The next major loss I had this year was the tragic death of my favorite 10 year old's father. He died in a horrific crash when his small plane malfunctioned and went down in a cloud of smoke, also killing an innocent bystander who was sleeping in the trailer the plane crashed into. I was so heartbroken for this 10 year old and her family. He was a great man who always helped people in need. Often times when I was in a bind and needed money for something, he would barter with me and I would babysit to make up the money borrowed. I love spending time with this 10 year old, so I had no problem with that deal. She seems to be coping well with the loss, but I took it harder than I expected to. I was at a conference on child abuse when all of a sudden the flood gates opened and I started to ball my eyes out. I have no idea what triggered it, but I had to leave the room and deal with the pain of the loss. I still keep an eye on this family to ensure they are coping with the loss. I still worry that one day the 10 year old will start acting out and causing problems because of her lack of understanding of the finality of death. She is so strong though and has been there for her mom through all of this. I don't know how she can be that strong. She amazes me everyday!
Everyone deals with pain differently and in their own time. Physical pain tends to go away, but emotional pain has a tendency to either linger for too long or sneak up on people when it is least expected. There are so many things that can trigger that emotional pain, so it is difficult to know when it will rear its ugly head. I have gone through some major emotional stresses this year. In March I lost the one person whom I felt was the most influential person in my life. John kept me going when I wanted to quit. I was halfway through my final semester of my Bachelors Program at FAU; 6 weeks away from graduation. I was so devastated that I missed 2 days of my internship because of grieving. However, I was determined to finish what I started; It's what he would have wanted. Graduation was difficult without him, but I had enough people around me that I didn't have too much time to linger on that emotion. I am the type of person who grieves in private, so most of my crying was done either in my room or in one of my favorite places down by the inlet. It took several months before I could get through one day without crying for the loss. I'm still coping with the loss, but I have had distractions that have made coping with it easier. The pain is still there, but my heart is healing because of a special person I met by chance on a bus.
My third major loss this year was my beloved dog, Diesel. He was 10 years old and his health began to decrease just before Halloween. Something happened unexpectedly that caused paralysis in him. For two weeks he showed improvement in his movement and responses everywhere except his legs. His front feet were cold, and I was very concerned. I took him to a different vet for a second opinion after 2 weeks of no leg improvement. This vet decided on bloodwork and x-rays to see what was going on. The x-rays showed worsening of a spinal issue Diesel had been suffering from for 3 years, which explained the paralysis. What really hurt was when she told me his liver was failing and he was in pain, just hiding it really well. His liver was swollen and possibly had a tumor in it, but the numbers were through the roof, showing that it was working too hard to continue to function. November 19th was that day, and I had no doubt in my mind that I needed to let him go before he suffered more noticeably. It was a heartbreaking decision, and I spent my last night with him on the floor beside him for as long as I could handle it. It really sucks having a disability sometimes, but I know he appreciated the time I spent down there with him. So, the next morning we took him in (my neighbor and my boyfriend) to allow him to go peacefully. It was such a difficult thing for me. I spent most of that time whispering in his ear with my face buried in his neck. I didn't want to see his face when they injected the medicine that would allow him to cross over peacefully. I kept my face buried in his neck until several minutes after he went cold. It was such a difficult thing for me, and I suffered with the feeling of guilt that I had messed up and he wasn't ready to go. I felt like he still had life in him, but I kept contradicting that feeling with the knowledge that for two weeks he had not been able to walk. It really was the best decision...Then I had to tell people about it. The one person who I was afraid to tell was the 10 year old who had just lost her dad; not because of her recent loss so much as it was that Diesel was the first dog she met after her parents adopted her many years ago. Well, long story short, when I went to tell her, I got there and found out her mom told her just before I got there, so that stress was somewhat relieved. She was so understanding and wanted to help me (the 10 year old). I started to cry and she said "don't cry baby," and gave me a hug. While she was hugging me, I heard the sadness in her voice, even though she didn't cry. I really think she is a strong person and is going to make an incredible woman one day. It amazes me how she handles sadness with such strength. Gina is my hero. I wasn't going to mention her name, but I needed to express my love for this child. How can a 10 year old who is still developing coping skills and empathy be so resilient and strong at such a young age? She amazes me. I love that I get to be in her life. I bought her a best friend necklace to remind her that I am always here for her; she doesn't wear it all the time, but made it a point to tell me that she wears it to school. That means so much to me. I love her so much. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a positive influence on her life.
I have said so much in this blog. I hope that whoever reads this will see that life is fragile, but if you surround yourself with the right people, it is worth living.