It's been an interesting week on the blog. I've managed to make a few people worry about my safety AND I've managed to set a few bridges on fire. Good times all around. The process is messy, but at least its not happening in a vacuum. I'm trying to document everything as it comes. First and foremost I view these entries as my conversations with Melissa. They are helping me feel a little less lost, a little more 'normal'. The feeling I get after finishing an essay is similar to the feeling I would get from a good talk with Melly. As with any conversation, sometimes the words have unintended consequences. If I've upset or offended anyone, I apologize.
I have been feeling pretty ok the past couple of days. It's been an ok week, better than last week. I've made some good inroads in finding some support groups. Routines are starting to develop and some semblance of comfort is coming back. I have been getting better sleep lately, with exception to one thing that happened early this morning. It is possibly another example of Melissa being present in my daily life, possibly an example of how much has changed and how that change will take a while to adjust to. As has been discussed, our dogs have had their own reactions the disruption in the order of things. The first several weeks were the hardest and we are still feeling ripples from the first splash.
Our oldest pup, Daisy, woke me up at about 2:45a this morning frantically searching the house. Something had spooked her and she was up on alert. When I first woke up, my head sticky with cobwebs of dreams, my first thought was that Melly was up to feed the dogs and get a snack. She had a habit of waking up around 3:00a to eat a bowl of cereal. The girls adjusted to this schedule and quickly got used to eating in the middle of the night. I, in turn, got used to waking up briefly around the same time with the clang of dog food being poured in to metal bowls. As I heard Daisy wandering the house this morning, I was anticipating that familiar clang. I even rolled over in bed to see if Melly was up. At that point everything came rushing back to me.
Melissa loved having all of the animals sleep with us. The novelty wore off for me shortly after we moved in together. It was probably because we were stuck with a twin mattress and were regularly joined by a German Shepherd and a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Real estate came with a premium.
As we got older and more established we could afford to increase both the size of the bed and the size of our menagerie. We now have a California King bed, three dogs and 11 cats (five inside, six outside). We got the biggest bed we could find because the dogs developed the habit of sleeping with us. Rather than fight over space, we just got more of it.
Since Melissa passed I have been physically unable to sleep on her side of the bed. I'm finding myself mentally restricted to my third of the bed. I'll occasionally spread to the the middle third. Her third is being maintained in pristine condition. I have a mental and emotional block about spreading out. It seems the dogs have the same feeling. They have mysteriously avoided sleeping in the bed with me. I don't know why, and I'm trying not to be hurt by it. I can invite them up until the cows come home, but they just won't jump up there. I'd like to think that it is because they feel like she's in that spot. It could be just habit. I wake up each morning with only my side of the bed needing to be made. It's a subtle reminder that remains as powerful today as it did that first day.
We have a cat, Hitch, that has a habit of wandering the house, finding empty rooms, and meowing as loud as he can. The hall bathroom is his favorite. His shouts are amplified by the tub, creating bright and questioning echoes. It's funny to watch and hear, but also a bit haunting. Melissa used to say it was Hitch talking to ghosts. Who knows why animals do what they do, we're just along for the ride.
When Daisy woke me up early this morning my instinct was to check on Melly. After the confusion and realization, I got up to check on Daze and let her in the yard to pee. When we came back in she surprised me by jumping in to bed with me on Melly's side. She stayed there for a couple of minutes, licking my hand and nuzzling close. It seems Daisy was stuck in the same thoughts I was. After a few minutes she jumped out of our bed and back to her own. At which point, I was done for. I sat in bed for the next couple of hours staring at the darkness.
I can't say what forces compel us to do the things we do or say the things we say. All I know is that we are in this together. If people want to help, I need to recognize that for what it is and accept it with grace. We each have or own ways of dealing with the empty spot no matter how right or wrong it can feel to me. Daisy reminded me of that last night. What she needed was a hug and a friendly voice saying that things would be ok. The messages come in different forms, but the underlying kindness is what matters in the end.