So here is the thing. Life is full of distractions. My attention span is getting shorter and shorter. I often don’t follow up on my plans and practices. It’s part of my humanness. But here I am, showing up again. This must be part of the practice. I’ve given up on perfection. It’s hard to maintain. It is not possible. There is a flaw in me, everybody and everything else. It is part of the universal struggle. Life and nature happens. That is the law. There is no blame.
I am struggling these August days. Mornings are darker and cooler. I miss the light and warmth of those summer days when the sun rises by 5:00 am. Then, my sunroom was bathed in bright light and warmth. I was infused with its warmth and brightness. My unease is a response, a signal that autumn is on the heels of summer. No need to worry or panic. It is my nature’s response to the shortening of the days and lengthening of the nights. I’ve been this way forever and a day.
It is time for me to accept and come to terms with this part of me. I have. I’m doing so much better after having Sheba in my life. Her physical leaving was difficult but it is nature’s cycle of life and death. Nothing can change that. And so I grieve and miss her. Some days more than others. Then the grief changes. It grows softer and I’m left with those tender precious memory of her spirit and our time together. I sift through the lessons learned and strength gained.
I raised her from scratch at 2 months old – with just one book from the library and a largest dog crate from PetSmart. Boy, it was a tough go for quite awhile. I expected a puppy to have breakfast and walk together with. I did have that but it took years instead of days. There were so many days that I would moan and groan. There were many days that I almost gave up. Her beauty and brain were her saving grace.
She was so pretty. She would shake a paw and then the other paw. She could crawl and roll over in no time. But she did jumped alot and was scared of everything. I knew nothing of dogs. I knew nothing of a Border Collie Lab mix. Sheba was that EverReady Bunny. We did alot of walking. We went to off leash parks. We got into trouble here and there. I lost 20 pounds with all that exercise. In the end, she and I were a perfect pair, soul mates. She taught me the rewards of patience and stick-with-it-ness.
I’ve come full circle. I am dogless, Sheba-less. I’m not quite the same though. I am stronger and more accepting of how things are. I am more accepting of how I am. I cannot force myself or others to be other than what we are. But I can change the way I think and see. I can choose to see my glass half full instead of half empty. I can accept my vulnerabilities and work with them instead of fighting against my natural tendencies. It’s sticking with me now. I now longer run away from my shadow self.
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.