Friday, February 8, 2013

Freedom is Nothing Left to Lose

We all have our times of year that stick out as the most difficult.  The December through February time is mine.  The list of breathtaking days is long.  Maggie’s birthday is December 9.  My birthday is mid-February.  Our anniversary is February 28 (and, every fourth year, the 29th too.)  So there’s those.  Now, with this year, I get to add a few more new losses.  As of January 1st, I get to add the loss of my grandfather.  As of last Thursday the garage has become very empty where Maggie’s Cool Car used to be. Most difficult for me to deal with is that on January 17th of this year I get to add another angel day for Maggie and my only child, our puppy Niko.  That’s a loss that has hung over my head as the unrecoverable, the one I couldn’t imagine, the one that just couldn’t happen.  Well, it happened January 17th.  It was awful.

I’m still here though.  I’m not sure how.  My meltdown was epic but reasonable.  Niko was the one single thing in my life that I just couldn’t imagine I could survive losing.  Well, as we all inherently know, nature doesn’t care about our preferences.  Nature is efficient and, in this case, strikingly violent.  In an instant, my baby – OUR baby was taken away from me.

Niko was the one living thing on this Earth that knew our entire journey from the beginning.  She was my last remaining connection to a past that I so, so adore and miss.  With her loss, my last remaining deep tie to Maggie was severed.  My heart is broken.

I feel like the last several months have served up more than my fair share of losses.  It’s like a larger force is giving me tough love – ripping the Band-Aid off without my permission, like I’m being given no choice but to be disconnected from what used to be my life – OUR life.  It hurts.  Damn it, it still hurts.

I try to be positive.  There’s nothing that could have hurt worse than losing Niko. So now, sadly and happily, there’s nothing that will hurt that bad again. Freedom is nothing left to lose.  Sure, there are more things that’d be bad.  But the freaky precision of picking off the one single thing that was the absolutely most important thing – I suppose that’s my freedom.  Now, I can breath easier because the last of the worst is done.  Now, I feel like I truly can begin to rebuild.


  1. Chris, this post brought tears. How beautiful! I can so relate as December through March are all my bad days. Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Vday and his death date in early March. My husband's favorite cat died 1 year after his death and I too was heartbroken.

    You are brave for being so honest!!! Wishing peace for you!

  2. Chris,
    As I walked to my computer this morning, starting my day with Widow's Voice as I always do, I said to myself, "it's Friday, Chris' day...what can he possibly write today after all he has been through?" My question was answered with your incredibly painful and poignant words. I breathe a deep sigh and ache for you. I have often said to the Universe, okay, you took everything else, you cannot take our babies...our cats and luckily, I still have them but when Niko was horrifically taken from you, I literally screamed "NO! this cannot be happening to my sweet friend Chris...he has been through enough!" Sadly, enough apparently wasn't finished. And yet, you ended your blog with words of hope. You are truly amazing and an inspiration. I wish you peace as you rebuild and start anew, one more time...take good care...

  3. My heart breaks with yours. I have been hanging on to my little dog for dear life. She was his dog and really not that interested in me, but we've been taking care of one another. It frightens me to think how important her needing me to get up and take care of her has been to my survival.

    But, you're right - once the worst thing that can happen has happened to you a couple of times you can shake your fist at the cosmos and say - Bring it on -- I've got nothing left to lose. You keep hitting me and somehow, like a punch drunk fighter I keep standing back up.

  4. Chris, I am SO sorry for the loss of Niko. The loss of a pet is devastating at any time, but I know that she was so much more than a pet. Losing another love who was a tangible connection to your Maggie must be heartbreaking.

    My husband loved our 2 GSDs (probably more than he loved me at times) and I have their ashes and those of my mother's beloved cat on my dresser right next to my husband's. When I scattered some of C's ashes over Christmas I mixed them with the dogs'. The four of them are forever intertwined in my heart and in my life.

    My thoughts are with you.

  5. I am so sorry! You are so brave to post your pain, but it does help to get it out there. "Life is suffering." Great. Just so hard to adjust to the loss of our attachments. Like, aren't we hard-wired to have attachments? Is this some sort of cosmic joke? You get tired of just breathing...........

  6. So very sorry for your loss. Hang in there, Chris!

  7. When the worst has happened to you and you still live - then you know you must carry on, as you said there is nothing left to lose.
    When my husband came home from the hospital I had to put our 13 year old dog down. I remember looking at her with such guilt, I had to choose. I couldn't look after a terminally ill husband full time and a disabled dog with dementia.
    I will forever feel sad that I couldn't take her, my daughters did.
    It took me over a year and a half to even think of getting another dog. I am so glad I did.
    I had to . . . .and every day I am grateful for the chance to love again.
    I know one day he will go too - but this time will be different. I know love and loss go hand in hand.
    It will hurt. But nothing will ever stop me from loving.
    Thinking of you.

  8. Two weeks ago today I lost my companion, my sweetheart, My lady, My dog Ginger.
    My husband died a little over 3 years ago and her & I were buddies. He picked her out at the SPCA.
    She could be a pain at times but my heart is hurting at her loss. She had 2 seizures 4 days before she passed.
    The vet said it was her thyroid & put her on meds.
    She just fell over dead in the living room. In May we would have had her 9 years.
    She was a good dog, I loved her a lot.
    I know the pain you are going through.

    1. 9 years. That's a decent time but just not enough. Niko, Maggie and me were together for just a little more than 10. Well, Niko and me had a good 10 years. Maggie and Niko got short-changed with only about six.

      I'm sorry about Ginger. And about your husband.

  9. I'm sorry. It is hard to feel at the end of the road with loss. I've said it a million times, anyone who has lost a spouse should get a "get out of jail free card". Our pain and grief is so heavy, that we should not have to endure any more of the hard parts of life. Crap on top of crap. I'm sorry.

  10. I understand, we lost our dog (child to us, sibling to my children) about a year ago, it was devastating. I lost my husband six months ago. I know you know the indescribable devastation with losing a spouse. I am terrified of something happening to my children. It isn't possible to live without fear of loss- that is how we connect and love. My heart goes out to you. My children have been asking for another dog, maybe someday.