It’s another Saturday morning. In my previous life, I think of my weekly morning swim. In this life, I think it is the day that Sheba’s left. Today it is 6 weeks. It’s short and long at the same time. I’ve had her for almost 14 years. Those years seemed to have gone in split second. I feel as if I’m left with nothing. I know it is probably part of the grieving process. Knowing things will get better does not make it easier. It is what it is.
Life truly can be difficult even in ordinary times. Now that there is no more ordinary or normal, bad neighbours add a heavy load to the challenge. I am coping as best as I can. I’m here breathing in and out, tapping out the stress on my keyboard. I had such hope of getting back my focus each day but I keep getting these curve balls. They’re fast and wicked, catching me off guard and unprepared. I should have known better. I didn’t. Now I’m working on recovering.
I’m still missing Sheba. I’m still irritated with the neighbour but I am not mad. I am obsessed with occupying my own space with confidence and not allowing her to bully me. She is not taking it kindly. I don’t know how successful I am. I am working on remaining calm and not reacting. I try to be smarter and keep silent but sometimes you can only take so much. So here is what happened yesterday morning. I was checking to see that she had not scraped away the ground covers I had planted. She ducked behind her plants and started talking at me. For once I’ve caught her on video and uploaded it on YouTube.
I hesitated and hesitated on putting it out there today but I did. I could not get on with my day otherwise. It must be why an abused woman who stays with her abuser. I was afraid that it would make me look bad, that no one would believe me, and that I’m really the one whose causing all the trouble. It was a light bulb moment. If you allow someone to bully you long enough, you start to believe that it IS all your fault. Bullies, narcissist, pyschopaths have amazing skills in lying and turning everything around on their victims.
I am a little afraid of her but I will stand my ground. I am fed up. I will not take it any more. I am not happy I’m losing sleep, giving her my time and energy. It is what it is. Now that I’ve tapped out these words, I feel lighter and tired. Now maybe I can go back to bed and sleep.
There are times now I can smile instead of cry when I think of Sheba. When I woke this morning I heard the guy in the kitchen. It was like other mornings when Sheba was here on earth. The two of them would make coffee. Then I would hear the kibbles drop into Sheba’s bowl. I could hear her crunching- more thoughtful now that she’s older. I knew that this was in the past, but the sounds and feelings were the same. I was hearing the wonderful sounds of an ordinary morning. And I smiled.
Over yesterday and today, I’ve washed Sheba’s bowls and toys. I cried then, clinging to the doggy memories attached to these things. I will store them away. Maybe we will be graced with another tender canine heart in awhile. For now I will just be with how life is, not trying to fight or change anything. Some days are better than others but I am always making an effort. However small it is, it is my best effort at the time.
I hope I don’t sound too obsessed and depressing. I am a little melancholy by nature. I’m a little more so in my writing. It is my tool for venting and working through my thoughts, feelings and problems. I am by no means a slouch or a couch potato during this period of mourning. I still get up, dress up and show up every day. I might be operating on a slower speed.
It is another day. I’m still working on this post. I must be slow as molasses in winter. It is summer and we’ve just starting to have some warm days. I did find it difficult to get out of bed this morning. Not all mornings are equal. I was thinking there was no Sheba to get me up. So I must do it by myself. And I did. That’s pretty good, isn’t it?
I’ve been having more frequent moments of missing Sheba the last couple of days. It has been acute today. I haven’t gotten around to storing her bowls yet, but I did bag up her Kong bed yesterday. It did make me feel better in moments. Other times it gave me such an acute longing and missing her. Fourteen years is hard to erase and process.
Though both we and Sheba knew that our time together was coming to end it is still very difficult. Towards the last couple of months of her life, Sheba stopped sleeping in the bedroom with us. She retreated to the livingroom or the sunroom. Perhaps she was preparing us. So my tears come. My tears flow this morning as I biked down the alleys we used to walk. I see that the squash grower has planted potatoes this year instead. Memories, images and tears come as I pedal.
I tell myself I have to do something else beside cry. So I practice riding with just one hand on the handlebar, then the other. I’m not good enough yet to use one hand on and to signal with the other. I can manage a quick scratch of my nose. I practice looking behind me for traffic. I want to get enough confidence to ride down busier streets. I still have goals. I’m still interested in improving my skills of living.
I took a little break from my sadness. I worked in the front yard. I put myself in every corner, reclaiming every inch of it. I am not letting the neighbour bully and throw her weight on my property. I wonder what kind of person would plant little trees on a neighbour’s property, right along my raised garden bed. I wonder what kind of person would have the Weedman spray pesticide right along that bed of vegetables. I’m wondering but not expecting any answers. Living next to this person has deepened my sadness in these times.
