Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I've been doing pretty well in the last couple weeks with my diet and even more in the last week and a half with my exercise. I've been literally kicking myself out the door, even on bitter cold days. I need to do this. I need to lose the weight, get my blood pressure down, and rebuild my health. I feel I am making progress, slowly but surely, both in my physical and emotional health. I didn't lose a lot last week.. seem to have hit a plateau... but I'm better than I was at the beginning of January.
I find that sometimes grief can make you feel and do unexpected things. Sometimes there is almost a desperate feeling of wanting to run away from the grief or to do SOMETHING to make it less painful or wishing so badly you could change things... like bring my mother back, or my Dad, or my beautiful Missy, my heart dog.
I have a little stuffed Beanie Baby black doggie that my mother and sister bought for me when I first adopted Missy because it looked like her when she was puppy. All her life, I bought Missy so many squeak toys, chewies, pillows and you name its but she STILL wanted this little stuffed dog, and a few times she swiped it off my table. :) I wouldn't let her have it though because I was afraid she would chew it apart and swallow something that would hurt her. Now I keep that little stuffed dog visible in the house... sometimes I place it next to Missy's box of ashes and her pawprint. Sometimes it sits on my night table. Go figure but it helps me feel better to see it. I'm not talking to it or putting it on a leash so I guess I'm still doing "okay." :)
I was telling another friend earlier that I find that when I need to cry, I just have to let it all pour out, no matter how long it takes, and even as I cry, I pray for the Lord's help. Then when I feel more composed, I dig into my Bible and ask God to show me encouraging and uplifting Scriptures, and He does.
Right now, my treatment plan for my healing from this sorrow over losing Missy is a combination of things. I cry (a LOT), I pray (a LOT), I read my Bible, I pray some more. I wear my Missy memorial necklace, sometimes I carry her collar too when I go for my walks. It helps me feel better. I listen to Christian worship music. I am also finding that cutting my coffee intake down to a few times per week is helping my sleep patterns AND the exercise is generally helping me, getting out for those walks in the fresh air. It is beautiful in the country, it is good exercise. Also, talking and blogging about things helps... acknowledging things I'm going through... as long as I keep my main focus on the healing destination... in a way, it's like getting the emotions out of your system. But I have to keep my focus on God's promises to get me through.
Every day, one day at a time, I'm telling myself I can do this. I survived my Dad's death when I was little and my Mom's death a few years ago (or rather, their "homegoing.") Now my Missy is up there too. I have to admit that as much as I miss my loved ones, I really wouldn't want to drag them back down to this earth just for me.
I do understand that life is not forever down here. I know our pets usually don't last as long as we do. I know that loss is part of life. Yet knowing that doesn't stop the hurt when we lose them. All I can do is give my babies the best life I can give them, and all the love and care I can give them. If I am at peace with that, then it's just one step at time through the process of healing from their absence.
I can do this. I am healing. I'm trying really hard.
Monday, March 03, 2014
I had a few rough times this weekend as I ran into some friends who hadn't heard about Missy and I found myself trying to suck in my tears as I explained about her sudden downward turn and passing in December.
Tonight I found this article on Spark about grieving, and I found it helpful as it was yet another confirmation that I am not losing my mind but I am going through a process.
Thank you Coach Dean Anderson!
Monday, February 24, 2014
I found this video I'd taken a couple years ago of Missy coming for her nightly treats. She LOVED the Lamb & Apples Wellbars, even when she was fussy. Watching this makes me wish I could bring her back out of the video. I hope the video works ok and you can see her. Apologies in advance for my "babyspeak" to Missy and for some background messiness. :)
Sunday, February 23, 2014
This blog is as much for me as a record of my progress as for any of my friends who care to read it. I have committed to starting a new journey and regaining my health, which I really let fall apart for too long.
The last 2.5 months have been a work in progress for me. Since my dog Missy’s passing in December, it’s been difficult returning to a normal life. At the moment, I am trying to figure out a new normal even in the midst of a combination of other things I’ve been dealing with on top of the departure of my baby girl. When I saw my doctor a few weeks ago for a different problem, we discussed my depression over Missy, and he assured me that the stages I am going through are normal but recovery time is different for everyone; the length of time to heal is different. The advice was allow yourself to go through the emotions but keep reaching and believing to feel better.
Picture of Missy as a young dog when I first got her
From the moment I adopted Missy as a young dog, I always knew that someday losing her would hurt…losing my pets has always hurt and she became even closer to me than any other; in truth, she was closer to me than any human friends in my life (no offense to anyone). But even I was not prepared for THIS… I did not realize how bad this would be or how intense my grief would be.
I know that I have come a long way since December and I give all the credit to the Lord for bringing me this far, and for the loving friends that God has provided to support me through this. The worst of it WAS in the immediate weeks following her death. However, even now, two and a half months later, even I cannot believe sometimes how fresh and raw the pain of losing her feels. PLUS I have also been missing my Mom all over again… Mom would’ve have been the one I would run to in my grief over Missy except Mom passed in 2009. I have gotten to the point where I can look at Missy’s pictures and home videos SOMETIMES without crying. I have been able to return to doing some things I enjoy and actually enjoy them in the moment.
But then there are those days… those awful days… that pop up unexpectedly. Like last week. Like yesterday (Saturday). Days where my heart hurts and my emotions feel absolutely raw, and I don’t know where to go with myself.
