Tag Archives: loss

Love is a four-legged word.

Phew…this has been the blog post I have dreaded writing the most.

Where we last left off – I had fractured my left ankle on June 11 in the middle of an obstacle course run and it threw me off of my half-marathon training (until August 2, to be exact); then, a little less than a month later, I lost my dad on the Fourth of July.

In the 2 1/2 weeks that followed my dad’s passing, I slowly got back on my feet. Friends and family were there to support me endlessly; and I had the constant love of my furbaby, Tappy. Anytime I needed to cry or just lay in bed, she was there for me without hesitation, giving me kisses and comforting me with her cuddles.

Sadly, July just had to be the month from Hell, and my furbaby was taken from me too soon.

Losing a parent is hard. Losing a dog is also hard (I have lost 2 in my lifetime). Losing my dad, followed by my dog 18 days later, was probably the hardest thing I have faced so far in my life.

Tappy was more than just a pet. She was my family; my baby. I took care of her for over 5 years, and it was not enough time. Those 5 years were the best years of my life with her; she was able to comfort me through some terrible losses in that time, and add an immense amount of joy to my world. Her constant love and companionship was something I relied on daily; that’s why I think losing her really sent me over the edge in a way that losing my dad didn’t quite do. When you are so used to taking care of a pet, used to them being in your home 24/7, used to feeling their presence constantly….it is something that does not disappear overnight.

I felt constantly lost. I hated coming home to my apartment knowing full-well that she would not be there to greet me with her beautiful face, her goofy whine, her silly running sprees, and her unending amount of kisses/cuddles. I cried myself to sleep nightly, and hated the thought of living in a world where she wasn’t present. It is still a thought that troubles me, to be truthful.

I will not go into details about her passing; it is something that haunts me, and will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. All I can say is that on that day, I was able to be with her as she crossed that rainbow bridge, and I am grateful that she was in her home with her mama.

The amount of love my little dog gave to me is something I cannot put into words. Sitting here reflecting on it and trying to think of a way to describe her….I simply cannot. If you knew Tappy, however, you know exactly what I mean.

Part of an exercise I was assigned in therapy was to write Tappy a goodbye letter. Last week, I was able to accomplish that, and read it out loud with her collar in the room. It was cathartic; it was emotional; it was bittersweet.

I do not want to fully disclose the contents of my goodbye to her – I feel that it is something deeply personal and it is something I would rather cherish with her (and my therapist…and probably my mother). To quickly summarize, however, I recounted the story of how my best friend and I went to the shelter and that the day I found her I knew I had to have her. She was the answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had, and she was exactly what I needed in my life. In my letter, I wrote some of my favorite memories and aspects about her, and I let her know just how much she meant to me.

I lost the furry half of my heart the day I lost Tappy. Reflecting upon the month of July is painful for me – I lost 2 huge parts of my life in less than a month. Still, every day can be a struggle; I cry at random times in the day when a memory hits me. Sometimes I will laugh and be so happy, and it is incredulous to me that in those moments I can forget how much pain I am still in.

They say time is the best healer – I suppose I’m learning that this is true. It’s a really hard truth to face; but slowly and surely, I am facing it. Through her short nearly-5 1/2 year life with me, she gave me enough love and affection to last for years to come. It just still feels like I was prematurely robbed of the opportunity to experience her love and her presence in my life for a few more years to come.

Tappy Lou…you will always have my heart. I cannot wait to see you when I cross over to the other side – I know that you, Gracie and Groucho will all be waiting there for me, tails wagging and ready to greet me with open paws.

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One year.

It’s pretty incredible how much can change, yet simultaneously remain the same, in the span of one year.

It’s been one year, as of yesterday, that my grandmother passed away, and one year today that I learned the news. It seems like it’s been longer in some aspects, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I had the “good fortune” (doesn’t seem like a fitting description, but words are failing me) to be there with her for her last day here on Earth. Our last words exchanged were that we loved one another, leaving not much room for regrets or anything left unsaid.

Regardless of the situation, it’s never easy to lose a loved one. However, in reflection, I am thankful that I was able to have that closure. She is the second grandparent I have lost, and so far I have been lucky in that, with both losses, I have had closure. Not everyone is able to have that when family members pass on.

I suppose this post is not just to commemorate the loss of my grandmother, but to recognize the role that losing a family member/loved one plays in life. It is a necessary evil that we all as humans have to face at some point. When it is a family member who you’re very close to, it can be even harder to process; but even if it’s not the closest relationship, letting go is never easy.

Unfortunately, at 25, I am now at an age where I don’t have much longer to enjoy the company of the grandparents I have left. My paternal grandfather died 14 years ago (as of January of this year), and my paternal grandmother one year ago. I am so thankful that I have both maternal grandparents, as well as two step-grandparents, that I can still spend time with; all are suffering health-wise, however, and I am coming to terms with the fact that they will not be around in my life much longer.

