There are moments in life when time stops. The clock keeps ticking. The seconds still go by. But in your mind, time has stopped and that moment that you’re stuck in is a moment you will likely never forget.
That’s what a cancer diagnosis for our dog – our Meg – was. A moment that froze time.
It was then that I thought I started grieving.
Most of the time, time starts again. And you forget about the seconds, minutes, hours or days lost. But sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t. I mean, yeah. I heard the diagnosis. I saw the x-rays. I read the book, did the research, agreed to the surgery, helped her heal from the surgery, got her holistic treatments, changed her diet, went to vet appt after vet appt.
I did it all. And yet I didn’t do enough. And time froze until last Thursday.
Two months exactly after we were given the three month diagnosis. Two months was all she had, not three.
And it was then that I knew I started grieving.
People tell you time heals all wounds. They tell you that you’re stronger than you know. They tell you all kinds of other bullshit that is meant to be comforting. They mean well, I see that.
But I’m still grieving so I want to tell them to fuck off, but I don’t.
Because some wounds don’t heal. Some wounds don’t need time. They need a miracle.
And this miracle isn’t going to happen.
And right now, I feel weak. And it’s okay to feel weak. I don’t always have to be superhuman. I don’t always have to be the person I’m supposed to be.
Sometimes I can just be.
Sometimes I can just be everything I’m not supposed to be.
Sometimes I can just do what I can, even if it’s not enough for everyone else.
Because sometimes, I’m just still grieving.
Very few people recognize the kind of bond a person and an animal can have. And even those who do may not understand this. And if you don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, this analogy will certainly be lost on you.
But Meg? Meg was my person.
She got me. She gave me unconditional love. She knew what I needed before I knew I needed it. She was there for the worst – and the best – times of my life. She stood by me even on my darkest days. She never judged. She never pointed the finger. She never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
She was my person.
And now she is gone.
And I’m still grieving.
And life seems like it’s lost a lot of it’s luster now that those perky ears and endlessly wagging tail are no more.
They say there are five stages of grief. I’m disappointed in whoever came up with that idea. Grieving isn’t a progression for me. It’s not about stage 1-5. It’s a thousand steps back and then trying to figure out how the hell you move forward when life is forever altered.
One step forward, twenty steps back. Five more steps back. One step sideways. One step the other way. Ten more steps back. And finally, an inability to figure out when you make any steps forward.
And there are no stages.
I’ve found denial, anger, depression, acceptance and bargaining all at once. And then I’ve found none at all and only found guilt instead. They exist, then they don’t. They appear then disappear.
There is no rhyme or reason to which one fits my mood. There’s no underlying reason why I go from fine to inconsolable in minutes. There’s no organized sequence of events. There is nothing but ugly chaos. I am not progressing through these stages. They are swallowing me whole.
And this is how I know I will always grieve.
Nathan told me this will leave a scar. But scars come from wounds that heal so it’s okay. But I’m certain that this is a wound that will never fully heal. This is something that five days, months, or years from now will still leave this lump in my throat.
It may not be as big. It may not shake my core the way it does now. It may not even form a tear.
But she was my person.
And her being my person makes sure that this wound will not ever fully heal.
And this is why I’m certain I will always grieve.
Cancer is a bitch. And if you’ve had to face it in any way, shape or form – I am so sorry. It affects you in a way that nothing else does and in a way that nothing else can prepare you for. I am so sorry for your sorrow, your grief, your loss, your struggle. Cancer takes and never gives. And even for my worst enemy, I could not wish that upon them.
Even though (right now) I never want to love that deeply again, I encourage you to love the ones nearest to you more fiercely today than you did yesterday. I encourage you to take a photograph of the simple moments that make you smile. I encourage you to hug a bit harder, laugh a bit longer, and smile a bit broader today.
Because even when you know your time is limited with the ones you love most, no time is long enough to make this ache feel manageable.
No time is long enough to remember everything that creates someone’s best qualities.
No time is long enough to make goodbye an easier word to utter.
Because no time is long enough to put an end to this kind of grieving.