info about any of the people, I will be MORE than happy to clear things up. And I am totally OK with it. I've become very comfortable talking about my brother, and writing about him helped even more. So please, ask away!