After eating, ad hoc and I went tattoo shopping. We'd intended to check out some shops in Cambridge, but in the week and a half since our original plan, I settled on a place that I've only heard good things about. We checked out the various portfolios and I settled on an artist who specializes in black and gray art. The design I want is pretty detailed and is going to take a light hand to do well, and from the portfolios, I have confidence that this dude (not on the website, unfortunately) will do a good job. I want just the tree, on my upper arm, with the tip of the tree curling onto the top of my shoulder, and the branches curving around my arm. I'm looking forward to talking to the artist to find out how much of my concept is doable.
I set up a consultation appointment for Monday, and then, upon arriving home, realized there's a work function I want to attend, so I got it changed to a week from tomorrow, in the evening. I'm hoping ana and I can use the appointment for a date, in a part of town we don't usually visit. We need a bit of fun, I think. After the consultation, I should be able to get the tattoo in a week. The main dude has a waiting list - the first available appointment isn't until January. His stuff is fantastic, but not fantastic enough to wait almost a year and then spend about twice as much.
Setting up the appointment didn't take long, so ad hoc and I took his dog for a walk down the Esplanade. Perfect weather, good conversation, and a puppy. What could be better?
There's not a lot going on, work-wise. There was a meeting today, for another very tight deadline, and I was thankful iGrrrl was there to make sure I didn't promise to write the whole damn thing or something. I tend to agree to doing whatever I feel capable of doing, even if that means sacrificing weekends, evenings and sanity while doing it. It's an impulse I need to learn to control. Otherwise, this week, it looks like I'll actually use some of the comp time I've accrued.
I miss Teh Dawg, sometimes more intensely than others. Today, when I got home, there was a message from the vet's office saying that the cremation place/pet cemetery had picked her up, but that we hadn't called to make arrangements. In the midst of the loss, we didn't ask any questions about "final arrangements" as the commercials for sketchy life insurance call it, and I kind of assumed that the vet's office took care of that sort of thing.
So I called the number on the brochure they'd given me (without explaining why they'd given us the brochure) and talked to a very nice woman who explained the process and that it would be about six weeks before we'll get the ashes back. "We value accuracy more than speed, and we ask for your patience." She was apologetic, and what could I say? "Ok, that's fine." They're sending me the paperwork and we'll have to pick out an urn. I've never dealt with anything like this - my previous deceased pets have all been buried in my yard or my mom's yard, but they were all small enough that it was feasible.
These kinds of details bring the complication of my grief over losing my dog into sharp relief. I miss my dog. I miss hearing her breathe while she naps, always listening for perceived danger. I miss her kisses and her annoying habit of wanting to play when I wasn't in the mood. I even miss her barking at the mailman.
On top of - or underlying? - this tangible and comprehensible grief for Teh Dawg, is fear for my mom, who is dying of cancer. Somewhere in my unconscious, I think I linked Sadie's fate with my mom's - as long as the chemo had worked for Sadie, maybe it would work for my mom. Maybe she'd be healthy, maybe she'd beat the unbeatable cancer. For a while, there was hope, until there wasn't. It made my mom's illness more real - less an abstraction of something that will happen in the future. There will be a time, perhaps sooner rather than later, when I'll have to be making calls to funeral homes and figuring out estates, all while figuring out what to do when I can't call my mom for a recipe or medical advice or just to talk about who got sent home on American Idol. If losing my dog makes me want to curl into a ball and stop functioning, how am I going to manage to keep going when I lose my mom?
Interwoven with grief and fear is guilt. I sometimes think I believe in karma, and perhaps Sadie's death was the universe's way of punishing me. There are coincidences of timing that make me wonder if there really are coincidences. Less esoterically, I feel guilty for every time I yelled at Sadie to please, just shut the fuck up. I feel guilty for not taking her on more walks, for leaving her in kennels, for not giving her more hugs. I feel guilty for the five years I barely spoke to my mom, for the fights we've had, for the times I've intentionally and unintentionally made her feel bad about herself. I feel bad for not paying more attention to the things she's tried to teach me, and I worry that I'm going to have even more regrets when she's gone. Mortality is great in theory, but in practice there's just never enough time.
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