Early last week, I was reading through my old Spark blogs and doing some “housecleaning” as I do occasionally. I had not realized before HOW MANY of my blogs shared days and experiences and special occasions with my Missy. As I reviewed them, I suddenly felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, it was difficult to breathe, and I found myself willy nilly deleting all my blogs. Every one. (I do have backup copies though.) But somehow, at that time, I could not bear to see them in my list. It just hurt too much. The same with most of my photos in my gallery… took ‘em all down.
Then yesterday, it was a gorgeous day, and I was eager to get out in the sunshine and air. A friend took me for a drive. We started out great; THEN, my friend turned onto a road that I’d often taken with Missy for drives and on the way to a favorite park. I started remembering Missy smiling and watching excitedly out the window as we drove to the park or climbing up between the front seats to kiss my face in her joy.
Without warning, suddenly streams of tears ran down my face, I felt a lump rise in my throat, and I found myself sobbing again. I told myself to stop, that I knew why this was road was affecting me and I should be able to stop. But I couldn’t. It was like I was drowning in grief all over again. And everything started to bother me… the music on the radio, the announcer giving the weather, even my friend talking… it felt like my nerves were suddenly raw…, I didn’t want to deal with anything and I couldn’t stop crying. Thankfully my friend understood, and finally, after a long while, I got the waterworks to stop. My friend and I managed to enjoy the rest of the afternoon but the pain was still there, and the tears would well up periodically without warning. Once home, I had a small meal, went into prayer and cried some more in my Heavenly Father’s arms. Then I put on some worship music and just sat listening, and it soothed me. I prayed in my prayer language which also soothed me. I thanked God for helping me again. I dove into my Bible, searching for comforting passages of Scripture, and that soothed me also.
The thing is I know I have been doing better but I am still in the healing process for my heart, memories and emotions. I am also dealing with so many other things right now that are probably compounding the stress… some health issues of my own including blood pressure and chest pains, family stuff, major house repairs that need to be made (beyond affordability right now), a job hunt, and more. My doctor calls it the snowball effect… where a whole bunch of major stressful things sort of roll up together and hit you at once. He is actually surprised that I am not doing worse considering all I am dealing with.
Before January of this year, my weight had ballooned up to 192, just 8lbs. shy of where I had been some years back. That was disappointing. My blood pressure had been too high. I was not sleeping well. Actually I hadn’t slept well in a couple years as I was always on “auto-pilot” in case Missy with all her arthritis and dementia issues might need me, or if my sister who’s had problems, might need me. Once Missy passed, however, the first two nights afterward, I literally passed out early. But then it started… the worst insomnia I’d ever had… no matter what time I got up in the morning and tried to go to bed early, I would lay there for hours, unable to sleep. I would finally doze off around 4am and wake up a few hours later. So I was averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep a night (or day depending on how you look at it).
Of course, I felt worse and worse. I didn’t feel well. I was exhausted. I had constant headaches and dizziness. I couldn’t concentrate and couldn’t think clearly. I was in crisis. And I was drinking copious amounts of coffee to get through the day.
So in January, I decided that I HAD to make changes and I HAD to start taking care of myself again. Despite the depression and the prevailing thought that I just wanted to “go home” to heaven and be with Missy and my Mom and Dad again, it was as though the Spirit of God inside me was urging “it’s not time yet, Karen. You can do this. I will be with you. But you have to do this.” I realized too, at some point along the way, I had given up on reaching for improving my life; I fell into survival mode instead of thriving mode and rather than fight through some stuff, I just let the chips fall where they may. Now, I believe from God’s Word that He will help me, He will deliver me and care for me. At the same time, however, I have to remember that even as God tells us of His part that He will do, we also have a part to do. God offers us all of Himself and His resources but He will not force them upon us. We have to decide to seek Him and receive from Him, just as we accept and receive our salvation. So I made a decision to reach for life again while at the same time respecting the grieving process I needed to go through.
So since January and even more in February, I completely changed the lazy diet and lack of exercise I’d gotten used to. I took an assessment of where I was in my weight and measurements, dusted off my eating and fitness program and started over. I am following a favorite (but modified) Weight Watchers exchange-based program which I followed years ago that was really balanced and worked for me. I began to push myself to do some kind of activity every day… walk on the road if possible, walk on the treadmill, climb the stairs in my house a few times. I was thrown off course a bit at the end of January with a stomach flu (and living on chicken broth) but I have been building myself back up from that.
I also realized that in my stress over Missy, I had somehow worked my way up to drinking 12-14 cups of coffee a DAY. No wonder my heart palpitations and insomnia were so much worse! So for now, I only allow myself a few cups of coffee per WEEK. That does seem to be helping with my sleep habits and the heart palpitations have decreased. My blood pressure lowered a little bit yet is still too high and my doctor has cautioned me to limit and manage my stress better, and I am getting more aggressive at protecting myself. I have to.
I am also using a beautiful leather journal that my sister gave to me to record my transformation journey this year… transformation in different areas of life, on many levels. I plan on this year being completely different. I am going to lose this weight, get fit and healthy, and I am going to conquer the other challenges in my life as well.
I stepped on the scale today and was happy to see I had lost 2 more pounds. After a day of church followed by healthy cooking (I’m cooking again!) for my week, I am getting ready to go for an evening walk. I’m thinking I’ll go visit Missy’s horse friend down the road.
Have a great evening, everyone!
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