Friday, September 12, 2014

Psalm 23

There is a bunch of green felt fabric in a bag sitting on the chair in my living room.  I was going to use it to make Redgie's stegosaurus costume for Halloween.  He would have hated it and Sophie would have loved it.  Now he's dead and every time I look at the bag I feel horrible.  Some people would put the bag away but it's the only thing of his that I haven't been able to touch.  Because he was going to be a stegosaurus and now he isn't anything.  But I am bitter and brittle and feel like screaming at someone because life is painful and I don't know what to do with it.   Seriously, what do I do with it?

dachshund stegosaurus makes me feel like I got hit by a bus full of sadness
I've been blindsided.  Less than 48 hours passed between the realization that something might be wrong and his death.  One day he was fine and the next he was just gone.  I never thought that would happen.  I always try to remind myself how quickly lives can be turned upside down but the last few weeks I was so focused on my child starting school.  I thought he was safe, I thought I had time but I didn't.  For some reason I keep on thinking of lines of Psalm 23 and William Blake and this song by Missy Elliott.  Why is brain doing this to me?  I don't know the answers to anything. But I know this feeling very well.  It's a feeling like I'm moving through molasses.  If I sit down I don't want to stand back up.  I don't feel anything aside from the occasional faint burst of anger or sadness.  The rest of the time I am blank, going through the motions, doing the bare minimum.  The apathy, the physical pain, the anxiety, it feels like the beginning of depression.  I hate this feeling and I know the road it takes me down.  I hate it so much.  I have been making a sincere effort at normality for my daughter but it's not going very well.  She's in the middle of adjusting to kindergarten and now our dog has disappeared.  Everything is a mess.  I can't concentrate, I keep forgetting things, I am not being a good mother or spouse or person this week.

My rational part says do not sit on the soda staring at the ceiling, get up, get up, get up, do not eat ice cream for dinner, go work out, go for a walk, a run, clean something do something, whatever.  I can't.  I can't do anything.  At night I don't want to go to sleep.  I'm totally overwhelmed, everything keeled over and spread out all over the floor but I'm too apathetic to care.  The only thing I've managed to do is look at pictures of rescue dogs online and Google situational depression adjustment disorders because my past life experience has taught me that big changes and a yawning maw of free time are a downward spiral to nowhere good.


The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters,
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake,
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thy anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My friend, my friend

What can I possibly say?  Today is the birthday of my friend who took his life some months earlier.  He would be 38 years old if he were still alive.  I can't tell his story, but the significance is not lost on me.  Today is day marked by grief and loss and the stupid senseless feeling of helplessness.   I thought I would feel more rage but I feel blank and sad instead. 

Redgie, my lovely little dog of seven years, is laying beside me unconscious.  He looks dead.  The only sign of life is the faint flutter of his heart.  For the first time in 24 hours he isn't in pain.  That is a small mercy. We're dreading tomorrow because tomorrow will be like today, only worse.  The chorus in my head is asking how could this happen?  But I know exactly how it happened.  In my arrogance I thought we could beat the odds with a breed of dog genetically predisposed to linger in a limbo of suffering.  This is the worst thing that could have happened to him short of being hit by a car.  My friend is partially paralyzed.  He's had all the drugs but he was still in excruciating pain.  He can not sleep or eat and his body will shut down without continuous invasive intervention from a vet.  This is horrible.  It's awful.  It hurts and my little daughter can't possibly comprehend what is going on.

If you don't know Redgie's story is goes like this: when my husband and I were dating way back nine years ago I made him promise me when we got married we would get a miniature brindle dachshund and name him Redgie.  The name is a running joke from when we first met.  A few months after I moved to Germany I found out that miniature dachshunds are an American thing.  There were very few in Germany and I could kiss my dream dog goodbye.  Then one night on a fluke I found one breeder in Bavaria who sold miniature dachshunds and they just so happened to have two brindle puppies.  What were the chances?!  But since we technically weren't supposed to have dogs in our apartment we wouldn't be able to get one.

Several weeks later after talking to a neighbor my husband found out there was another dog in the building.   He then did a very not typical rule-following German thing and decided to flout the apartment rules.  We were getting our little dream dog.  I took the money I had set aside to buy new living room furniture and we drove down to Bavaria and bought this very funny quiet little puppy named Ernie.  Of course we changed his name to Redgie like we planned.  He's been our side kick ever since.

Top of the mountain.
Since we were trying to hide him from our neighbors Redgie never really got properly socialized.  He doesn't like strangers.  To us he is the most loyal, loving, gentle, sweet dog we could have asked for.  In our early Hamburg days he went everywhere with me.  If I was taking out the trash or taking the laundry to the basement or running errands he was always there.  He took vacations with us.  H carried him to the top of Kitzbuheler Horn in Austria.  Sometimes when we would leave him alone at night we'd come home to find him sleeping on a pile of laundry stolen from the hamper.  Even when we were just gone a couple of hours he missed us. 

