Damn dreams

Ever have strong premonitions that you want to ignore but the more you try to deny these gut instincts, the more the Universe slams it into your face? I’ve been feeling the irresistible pull towards my ex for a solid week now. Prior to last night, I dreamed of being with Beck and the daily in’s and out’s of seeing his family for three nights straight, all through the night. I didn’t cry until the last night because the ache, the empty space where he should be, slammed my waking conscious state. It’s this crazy gravitational pull I’ve been working against and it’s palatable like I’m carrying the weight of two states plus seven years lost. He still has power over me and as much as I tried breaking away from his loved ones (I *so* had five solid weeks in), the rubberband snap has me ricocheting back. What do I do? What can I do?

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Time Progresses

How is it already March of 2017! Class is kicking my butt and today is midterms. Next week is Spring Break! I had planned on going to Hong Kong with my buddy but too short of notice for him (plus, the Dept. of State denied him a pass to go).

I’m beginning to see my ex in the same light as my loved ones (friends, too) do since our break-up. If they see me weakening, they firmly remind me that he still hasn’t apologized, hasn’t “manned up” and isn’t worth my love, my time. Six months is up (a deadline they set up) and I’m still standing, he’s still hiding. I know if I willed it so, he and I would cross paths but I haven’t wanted it on an unconscious level. It’s been a difficult task to do in staying away from his parents and pug on a conscious level; be proud of me, though, for having not seen them in over two months and having no contact for four weeks. There is no place for me in the lives which revolve around my ex: it’s been taken by another. The knowledge isn’t crippling anymore and I know that the time when they’ll all be strangers is coming along more quickly. About three or four nights ago, I dreamed of him all night and I woke up without heartache, without deep longing. I’m forging ahead, firmly and alone.

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My Resignation (Part II)

Written on 12/23/2016 and the date only matters because Part III might be confusing.

I might be panicking that I made a big boo-boo by leaving Buki and the pets to someone else; some fears are financial but the rest stem from guilt and anxiety of the unknown. I know the type of woman Buki’s mother is (I lived with her subjecting me to unfounded “cures” for my asthma and eczema in the 80’s to early aughts: my mom) and I’m seriously considering the crime of theft to save the life of a dog who’s absolutely worth it. Do I turn back? I know I could have my job back in an instant if I asked but I know I can’t stem the tides of change and whether it’s further physical injury from my charge or no longer being able to watch the emotional and mental pain being inflicted upon every living thing in that house. His mother could have simply waited another 2 weeks for the new therapist to arrive before switching him from yet another private school (almost all in NY are not held accountable like our public schools). But the very thing I predicted occurred: Buki reacted against his new young, 6 ft, 220 lbs of muscle [who just got done playing professional basketball] therapist in a negative way.

Quicker than I could have managed to cross the kitchen, where I was making dinner, into the TV room (Buki can play possum – he waits until you are close enough or he has managed to quietly sneak up on you before attempting to hurt you), the new therapist was tackled (he, too, bought Buki’s docile behavior that day) from the side. In seconds, I hear the painful and panicking screams coming from him because Buki literally had his fingernails digging into his eye sockets so, I grabbed Buki around the waist from behind and he parlayed with his well-known kangaroo kick. This kid has such long legs, ballerinas and the Rockett’s kickline team are jealous and he’s not even done growing! Buki knows what he is doing when he is fighting but doesn’t know why and that inability to process his feelings simply creates more rage and confusion. He’s in a type of self preservation mode but that doesn’t excuse the trauma and damage done. I’ve never blacked out from a physical altercation so, I wasn’t prepared when the back of my skull cracked against the granite topped half wall behind me and I lost all ability to breath, orient myself and the use of my legs for a few terrifying seconds. The police were called (his new therapist works for a company that reports all incidents no matter the severity because they have to watch their backs against lawsuits/claims of abuse) and we were both taken to the ER. I have to wake up every few hours for the next few days though I doubt I’ll stop breathing as I sleep. Is any job or amount of money worth permanent damage?

