27 days

Monday, August 4, 2008

the August page from my Cavallini wall calender.

It's 5:02 am and it is pitch black outside my wide open studio windows, it's been raining all night although it's stopped now, I think. I can hear the sound of dripping water and leaves rustling in the big trees in the front yard. It also sounds like Bleet, who's been out roaming with the raccoons since 4:30am is having a cat squabble over near Florence's garage next door. I inhale, a huge deep breath in. Breathing deeply really does feel so good. Such a simple thing. A sip of perfect coffee with lots of milk and the tiniest bit of sugar. And here we go again - it's another new day here at 29 Black Street, a new week and a new Monday. And it's very near the beginning of this new month of August, 27 days left sprawled out ahead of us.

I have been struggling and I guess that's no surprise to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. I have been feeling weighted down by Ache & Sadness. By Loss & Loneliness. Saying goodbye to Jake in January I said goodbye to a big part of me. He felt like my everything - he made me laugh, he was my comfort and security and joy. He was goofy, confident and demanding and I loved him more than I have ever loved anything or anyone. I adored him. And what to do you do with death ? there are no choices. I can't go back in time and change a thing and I can't go back in time and live all of our sweet moments over ... and over again, although God knows I've tried ... in my mind. Feeling all of this, is what grief is all about - what loss is. It's the other side of love.

I believe that I am doing everything that I know how to, to get through this time in my life and I know that eventually I will emerge again on some other coast. Washed up on some warm sandy beach, feeling whole again. I have to believe that. Lately when I'm feeling particularly sad I imagine my new life, the life that's ahead of me, somewhere, maybe it's just around the next corner. One where I feel strong, able, happy and carefree again. A life once again with 2 or 3 dogs many cats and a little tiny house within walking distance to the ocean ... somewhere else, and somewhere new.

Some of you who read this blog regularly may feel exasperated with the ongoing theme - of grief and sadness. I also know that there are others of you who know completely, this feeling of aching sadness, this feeling of being endlessly lost ... because you've told me and I take much comfort in those words. Most often I don't have any idea what I will write when I sit down here each morning with my coffee. I just write what's on my mind - what's been rattling around taking up space in there. I'm a heart on my sleeve girl, I always have been ... and I always will be. He's on my mind, ... he's almost always on my mind.

A friend many years ago said to me you show all of your weakness on the outside and then you shed them off ... I always considered that a compliment of sorts and I guess I'm still shedding some of my weaknesses.

So ... these next 27 days are about flushing out this new dream, this new life. It will be a time to be especially kind to myself, to be gentle and caring (and always, as well - to others). To be productive (because that always makes me feel happy & content). To not be afraid - to tackle and wrestle to the ground some of the bogeymen on my list. To be grateful. Enormously grateful and to remember to breathe.


  1. Such honest, thoughtful words, Susan. I think that's why I keep reading, because of your openess, your lack of artifice, and your beautiful photos. And your faith that things will get better.

  2. And J. I knew that you would leave a comment today. On a day when I wondered if I'd said too much, if finally I've been too wide open. If I was beginning to make people feel uncomfortable. But another day that I wanted & needed to speak how I feel out loud.

    Thank you so much my friend !

    And thank you also for the lovely red flowers received in the mail, a big smile for me waiting at the post office. I'll be emailing you. Wink.

    xo, S, Winnie Dixon and all those darn Cats.

  3. I am thinking of you, Susan, and I know very well that you can't rush through your feelings. You have to move slowly. I think that way you can better observe and gather things along the way that will stay with you when you emerge on the other side.

    Thanks so much for your wonderful words about inspiration on my blog today. I have just accepted a big project and am currently in the "Who,Me?? Why do they think I can DO THIS!" stage. So your reassuring words were most welcome!

    Edward and Apple send their love!

  4. Dear Susan,
    I tried to send you an email the other day, but I must have messed up the address as it bounced right back at me.
    You are right..you can't step into the same river twice; it's never the same, is it?
    I would like to say "Yes" to everything that j.wrote. I visit you for the same reasons.
    The tides of grief are so confusing, aren't they? Your journey is yours and no one else's. One person's "calendar" of grief is not the same as another's.
    I am encouraged that you know you will feel better and that the raw, sharp edges of pain will soften and you will come out on the other side whole and intact.
    I am sure (for me, anyway) that the missing of a loved one never stops. It just ceases to be the big raw wound. Remembrances are always there, but..again for me, they are filled with gratitude that that loved one was in my life, and they are illuminated by the joy, comfort, support and humor that one brought into my life.
    I think we all want to hurry through the black period and get it over with. Maybe we would do better to accept it as it is, knowing that grieving has its own time table.
    I know that as a stranger my words may not a be of comfort, but please know that this stranger thinks of you and your journey and wishes you the best...peace and daily joy.

  5. Thank you Pam & Ellen, he was so much more than a dog to me. He was like my child, my best friend, my confidante, my strength, my love, my purpose. I know that's why I still feel lost. A life that I loved, just disappeared.

    I used to tease people back who would give me a hard time about being such a home body and recluse. ... I would tell them "I'm in love with my dogs" and it was true. I was always happy staying home with my wonderful pack of three.

    And I do take great solace and comfort knowing that both Em & Jake lived long healthy senior dog lives, both of them lived well past their life expectancy.

    Dogs just don't live long enough.

    Thank you again. xo S.

  6. You are a wonderful person, with a precious, big heart. If you didn't, you wouldn't feel the sadness and aches within your heart of your loss. You are beautiful! Loss is not easy to deal with...baby steps...is often what it takes. Everyone heals in their own way....in their own time.

    Hang in there, Susan. You are strong deep within. I know it. I can sense it.


  7. Susan, I left a comment earlier, but it seems to have vanished. Your words show your bravery, that you are determined to be productive, to tackle and wrestle the bogeymen. Your words don't made me uncomfortable, rather they show your heart and your courage to keep going.

  8. Thank goodness for blogs, eh? Where we can pour out our hearts, our aches and pains, our joys and triumphs, and if someone reads them, that's great. If they don't, that's okay too. Because a blog is first and foremost a personal record. I find simply the act of writing down my feelings is comforting. And when people respond with kind words and I discover that others out there have been in exactly the same place, that's when the blog becomes a magic thing...a thing that brings people together. I think you honour us with your thoughts about Jake and the rest of your animal family. Some of us come to grief sooner, some later, but we all come to it eventually, and our blogs are wonderful places to help ourselves deal with it.

  9. Your words are so emotional and real. I love stopping here for a visit and a good read. I am sorry for your loss and sadness and echo your sentiment...dogs just don't live long enough. I adopted an old lady (8 or so years-old) from a shelter last year and I'm already panicking. I can't imagine how I'd feel if we had spent her lifetime together.

    Thanks for being so true.

  10. "Most often I don't have any idea what I will write when I sit down here each morning with my coffee. I just write what's on my mind - what's been rattling around taking up space in there. I'm a heart on my sleeve girl, I always have been ... and I always will be."

    --And I'm so glad you do. Very honest words!

    I deal with the same ennui Susan, maybe not as frequently as I have a family around to take care of but it is there in the background. If you've had a chance, you can hear it in my song list I recently put up on my blog.


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