This time of year gets me a little down.1 Today, marks the anniversary of my beloved Coopers’ death. I am not sure how he touched me so deep, but I still long for him. The intensity of his death has diminished but the longing for him is as strong as ever. He barreled into my life like a little dynamo and I was better for it. His absence is felt often but more so this time of year.
Next month also marks the anniversaries for the death of both my father and mother, albeit decades apart. Their anniversaries are less than 2 weeks apart. I’ve mentioned before the memories of my mother have become dull. I still have a funeral card to keep her face alive in my mind; however, the memories themselves tend to blur after so many years. I was 5 when she passed. I’ve always wondered how my life would have turned out had she survived her battle with cancer. I can’t honestly say I knew her well enough to know what she would have thought of me being gay. I like to think she would have come to terms with it. The story of my adoption leads me to believe this. For those of you who have not read my history here, I was abused/neglected as an infant. In a defiant act to my birth father, my birth mother asked her friend, my soon to be Aunt, to adopt me. It was out of the question for various reasons so she brought me to her brother, my soon to be foster dad. The story goes that once my foster mother held me in her arms and saw how terrible I looked, that was it it was decided. So yeah, I like to think, however much it might have pained her, she would have come to terms with it, or at least that is what I tell myself. I do remember my mother was gentle but utterly fearless when confronted. I’ll never know and I’m ok with thinking she would have accepted me.
My father and I were estranged for a long time after my abrupt departure from home. We didn’t speak for many years and even after that it was always strained. We never regained the bond that a father/son normally reach to some degree in adulthood. We did get closure together before his death. I say we because I got a closure I didn’t realize at the time that I needed. I now remember him with sorrow for the relationship we could have had together had he not rejected me at such an early age. I find the pain/trauma of my childhood has taken a backseat to the regret of never having a better relationship with him. I do wonder if I had tried harder to mend fences and be closer after our reconciliation if things would have been different between us. I didn’t feel the onus was on me, but now that he is gone it is one of my regrets nonetheless.
It was several years after the death of my father before I realized my melancholy moods around this time of year had meaning. When I notice the turn of my inner mood I now reach for the memories. There is some joy in it as well. In recent years, my memories of Cooper have tended to blend with my thoughts of the past. I guess with the anniversaries being so close it makes sense. As I’ve aged, I have also found many of the good memories from my childhood sprinkled in amongst all the painful ones. I discovered I find solace in remembering the past. In a weird way I think I look forward to it. I am not one to dwell on the past, but pulling up the memories strengthens me today in the now. I pull the memories up, even some of the painful ones and I remember. I remember what got me here and I remember who I am because of my past.
Be well, my friends.
As apposed to the madness we are slowly coming out of now in the political world [↩]
I don’t blame ya for thinking I ‘be done’ abandoned the blog. Cooper’s death hit me really hard. I was depressed afterwards. I spent most of my time eating and working with the occasional video game binge in there. I’m still completely heartbroken he is gone. I miss him so much.
I’ve reached a point where I get thru the days without crying…mostly. I still have days where I just can’t shake the loneliness. But, I am getting better. It’s coming up on 2 months since he passed. I will adopt/rescue another wonderful bully again. I want to grieve and heal first. When the time comes, I will know it. Anyway, I the desire to blog or even keep up with the blog totally left me when he passed. I even considered closing it down. I think that was mostly the depression speaking.
In less depressing and actually exciting news, Shawn and I just celebrated our 6th year together. Lawd only knows how he puts up with me? I still love him as much as I did in the beginning and am grateful he does indeed put up with me. Hehehe We had dinner at Firewood Cafe (which is closing soon) in the hood where we had our first meal together. Shawn is (and has been for a while now) my longest relationship. I guess there is something to be said for that.
We had to say goodbye to Cooper yesterday morning. His breathing had become impacted by the tumor pressing against his lungs. He was simply experiencing too much discomfort and I couldn’t stand to see him suffer. Any doubts I had about rushing it were swept away the night before.
I kept saying out loud we’d have him for a few more months but inside I knew we didn’t have much time. The tumor was growing quickly. My only hope was that it might grow at an angle that let him enjoy a few more months. Sadly, it was not to be. I’m grateful he declined so quickly to avoid any unnecessary suffering on his part. However, I miss him so much already. I do not think I’ve ever been so attached to a companion. I never realized how much of my daily schedule included him. Everything reminds me of him and sends me into a new fit of tears.
His life started rough as he was abandoned. When he came into my life he rescued me just as much as I rescued him. I needed him without even realizing it. He gave me so much and asked so little in return. I am happy to know I gave him a good life. He was most definitely loved. I could go on and on about all the wonderful ways he enriched my life. He was not just a pet. He was my friend and companion.
As painful as it was, I was there in his final moments. I couldn’t imagine not being there. My only goal was to keep him from being scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved. We got to play with him a bit before the end and it was a joy to see him come alive in those last moments together. He lived for butt scratches and we gave him so many along with happy words. It was an absolute joy to see him shrug off his discomfort long enough to enjoy the attention and love.
I held him as he drifted off. I spoke sweet words of love in his ear and kept my tears at bay until he had passed. He was a light in my life and my life is diminished without him in it. My Cooper Pooper, my “precious”, my love bug. . . you are missed and still loved.
My heart is broken now. And while it will heal, it will always have a mark from you.
Now that I’ve had time to calm down, I’m sad to announce Cooper has been diagnosed with a heart tumor. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know he had a recent vet visit for his leg. Being almost 10, he is an old fella in bulldog terms. His arthritis aggravates his joints, which in turn leads to soreness, hence the vet visit.
While we were at the vet, we got his yearly update and did x-rays. From last year to now, a large tumor has grown around his heart. Ironically, he isn’t having any problems with his actual heart; no murmur, no irregular valves, etc. The tumor has grown to about the size of his heart so it’s begun putting pressure on his lungs. It will eventually impact his breathing severely enough we will have to euthanize him.
Surgery is possible but the chances of success are low and due to his age the vet wasn’t even sure he’d survive the surgery. I’d rather let him enjoy his remaining time vs putting him thru the trauma of such a major surgery. To say I have been upset would be an understatement.
Cooper came into my life at a time when I was severely depressed and having trouble finding my light. His boundless energy and enthusiasm gave me something other than my own problems to focus on and brought me out of my funk. Since then he has continued to be a beacon of slobber and unconditional love in my life. To say I love that dog would be an understatement. I have never in my life loved an animal so thoroughly. After many days of tears and uncontrollable bursts of sadness, I’ve made peace with it. I got over 8 wonderful year with him and I’m grateful for his love. I’m fond of saying, they give us so much and ask so little. Cooper would be the exemplification of those words.
My only goal now is to keep him as comfortable as possible until he reaches a time when his breathing is too labored to carry on. The vet gives him anywhere from another month to 6 months. I’m thinking 2 to 3 months at most but I’m hoping for longer. I would never let him suffer for my own benefit so once his breathing becomes too hard, we will make the decision to say goodbye.
His leg/knee injury is slowly healing and I am hopeful he will be off his meds within another week or two. As you can imagine many of the rules have gone out the window! hehehe He gets treats much more often and I’m less stringent on his structured daily life. I take comfort in knowing I gave him a wonderful life. That said, I know when that day comes a little piece of me will die with him. To my beloved Cooper, you were and are loved.