Sunday, January 29, 2012

Out of the Corners

One year ago I was in a bad place. The past month from December to January had brought its share of heartbreaking challenges and one in particular had me facing death, the death of my beloved elderly dog, Charlie. She’d hung in there for nearly 17 years, had protected our family from harm, had been my loyal friend, my faithful furry companion. But she was failing. Beset with doggy dementia, she began getting herself trapped in corners. She lost a lot of weight. I feared for her when I went off to work. In January, I knew she wouldn’t be with us much longer, and on February 9th, I let her go. I still cry for her at times but her death strangely made me face some other difficult decisions that needed my attention. It took a little time for me to see that, however.

Today, during a quiet moment at Mass, I recalled where I’d been one year ago. There had been other hardships that had not centered around Charlie’s declining health, and the year 2010 had ended and 2011 had begun in a way that had me feeling insecure and very sad. Ironically, at the time, I was being referred to as “Superwoman” by a few people in my life. But in truth, I was treading water, just trying to keep my head above water. I didn’t have the strength to do much more than that. For no matter how hard I kept trying to avoid them, I, too, kept finding myself in corners.

One year later, I am thinking of how the past month has been. I am grateful that 2011 ended and 2012 began in a better place. I learned a few valuable lessons from the hardships of last year, and I am doing better now, not perfect, but better. My household has greater peace, my outlook on a particular matter has grown with understanding, and a new puppy has earned her place in my heart. There are other changes too, some that come with the wisdom of having loved and lost, some with understanding how important it is to admit defeat and to let go.

But there are still times when I cry for Charlie and for the other I have lost. I’m in a better place now than I was last year but my heart sometimes wants what it can’t have. Rather than push those feelings aside, I take a little time to let the tears fall on a Sunday night when the house is quiet and everyone, including that dear new puppy, has gone to bed. I’d never want to be “Superwoman”; what a tough gig that would be, but at least this past year I’ve learned how to get myself out of those corners.

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