Losing a Best Friend

This is probably one of the hardest blog-posts I will ever write. It’s a year in the making. Why do it now? Since I consider writing/blogging to be therapeutic, I think that “putting it out there” might help me heal.  I find blogging to be my community therapy session. I’m not looking for sympathy…..just trying to heal and move forward.

A little over a year ago, I lost my best friend.  We had known each other for just over 10 years. We had many things in common–both of us have Polish backgrounds, we both worked in banks as college students, both drove Ford Tempos, we each gave birth to twins in 2001–she had identical girls, I have fraternal boys–  our husbands are pretty successful and very career-oriented…..the similarities and shared-experiences are numerous.  She was the one person I could ALWAYS call for ANYTHING. And vice versa.  We had scheduled “Tuesday Morning Chats”….the one morning that we both were free to just….chat….catch-up….bitch….laugh…..cry.  Of course we talked to each other on other days if something spontaneous came up that we had to share. But we both looked forward to the Tuesday Morning Chat.

The year 2012 turned out to be complicated for both us….for our own unique reasons. Unfortunately, for BF, she *really* struggled with her issues. She went into a black hole. Very few people knew of her situation. I was one of them. I tried SO HARD to help her–to have her see her situation in not a dark and grim light. I called her every day. Despite our crazy hectic scheduled lives, and the hour or so to drive out to visit her…..I went out as much as possible. I even visited her in the hospital after her parents thought it best she receive care by professionals.  I keep replaying conversations. Is there anything I could have said differently? Could I have offered an alternative scenario? Should I have tried “tough love” rather than sympathy and empathy and a shoulder to cry on?

Sadly, I know the answers to those questions. There is nothing that I….or anyone else….could have done.  BF couldn’t see beyond her pain. Some people called her actions selfish. For those who really knew BF, she didn’t have a selfish bone in her body. She was so giving and thoughtful….to friends, family, and even strangers. BF was struggling with  a deep, dark pain. A pain she couldn’t bear to live with.

Since the loss of BF, I have been struggling. I think of her EVERY DAY. Tuesday mornings are especially hard. The body-clock won’t forget. I feel sadness, an emptiness….and even anger. I am MAD at her. WHY? WHY? WHY? And WHY couldn’t anyone help her? WHY did she not want to help herself?  Then the anger turns to guilt…..because I “shouldn’t” be angry at her, right?

I’ve had many people reach out to me, trying to console me, be a friend. All very nice people, and I truly do appreciate the effort. But it is hard to find the same connection that BF and I had.  I realize that friendships don’t “just happen”…they need to grow and be nurtured. But I’m looking to replace something that I desperately need….a best friend…someone to talk to….laugh with….cry to….without being judged…someone who wears similar shoes….someone who has similar feelings and opinions.  Ironically, there are a couple of people in my life that I could see fitting the job description, but they all seem to live thousands of miles away….kinda hard to drop in or even call with time changes and kids schedules. So then I end up feeling so alone….and it becomes a nasty circle….alone…angry…guilty….sad.

It’s a grieving process–my grieving process–one that will probably last a long time. It’s hard to replace a 10 year friendship.

Miss you, BFF.

 

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Grieving

apparently, it’s been a long time since I have grieved for someone I cared so very deeply for. And certainly, I have never grieved for someone who I spent 14 years living with.

It’s been a tough week.

I take great comfort in acknowledging a few things. 

First, I was a pretty darn good doggie-mommy.  For several years after the twins were born, I actually told people that I’m probably a better doggie-mommy than baby-mommy.  Dogs are, for the most part, simple creatures to figure out. Kids are *always* changing on you. From the start, I treated Aspy as a member of our family. She was my first pet. She was my baby-girl. My “practice” for when the real kids came.  I’m very thankful for Hubby letting me (and have the ability to) buy the “premium” dog food, and take Aspy to the vet for whatever ailed her.  First it was numerous ear infections, then when we moved East, she developed massive itchiness on her neck, and then later, her arthritis and thyroid issues took over. For 12 years (I subtract 2 for the years she spent with my in-laws in Cali while we were in England), she slept in our room. We celebrated her birthday every year. She went on as many vacations or day trips as we could take her. She had 3 round-trip airplane rides.  She was one happy dog. For years, my MIL would tell me that Aspen had a good life. I believe that. I tried very hard to give her one.

Aspen had a great last day. A Perfect Aspen Day.  Hubby suggested that for breakfast, I treat Aspen to Scrambled Eggs with Bacon and Cheese. My Ciocia  Jeannie (a fellow dog lover, the last person I grieved for, and who is taking care of Aspy in Heaven now) always believed that eggs are good for dogs. Over the past few years (maybe since Ciocia’s passing?) Aspen, and then Lily, would get any leftover scrambled eggs.  Bacon…..what dog doesn’t love bacon?!? Have you seen the doggie bacon commercials on tv? And Cheese.  Aspen LOVED cheese. More than anything. She would be outside (with the door closed) and she could hear a slice of American Cheese being unwrapped from the plastic.  When she became deaf, I think she could smell it from any corner of the house. Of course cheese would be included in her last meal.  I wish I had some zucchini for her that last day–she loved to munch on raw zucchini.

Hubby also suggested that we take Aspy on a car ride around town before heading to the vets.  Aspen LOVED car rides.  For the first four years we were together (before kids), she was my co-pilot. As long as it wasn’t too hot, I would take her to the grocery store, post office, anywhere. And then there were the trips to the beach, or the mountains, or camping.  She *knew* that a car ride equaled a new adventure. Therefore, I totally went along with Hubby’s suggestion. The last picture in the video tribute…..that was during that last car ride. As much as I thought Hubby was being TACKY and insensitive for bringing his camera….I wanted those last moments to be my private memories….in the end, I am ~glad~ he brought his camera. That last photo truly captures Aspen’s essence, and is thus a  fitting last photo.

Another factor that is making it ~easier~ for me to deal is that Apsen is no longer in pain. Shortly after the vet gave Aspen the sedative, Hubby and I helped her lie down. She closed her eyes. Yes, she was just sleeping. But it was the most peaceful sleep she has had in many, many months. At that very moment, I knew we were doing the right thing.

The day after….I went to Chicago. This was a planned trip. I had planned for over a year to attend this year’s National Mothers of Twins Convention (I attend every other year). The first day there, I was a zombie. I told my roomie not to expect me to make any decisions whatsoever. She was to lead, and I was to follow.  On Thursday, I was better. Maybe not better. But the convention provided a wonderful distraction.  Three whole days away from my house, and a new city, with a good friend, handling club business. Wonderful, wonderful distraction. I was even able to enjoy myself a bit.

But upon my return home on Sunday, all went pear-shaped again. I could feel Aspen’s “non-presence.” She just wasn’t there. 

SHE WAS NOT HERE. 

 IT MADE ME SO, SO SAD.

And it didn’t improve on Monday. Until a handwritten note from our vet came in the mail.  Finally, I was able to unleash all those tears I had been suppressing. The “healing” cry. 

For the most part, I’m doing better. I still notice that she’s not here. I occasionally get teary-eyed. Hubby has to deal with it, but I’m sure he expected me to be like this. But it’s ok. Because I know that wherever she is, she is smiling, as she did every day.

PS. Thank you to all my friends who have expressed their sympathies to us. It truly means a lot to us.