Laundry thief.

Living in Germany hasn't always been easy for me.  Having Redgie has kept me from getting depressed.  A dog has to be walked and go outside and play.  Having him kept me moving and happy when I might have otherwise fallen.  Like most dachshunds he is particular and funny.  Getting him was one of the best decisions I ever made.  He has brought so much laughter into our lives.  But I will never buy a dog again and I will never own a pure breed dog.  The health problems are too cruel and heart breaking.  To see an otherwise healthy animal deteriorate before my eyes because of his breeding is too much for me. 

Later in his life Sophie would steal his baby blanket but when he was a puppy it was all his.
Hamburg: in the beginning.

My cuddle buddy.
 Redgie and I formed a special bond after my husband started being sent away on business around the time we moved to Malente.  He was what I came home to after work every day.  He was the only one there when I was sick with my pregnancy.  He kept my spirits up and made me laugh when I felt terrible.  He would lay his head in lap after I had been at work all day and his little doggy cuddles made me feel loved and needed.  I was never afraid to be in the apartment alone because I had Redgie.  For the many months my husband had to be stationed in another region. Redgie was there with Sophie and I.  He's a part of our family.  No matter how tough caring for a baby and stubborn little dog in a foriegn country could be I never considered giving him up.  It would have been as practical as giving away my lungs.  Just like my husband and daughter Redgie feels like a part of me.

Doxie stubbornness says no stick is too big.
Checking out architecture together.

The thing that Redgie loves most in the world is the beach and chasing anything and everything.  He's had a happy life and he got to visit the beach regularly.   One of the things that makes this so painful is that we took excellent care of him.  The vet says he is as fit as a three year old dog.  He's been loved and regularly exercised and we did everything right, everything that was supposed to prevent this from happening.  But it didn't and now here we are facing the ugly decision.

He really hates wearing sweaters but he has insufficient fur for the Winter cold.

He loved this wind up mouse to death.  Literally. 

My happy little guy.

He didn't like her much but he still watched over her and gave her kisses when she cried.
Sunbathing with his toy.

He also loved this pig to death.

Redgie never liked children but he eventually adjusted to having Sophie.  Now they are friends they play together all the time.  Sophie loves her dog just like we love him.  He gets upset when she cries and will run to her and lick her face or roll over until she smiles.   She had her first laugh because of him and he is still the funniest thing in the world to her. 

 I really don't know what we are going to do without him.  Every time I try to think about it my mind goes blank. 

He started to like her more when he figured out she had food.

Beach honeys.

We were planning on taking another beach vacation in Denmark next year.  I wanted to see Redgie run on the beach again but now it may not happen.  

'Hunting' birds from the window.

 It breaks my heart that Redgie is unconscious for what could be his last night with us.  Because of his pain we will never get to properly say goodbye to him or tell him how grateful we are for the joy he has brought us.

And how can we decide if he lives in pain or finds release in death?  Is it selfish to keep him alive or selfish to kill him?  I turn the coin over in my head but I can't find any answers.  I don't think there is an answer.  In all the ways that life is senseless this is one of them.  Nothing can rationalize the loss, nothing can make the decision any easier.  He is a part of me and losing him is like having something vital ripped away.  I feel like I shouldn't be able to breathe but I can.  I feel like I should be bleeding but I'm not.  Redgie is alive next to me but it feels like he is already gone.  It isn't fair because nothing is ever fair.  Loss is senseless and breaking.  I don't know how we will face tomorrow but I suppose we will face it together.  

Please be ok Redige, I'm not ready for you to leave us. 

Monday, September 8, 2014


I was bored so I decided to bore the Internet with a bunch of what I wore selfies.  Because, why not?   I thought that this was going to be one of those Summers where all I wanted to wear were dresses but then in the middle I changed my mind.  This year shorts are where it's at for me.  I plan on taking them into fall by layer sweaters over the top.  Something about the long sleeved plus shorts look is appealing to me.  I noticed faint varicose veins on my upper leg the other day.  Isn't that interesting?  For whatever reason I thought those age things wouldn't start to creep up on my until I was in my 40s.  So far I've got graying hair, wrinkles, mysterious red skin spots and now varicose veins.  Ah well, at least I don't have to worry so much about street harassment anymore.  Silver linings. 

Boot cut jeans are a new favorite.  I hadn't bought any since I had a baby but it seems that my body has sort of settled down with the drastic physical changes so I thought it was safe to buy real clothes again.  I was missing a black blazer but today I stumbled on one at Zara for a measly €25 and after very little thought it went home with me.  Then because I felt slightly sad I impulse bought this beautiful and stupid black coat that I do not need.  What!? 


P.S. Yes I know, I'm a lost cause.  I should not ever go into Zara for any reason for the rest of my life because I have zero impulse control when it comes to beautiful black coats with giant silly fur hoods.

I own you.
The end.