I’ve been thinking of writing this for awhile now. Mainly as a way to get my emotions out there in the open instead of buried inside and eating away at my heart. The title that kept popping up was “How,” or “How Do I” after a country song originally performed by Trisha Yearwood.
How do I do this?
How do I watch my beautiful best friend . . . the best-est friend I’ve ever had in my whole life . . . grow old. How do I navigate these waters? How do I find my way to accepting the fact that I won’t ever have the dog that he was, even just a year ago? Worst of all, How am I going to say goodbye someday and go on without him?
I’m talking about Jake, my almost 13-year-old “Glab” (Golden/Lab mix). He is the love of my life, my reason for being, the constant in my unsure and hectic existence. He is my solid rock, the one thing in the world that never fails to make me smile even on the worst of days.
I thought about doing a blog all about him years ago. He is such an incredible joy, and my whole life revolves with him always at the forefront. He has changed my life in more ways than I can list, and a blog seemed a way to get it all down.
The idea felt a little self-indulgent, and I didn’t think I’d be able to reach the depth that others have in their writing. Then life became so busy that I just never got around to it.
Now, as he is showing the signs of age that seem to have appeared overnight, I knew this is something I must do. For me, for Jake, and for others who have traveled or are traveling these difficult waters to help each other by offering advice, guidance, even just words of encouragement. I wanted my blog to be so good, something people everywhere might smile and nod their heads as they read, even while tears stream from their eyes. I wanted to do something along the lines of Marley & Me, in which John Grogan’s writing provided a catharsis for his pain and then turned into something so big. Even if my blog about Jake didn’t get that big, I still wanted it to be shared through the power of social media, maybe finding it’s own big, if even in a small way.
I recently attended a seminar at a well-known emergency veterinary hospital. They offer free monthly seminars on a wide range of topics; this night’s topic was titled “Caring for your Aging Pet.” Recalling the matters discussed so many thoughts swim through my head. I cried so hard driving home I nearly had to pull off the road.
The presenters discussed keeping a journal, primarily to note changes in your pet’s habits and behaviors for sharing during vet visits, but also to help with the “anticipated grief,” which is almost if not more painful than the grief of losing a beloved pet.
So, here I am, starting my journal and feeling a little less self-indulgent about it. While it feels very personal, it’s honest, and I am going to do it — for myself this time. If others read it, that will be fine, but it’s no longer the goal. Because I will read it; maybe not every day, and maybe not until years from now, but it will be read.
How? Because I love you, Jake.