Over the years I've had mild bouts of depression but nothing on this magnitude since I transitioned to AIDS twenty- two years ago. Back then I thought that I was never going to get AIDS and when I did, it caused the worst mental health crisis of my life. I cried all day and I was barely making it through my daily routine. I started medication but I think the turning point was when I started speaking at high schools here in Chicago. God gave my life new purpose and meaning and that turned things around.
The other day, I Googled "dating" to get pictures for a blog post and the images that popped up were all of some sort of reference to dating online. Like for real, for real, so many pictures came up with computer images with hearts that I rechecked to make sure that I had actually searched "dating," or that some sort of auto-correct hadn't led me to online dating. LOL!
Nausea and exhaustion merged and sleep took over. I woke the next morning in my hotel room curled up in the middle of the bed hugging the pillow. Something had come over me last night and it had been cathartic. I knew I needed to do better. "Sophie is not coming back," I told myself. "The good thing is the joy she brought you for eight years," I mumbled. I remind myself of this daily. I remember when Oprah lost one of her white labs, Gracie after one year. She watched her die from swallowing a small toy. I had just gotten Sophie and could not even image the pain she felt. I shuddered to think about it. I had Sophie for eight wonderful years.
I'm drowning in the chaos of my life. It started back in February when I started this emotional eating and Cheetos were always in my right hand, going straight into my mouth. Now, in full disclosure, I took a moment a couple of months ago to examine what had gotten me so off track and all roads led to a man that I wanted, but who didn't want a relationship. So I walked as hard and as fast as I could to a place where I could hold onto my dignity. For me it's simple. No matter how much I want a man, I never want to keep him at the cost of me.
Grief is a monster! I'm learning that it also sticks to you like Gorilla Glue. Honestly, these last three weeks dealing with the loss of Sophie has been new territory for me. I've never felt this level of sorrow for anything even when I lost my first two dogs. When Imani died I was sad and I cried a lot, but it didn't effect my bottom line. She had lived 12 years and while I was very sad, I was not overwhelmed. I had also done everything possible for her lung disease and was at peace with that fact. Of course I still had Nambi, who was Imani's baby and she was my constant companion. I had Nambi for 16 years. She and Sophie overlapped for almost four years. When I put Nambi down, I felt like she had lived a long and good life. I blogged about Nambi when I first started. You can read it here.
Two weeks ago today, I stopped living after I put my baby girl Sophie down. Like for real, for real. Honest to God, I have never felt grief on this magnitude. While I still had breath in my body, my life stood still. Sophie was a special dog that left a foot print on everyone she encountered. For a moment I didn't think that I could go on. The grief was all consuming but like with most things in my life, I kept going in spite of the pain. So here I am, still missing my baby girl and adjusting to life without her.
It felt like the life had been sucked out of me when a specialist/radiologist told me that my dog Sophie has a tumor the size of an egg on her liver. But I felt like I had been sucker punched today when I learned from the new veterinarian that I switched her to, that the tumor was actually the size of a grapefruit, maybe close to two and not an egg. I know it to be true because I saw the tumor on the xray myself.
I pushed my Chanel handbag to the side and my toilet bath began. I tore off a good size piece of toilet paper and dipped it into the ice-cold toilet water. Then, I began to wash my body. I wiped off as much as I could from my behind, and then flushed the toilet paper. I pulled off another piece of toilet paper, dipped it in the ice-cold toilet water and repeated the procedure. Dip, wipe, flush, dip, over and over. After I'd gotten every single ounce of poop from one part of my body, I proceeded to the next until every trace was gone.
As I strolled down Chicago's Magnificent Mile, I was feeling too good and looking too cute to do anything other than take full advantage of the great weather. Chicago's premiere shopping area was bustling with shoppers and sightseers, and I was one of them. Looking like a diva, from head to toe in my black and white pinstripe St. John's pantsuit.
I'm always amazed at how women respond to my blog posts both good and bad. I used to internalize this stuff until I realized that the response really isn't so much about me, but about them. I find this to be true no matter the comment, good or bad.