Friday, August 01, 2008

went there again

I haven't added a new post in the last few days as we were away...again. I took the kids and the dogs back to the old town where Jeff and I met. The kids are always up for an adventure but my main motivation was to get Eli up there one last time....and to feel surrounded by people who knew Jeff too and had memories to share. Bittersweet.
We went to the small local aquarium to check out the sea life with the kids.

It was very cool. Liv's favourite attraction was the octopus. They fed it a dungenous crab. It actaully took awhile for the octopus to be interested in this tasty meal placed in the tank. It just sat there initially (Did you know that octopus are nocturnal?) allowing me a view out the tank window....Fuck. The Whisky Dock. The dock that I excitedly ran down to so very many times to meet Jeff when they had landed. I looked up and out the window and get a little thrill of anticipation. His possible arrival. We saw a boat come in. Liv asked if it was Jeff's boat and if he was coming home. "I really wish, love," was all I could say.

Staring at that tank and the dock on the other side was a bit of torture. To sound just a tad dramatic, I could identify with that poor crab. Stuck in this small tank with a predator that you know is going to attack at any moment and drag you down. My captor isn't an eight legged sea creature. It's fear, loneliness and even the memories at times. Maybe this trip wasn't such a great idea.

My sweet friend, Jill, was with us, though. It's hard to not giggle when she's around. So I survived.

One of Jeff's very best friends, Robo, was spending the visit with us too. The kids love him like a favourite uncle and it's so calming to have someone else around who loves the kids almost as much as I do...and will happily chase them and play with them without me feeling guilty that someone else is doing 'my job'. We took the dogs to the beach to 'run around'. It was fucking heartbreaking to watch Eli. He so wanted to play. Freckles was bombing up and down the beach. Ziggy, Eli's best buddy for years and years when they were still pups, barked and roamed along the shore. Eli hobbled. Barked in frustration. Tried to follow Freckles out for a swim and had to be 'rescued'....twice. I've been thinking off and on about getting him a doggy cart. I do think he'd be able to get around when he had it on. But what about in the house. What about when I had to run errands and I couldn't attend to him like I would want/need to? What if he flipped in the backyard and I didn't find him until hours later? I want to keep him around. I don't know if I can handle losing him this year so close to the loss of Jeff...but I don't want him to have to suffer because of my situation. I wonder if I just need to be strong and help him to shed his poor broken body. I try to look at it from other people's eyes. To see it objectively. I can see both arguments. I can see a case for not saying good-bye to my pal just yet. He's not in pain. He still wants to run and play. But he doesn't like not getting around. He needs help in/out of the car/stairs/doorways. I always thought these things were cut and dry. I would murmur about it 'being time' when I thought I knew best because the person losing their pet had lost their objectivity. I don't want to do it too soon...for him. I don't want to let him down when it's inconvenient. But I also don't want to do it too late. When he isn't enjoying his life anymore. Will I ever really know? Are we really supposed to be the ones to make this call? Is letting 'nature take it's course' the right thing to do? He'd be dead in the wild if I did that now....
Luckily, my funny little ones inherited their wonderful father's terrific sense of humour. It's hard to dwell and mope when I have two little comedians as my tagalongs. I find the experience of our visit this time much less melancholy...although it has moments, it is different.

We went for dinner at one of the local restaurants on the beach. Liv so enjoyed the story of a date Jeff and I went on here. We were enjoying our dinner with another couple (I don't actually even remember who it was now) when Jeff suddenly got up from the table and walked outside. I watched him run down the boardwalk from this rather fancy eatery to the beach where he quickly stripped off his clothes (except for his underwear) and dashed into the ocean. He swam around for a few minutes and then reemerged colder but with a huge grin on his face. Everyone in the restaurant was transfixed by this odd behaviour and laughed as they watched him pull his clothes back on and come back up the boardwalk to finish up our date. He had tried to impress me and it had worked. Laughing does wonders for a newly budding relationship...actually all relationships.


kelsey said...

It's good to see you smiling! Hopefully as hard as the memories are there and being close to where so many of them were made will bring many more smiles to your face!

Hawkfeather said...

Your dog isn't in the wild- I think when reading your post here- you answered the question pretty well.
He isn't in pain- he is still enjoying life.

When that isn't true i think it will be *time*.

You said you always thought it would be clear- maybe it is.. and if it is not yet- it isn't the right time?
Not just for you but for your children- and for a friend (eli) who probably has no more desire to add to your burden than you do to have it added too.

If I know this dog (from knowing my own lost best furry friend) He- even if in some pain- *needs* to be here for you.. and that isn't you being selfish- it is the job he loves doing and it benefits you both.
fulfilling him in a way he most probably really needs in life....

He *i am sure* might not be able to run and swim- but he is providing you with something you need. I bet that makes him happy too.

just my 2 cents.
and I swear as an animal lover I am not stroking a stranger's ego because it is already suffering.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jackie:

It's Barb Chivers again, Matt's sorta cousin, and I remember reading that you were wondering about ways to make money. I used to be a soapmaker (along with my office job). It was a hobby that turned into a small business. I had to quit making soap after about four years because it was really taking off and I had two children and another full-time job. Anyway, soap is something you can make in your own kitchen and there is a market for it. The type of soap I am referring to is the old fashioned cold process method of soapmaking and there are lots of books and tons of info online about how to make it. People are thinking more and more about what they put in and on their bodies and if you fragrance these soaps with essential oils (not synthetic) people will come back again and again to buy your soap. Anyway, it's just a thought, and if you have questions about it my e-mail address is indybarb2002 at yahoo dot com.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My heart is broken for your loss. Your children are totally beautiful and your photos are fabulous. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You are an amazing writer.



Heidi said...

Jack, I remember that. I was working in the restaurant that night... was I your waitress? I clearly remember the rise he got out of everyone by doing that! I could tell that you thought it was hilarious. H. xoxo

leigh in the sav said...

another stranger come from matt's blog. have read once in a while and i just want to say remark on eli, because the experience with him is something i can relate to... you will know. and i had the same thoughts this year as i had to put alfred down - should this even be my decision? am i doing him a favor or not? - all i can say is you will know.

i agree with hawkfeather - if he doesn't have any pain, and still wants to be there - then you have your answer.

it is a horrible process to go through and i am so sorry it even has to be a consideration for you so soon after your loss.

you've got people from around the world sending you good energy and thoughts. i am merely one of them.

juanita said...

Hi Jackie,

I type this through tears; Shadow, our family's best friend for 14 years, was put down this morning. He had cancer, and we were heartbroken when we realized it was time to let him go.

You will know when it's time to let Eli go, too; hawkfeather said it best, I think.

It's one of the the worst - and most unselfish - choices we have to make as humans. I'm sorry you're having to face this while still reeling from Jeff's death.

That's more heartbreak than one person should be allowed to bear.

Sending you many hugs and positive wishes from my little corner of SoCal,


juanita said...


I love the story about Jeff leaving the restaurant, stripping down to his skivvies, and jumping into the ocean.

What a crazy, wildly romantic story!!

Liv and Briar are such good sports for the camera - that silly face of Liv's put a smile on my face, too.

You worry a lot about your abilities as a mother (to the human and canine pups); I think that's kind of like being crazy. Crazy people don't question their sanity; bat shit craziness is just their reality. Sane people, on the other hand, wonder if they are bat shit crazy because they feel insane at times.

None of the shitty parents (or shitty dog owners) I know wonder if they're shitty parents...I hope you can see where I am going with this.

The creatures that depend on you are thriving; I hope you can think of that the next time you wonder if you're doing the right thing for Eli, Liv or Briar.