Though they may not physically be present, the lasting memories we have created and the lessons learned from them will stay with me forever. I am a firm believer that “the ones that love us never really leave us,” to quote one of my favorite films (Harry Potter). I know that even though I can no longer see or hear them, I carry them with me in spirit. Even through the times where I fight with accepting their physical absence, that thought can offer some solace.

With death and grief comes lessons; I have learned that I am strong enough to survive losing a loved one, even though the pain can be devastating. I have learned that I need to hold on to the loved ones I have left and cherish the time I have with them every day, whether it’s with a phone call, a visit, or just a kind thought. I have learned that it’s an ongoing process and it ebbs and flows; sometimes grief rears its ugly head when you least expect it, and sometimes you go days without feeling it. But most importantly, I’ve learned that it is manageable. I have been able to connect with others through learning of their own losses, and through discussing my own losses open and honestly. Human connection is one of the most important things, and being able to help others through their own grief is something that can even help to ease your own.

Sorry if this was a somewhat scatterbrained and therapist-like post; but it has helped me to write it. This is my personal blog, after all 😉

And I will ALWAYS be Royal.

Taking a break in my life story update to discuss current events that were just too important to wait to discuss.

The past few weeks of the 2014 MLB Post Season have honestly been a dream. Many have called us a “team of destiny”, breaking records while sweeping our way through to the World Series. For me, it’s just been an amazing journey to be a part of. For the first time in my life, my team finally showed me I hadn’t been rooting for them for no reason.

The weeks leading up to the World Series showed me what it means for Kansas City fans to truly come together. Everywhere I went, I saw countless Royals car flags, businesses and homes withy decorations supporting the Royals and people wearing their Royals gear. I had strangers come up to me and we bonded over our love of the Royals and how amazing it has been to be a part of this journey.

Really, Kansas City fans are just the best. We are some of the most loyal and dedicated fans you will ever find, because we are not in it for the winning records. The Chiefs have only won one Super Bowl, the Royals have made it to two World Series Championships (winning one of them), and Sporting KC…well, they’re actually pretty damn good. I’m just not a huge soccer fan, so I haven’t been paying much attention…oops.

Anyway. Us fans are used to being teased and tormented for rooting for “losing” teams. And you know what? We’re okay with that. We are not fair-weather fans. After years of witnessing the Royals miss playoff after playoff, we finally had something to celebrate.

I can honestly say we played our hearts out last night. It was a tough loss for me to witness, but we did nothing but our absolute best. It was an amazing World Series, an amazing journey, and we should be proud. We beat all the odds that were stacked against us, proving sports announcers and sports journalists wrong with their predictions. We swept our way through the ALCS and beat some records in the meantime. How can we be anything BUT proud?!

Despite feeling so much respect, however, I couldn’t help but feel sad. As I sat watching the Royals game in a local bar/grill, I sobbed like a baby while my friend patted my back. A stranger came up to give me a hug and told me that we will always have this postseason to remember, and countless others asked me if I was okay. For the moment, I wasn’t. I cried for the players, who worked so hard and who deserved that crown. I cried for us fans, who have put so much time and energy into devoting ourselves to this postseason and who watched our dreams shattered.

After a short while, I began to type up my feelings, which is typical for me when no pen and paper are handy. Excuse the rant, because I had a few beverages in my system, but this is what I wrote:

“You know, I’ve been a diehard Royals fan for a long time now. Obviously I’m disappointed in tonight’s results, but I will say this. I am no fair-weather fan. This is the first time our team has made it to the playoffs, and the World Series, in 29 years. Clearly I’m not in this because we’re a team heavily stocked with trophies. I’m a fan because our players are truly something special, and they choose to play for the Royals because of their love for the game. I respect that. The members of our team are truly talented individuals that have so much potential and so much in store for them. This post season has been nothing short of amazing. Should we have won tonight? Abso fuckin’ lutely. Not only did the players work their asses off to deserve it, but the fans deserved it too. Royals fans are some of the most loyal in the MLB. We are the fans that have dedicated our time and money to decorating downtown KC to show our support, to buying Royals gear and wearing it as much as possible and to watching every game this postseason. We are the fans that have never stopped supporting the Royals despite the long losing streak. This season, we finally got to see something amazing, showing us that all our dedication was not for nothing. We truly deserved to win this, both players and fans alike. Of course I am upset. I cried so hard for everything. For all of the torment and teasing I had suffered in the past for supporting a “losing team.” For the players. I truly had faith in us as a team. And you know what? I still do. We will return. It may not be next year, or even this decade, but we will return, and it will be an amazing comeback. Thank you, 2014 Royals, for never giving up. For showing us we really have a reason to believe in you. KC still supports you. Best of luck in the offseason, and I cannot wait to see what you bring next year.”

And I mean every word.

You go boys. 🙂

Love, an extremely avid Royals fan.

By the way, Tom Hanks was wrong. There definitely IS crying in baseball.

Closure.

I have been thinking about this post for over a week now. Simply because I wasn’t sure whether or not to even write it, what I would say that would even count as a meaningful blog entry, what my feelings even were, how I should be feeling and how to even explain my thoughts.

But, after several days, I have decided to share this story with you.