Now it is almost 8 o’clock in the evening. I love sitting out here and watch the sun playing shadows on the garage wall. In other times, Sheba would be laying here beside my feet. She is ok. I don’t have to worry about her now. I’m ok. We’ve had our time together. I am no longer angry with the neighbour. However, I am a little afraid of her venom and malice. I do not care about the row of little evergreens beside the raised bed. They have nowhere to grow but over her driveway. .
First things first this morning. I had to join in for the online YWCA morning exercise class on Zoom. I have to get back to a regular schedule more than ever now that there is no Sheba to take me out on our walks. Then I had to hang up the laundry, clean the toilet and wash the bathroom floor. The phone rang. I had missed an appointment. Sorry, sorry, sorry! Can I reschedule? Of course I could since it was my bank and really, they do work for me. They’ve left me waiting, dangling my heels a few times and not for a short time. But I mustn’t forget tomorrow though. Today the toilet was more important.
I have to admit that I am a bit of a train wreck. I must try a little harder not to steam up, cry about Sheba and blow my stack over the woman next door. I should put away Sheba’s leftover food and her bowls. Every time I walk by them, I forget and think I should fill her water bowl. Then the tears start. And really, that woman next door…I know that I should get her out of my system once and for all. The truth is I am only an ordinary human being. I can let it go for awhile. Because she is so good and smart at what she is, she will catch me unaware again and again. She has done so for over 10 years. But at least I have reported her to the police last year and again recently. There’s not much they can do about alot of her crap, but trespass is against the law.
Tomorrow is here and I mustn’t forget about my appointment this afternoon. My phone rang again. It is those scammers who said they’re from Service Canada again. So I pressed 1 as the recording says to know more details. I demanded to know their identity and where they are calling from. I demanded and shouted. I’ve done this a few times now. They’ve hung up on me. Sometimes I hang up on them. I am angry. I am just so angry. Tears come. My stomach goes into knots. There is no love in my heart. I know not everyone is evil but evil does exist. Some people are just bad.
I know Anne Lamott said that anger is a form of prayer. I believe it can be but I also know that it is not good for me. It is killing me now and I must feel it and release it. So I letting it out like a long foul fart. There you go, just passing wind. I hope I can be sweeter tomorrow.
So here I am again….finally…stumbling…exhausted…sad. There is no life as usual anymore. Was there ever? I am no longer filled with false hopes and bravado. Life truly sucks and I am not here to gloss over the muck. Sorry for negativity but I am exhausted and crazed living next door to a pyschopathic neighbour for over 10 years.
I know I should not give her this space and energy. That’s what feeds her but I am unable to let it go. Just let it go. It’s such a familiar phrase, a panacea for everything. Let it go. I wish I could. If only I could stop my thoughts and feelings at will. Then I would be sleeping peacefully now. Instead I am sitting here in the dark, tapping out all the ugliest inside of me. It’s the worst part of me, the hanging on to the evil and uglies of others. In this, I’m like a dog with a bone. I chew and chew on it till I’m eaten up by the hate I feel.
I’m not sounding like Pollyanna now, am I? I am grieved by Sheba’s passing. My sorrow changes from moment to moment and day to day. Thoughts and pictures bring tears to my eyes. Panic gathers as I realize she is gone forever and now I stand alone. I have to be brave on my own without her by my side. Still, I am braver and a better human having had her for these years.
I am ok again for awhile having spew forth the truths of new this life. I have spoken with and filed a report about this neighbour with the police. This probably will not be the end of her trespassing and mischief. Any hindrance and deterrent buys more peace. An ear for my troubles is always a relief.
Good morning. How have you been? It’s 3 weeks since I’ve lost my Sheba. It’s such a short and yet long time ago. I’ve had her since she was 2 months old, almost 14 years. But it’s never long enough. She was 3 months short of her 14th birthday. I think of her, missing her presence in all my waking moments. How could I not?
It’s been difficult to come here, my space of refuge, of sighing and letting go. I’m still in the grasping stage. I now know what is meant by grasping at straws. I’m grasping and clutching but there is no physical Sheba. I feel breathless at times. I hear the click of her nails on the floor. I feel her presence – on her pillow at the foot of the bed, in the kitchen crunching her breakfast and making coffee with the guy in the morning, waiting for me as I come out of the bathroom. I’m ready to step over her but she’s not there. And so it goes.
The acuteness and sorrow of loss will mellow with time. For now I will just let them rise and fall. I will let the tears gather at the corners of my eyes, feel that lump in my throat and the ache in my heart. It is the nature of grieving. I had not been able to or allow myself the luxury of mourning my losses in the past. I had believed in keeping a stiff upper lip and keeping a tight lid on feelings. But Sheba has broke through that dam.
She was everything to me. She was always there and still is for me – my buffer against the blues and other ills. It’s high time I give credit for her work and role in my life. She has given much love and joy and many stories to be told.