An Embarrassment of Tears


Here's the short version: on Tuesday, my puppy was killed by a dog who broke through our fence when I wasn't home. I'm not ready to write about the details of it yet because to be very honest, I am embarrassed by my grief. All I can do is cry and cry and cry. I can't eat. I can't sleep. I have felt so wrecked, so utterly grief-stricken that my brain has gone completely mush. I am surprised by the force of this grief. I love my dogs like family. And the fact that my puppy died in such a violent way—well, it's just completely unbearable. I don't know how people get over this kind of thing. I don't know how I'll ever sleep again without him cuddled up on my feet.

Here's another thing: I feel shame. It's weird. I didn't do anything wrong. I did all I could to protect him. I never imagined things would happen this way. And yet, I feel like it's all my fault, I feel really bad inside. This isn't something new. It's always been this way for me. Strong feelings=shame. Or, actually. ANY feelings=shame.

I'm sure there's some link to my childhood, here. THERE ALWAYS IS. Whenever I felt ANYTHING, I felt shame along with it. Feeling good? MUST BE SIN, shame on you. Feeling sad? YOU SHOULD BE REJOICING, shame on you.

Ok, fine. So I know where this comes from but so what? Who cares? I'm kind of sick of understanding everything about myself. That sounds weird, I know. But here's the thing that annoys the crap out of me about therapy: you can understand your whole childhood but you still have to DO THE WORK of healing, of moving on, of figuring out other ways to take care of yourself. Therapy alone doesn't fix things.

And that is so stupid and unfair.

"Maybe he's just sleeping," Joss said. "Maybe Teddy is just taking a nap under the covers on your bed and we'll find him there."

"He's not napping," I said. "He's dead."

I don't believe in sugarcoating it. I'm not gonna say "he passed away" or "he's in a better place" or "he's fallen asleep." He's dead. That's the truth. We don't know where he is. I mean, I believe he's in heaven. I believe all my pets are there. But I don't know for sure. I'm not certain. I just have faith and, for me, that's better than knowing. Perhaps that's why faith is such a gift. It's a gift to havesome kind of belief in SOMETHING GOOD. It's a gift to be able to rest in that faith.

I will tell you what I DO know: I DO know that I can feel the prayers of my friends. When my friends pray for me, I feel it. I feel strengthened. I feel like it's all gonna be ok. Maybe I won't know how or why or maybe it will look a lot different than I expected but your faith helps my faith.

And somehow, that's enough.

I love you so much, Teddy. I miss you so badly my whole body hurts.