Last week, I received a phone call saying that one of my ex-boyfriends from high school was found dead in his dorm room where he was stationed in New York. I had not talked with him in nearly seven years. Seven whole years. And yet I found myself on the verge of tears for the whole night, thinking about this person who I remembered as a part of my past, yet knew nothing about as of recent.

I’ll start from the beginning:

Let’s call him “E”. E and I had a…well…complicated relationship. We met when I was about 12 and he was 14 or 15 through family friends. He lived far out of town, and apparently had a crush on me. After meeting him, he got my phone number from a family friend and called me, and we spent a summer talking on the phone through the distance. Eventually we lost touch and both went on with our adolescent years.

When I was about 17, however, I came across E again, we reconnected and started dating. It was a very short relationship, with long distance and our lives leading in different directions. I went to visit him with one of my friends…many things happened on that trip I do not care to share, but needless to say, the relationship was over by the end of the trip. We ended things on a horrible note. I yelled at him, told never wanted to see him again, and I never did. I never will, I should say.

Eventually we did talk a couple more times. No closure was truly gained. I heard E was very upset about the way things had turned out, he told his family that he would never intentionally hurt me, and that was that. We never spoke again.

From what I gather from his/my family is that E eventually had a child, quickly married and divorced, and enlisted in the army. He was deployed, and afterwards he stayed in the army. He had another child and quickly became wrapped up in the more, ahem,”fun” aspects of life. Apparently his party habits and his overall unhappiness caught up with him and his life ended prematurely.

Around the time E first enlisted, my grandma said that I should write him a letter, that she was sure he’d want to hear from me since it had been so long. I was still feeling stubborn and still hurt by what had happened that I said I had no interest in doing so. Looking back now, I can say that is a choice I regret.

Now, to the point of this story. I don’t mean to say that I am in any way not over my relationship with E. I have definitely moved on in life, I enjoy where I am right now and I love the guy I am in a relationship with now. I did, however, regret that I never received full closure from E.

I have always been one of those people that lives as if there is no tomorrow, soaks up every minute (for the most part) and tries to make every day have a little bit (or a lot) of fun in it. I try to never see anything as a regret. I do believe, though, that people do tend to regret the things they don’t do more than the things they do. And one thing I do regret a bit is not writing E a letter. I know that though things ended on bad terms, I would never wish someone ill-will, and I would never wish someone to die. It’s a tragedy that he was unhappy in this life, and it was a tragedy that he didn’t get the chance to see his children grow up. I do wish we could have had the opportunity to communicate and end things on good terms.

So, this is for you, E. Here’s my official closure. I hope you are finally happy and at rest, wherever that may be. I hope that your children grow up to be happy individuals. It is unfortunate the way things ended between us, that we never caught up over the years, that you will never read what I had to say, or hear it from me face to face, but maybe, somehow, you will wind up with this knowledge anyway. I wish you well.

Sincerely,

Calli

The right to grieve.

I’ve been on an unintentional blog hiatus. My deepest apologies; I haven’t had too much to write about until recently, but due to being overloaded with work and emotional obligations I’ve been too busy to post.

The past week and a half I have been forced to realize just how short life is because of the untimely passing of someone who was too young. You constantly hear that children are “supposed to” bury their parents, that it’s the “natural order” of things. It’s not something you think you’ll be doing at the ripe age of 23, however.

One of my best friends had to say goodbye to her mother less than two weeks ago, something that shocked all of us closest to her. Your parents are people that are supposed to be around forever, people that will always be there to answer your questions when you need them or to help you out when you need it. Losing one is something that shouldn’t happen until you’re older and have had years to appreciate them and all that they have done for you.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. I can’t even imagine what my friend and her family are going through right now, which is why I have been challenged, emotionally-speaking, the last week and a half. I have been grieving in my own way, feeling a little out-of-balance and upset. At first I was really conflicted. I didn’t believe I had the right to grieve. She wasn’t a family member of mine, she wasn’t close to me; sure I had met her several times, and I have several fond memories of her, but she wasn’t mine to grieve.

I expressed these feelings to one of my friends, to which she replied: “Sometimes I think we feel guilty for grieving, but everyone has the right to grieve.”

That made me think a bit.

Not only was I grieving for my friend and her family, I was grieving for myself. And I had/have the right to. Sure, she wasn’t my family; but she’s someone that had been a part of my life, even if for a brief time. It’s never easy losing anyone, no matter how big or small a role they played in your life. The right to grieve for the loss of a person is something everyone has, and something that no one should ever feel guilty about.

My grandmother has always been an advocate of taking responsibility for and power over your own emotions, and not allowing anyone else to tell you otherwise. I guess this is an area in which her advice really applies, and I should’ve listened to her sooner.

So, as a conclusion; I will allow myself to feel these emotions without feeling guilty about it. After all, feelings and emotions are part of what make us human, right? So, as a basic human right, it is something I will take responsibility for and power over, and I will not feel guilty for doing so. Everyone handles things differently in life; it’s up to you to decide how you want to think about, feel about or react to those circumstances.