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117This was us

I’m sorry I hurt you to the point of  being unable to stay in touch. You’d been pushing me away all year and more forcefully and cruelly than ever starting in August but not owning it until I made you. Would you really try to deny that by trying to push me into the arms of another man, sexually, you weren’t setting me up/creating an excuse to leave our relationship? Because that’s what it felt like and I intuitively rejected it. God, if I had felt it any other way I would have given in but I felt the distance between us. You’re right, I built walls and when we reconciled last year, I wasn’t sure if they should come down because I was trying to work out and separate feelings of abandonment, distrust and weariness. I was just starting to find me again after all the time spent bending to your will, conceding to you and unsure if you, who you were becoming/have become, were the person I fell in love with. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner that I was trying to catch up to you on a clean way of living because I didn’t want to fail you or dash any hopes. You know I’m not good when I’m pushed to agree on something – it had to come in at my pace. You have a way of talking to your loved ones in an overbearing tone sometimes and your expectation that they become what you want, do what you want, see and think as you do and follow your lead blindly wasn’t the right way to do things; your approach to certain topics could come off as zealous and I know I wasn’t the only one to notice or the first to experience the pressure. You could be a hypocrite sometimes but so could I; you made me doubt and double check myself and then became angry when I couldn’t form the sentences to express myself with all you interrupt. You think you argue in a rational manner but you don’t always do that. You cut in, concentrate on little expressions or sentence arrangement and disrupt the thoughts of me or any of the people you love and in little ways, redirect the argument and then, blame it on someone else. I know you say *I* did that and I did sometimes. However, my bafflement wasn’t/isn’t one sided. I’m more sure of that than anything else you could say to make me doubt myself.

I didn’t want to fight with you on Wednesday night but you can’t help yourself in dragging people down with you. You like fighting even if you profess the drain you feel, I can tell you get off on it. You’ve said so as much, when we were in more lucid times, how you feel powerful you feel and how much you enjoy “sticking it” to someone(s). I’m not saying these things to hurt you but to make you see your own behavior. My talks with your siblings leads me to believe you’ve been a grudge holder and vindictive most of your life and it makes me sad for you. I wanted peace between us and I think you behave like a jerk to drive me away b/c you think things will get better that way. It couldn’t be anymore worse of a choice and action to play out to think you can outrun the parts of your soul I share. You didn’t really want to reconcile last year – I was still locked out and slapped down when you wouldn’t admit something else was bothering you or you were upset with someone; I had to dig and  dig while taking the backlash until you would come up with your discontent/grievance that I sensed. I’m guilty of the same thing and why I never held it against you if you could keep an argument from spiraling into name calling and baseless accusations… if you could keep from breaking up with me everytime when you know it was the most painful of words you could cut me with. Fuck, I still love you and I still forgive you! I’m wrestling with my friends and my conscience and my pride and morals: everything saying to let go for my health, my benefit but they don’t account for the pieces of my heart and soul I would have to lose, too! I wish I knew how to quit you and I know the Universe is still spinning around the stars you and I are in our own galaxy. Eventually, I will consume the spiritual energy I released and gave to you – it’ll come back times three. Where another, a better you (but not you, if you know what I mean) will join me and that place of friendship will be swallowed into the abyss.

I wish I knew how to stop loving you in all ways, then I wouldn’t miss you, I wouldn’t dream of you. I wouldn’t miss you as horribly as I do. I stayed without you asking, I stayed when you asked and I’m staying here again with an offer of future support. You’re right, we can’t be just friends – our souls were fused together and denying our love and attraction to one another wouldn’t have lasted long.What I discovered in the last month about long-term relationships and being in love and loving someone waxes and wanes in it because it takes energy to love (that might explain your hunger around me), contained or not. It’s a natural cycle and feeling the intensity diminish a little can be taken as a breaking relationship or “falling out of love.” I thought I knew what I was talking about when I told you, many times before, that the hardest thing to learn is the difference between loving someone and being in love; I thought I knew all there was to know based on my relationship experience but I’ve been corrected by more wise people. The marriages that last the longest acknowledge this cycle and the love never leaves, the connection never dies. I really wanted having you in my life to work out b/c I need you to be happy and if a different relationship is what will make you so, then I want you to know it’s okay that you’re with someone else. I won’t keep you back, I won’t ask for you back and I won’t be in the picture.

A big part of me wants to be available to you in anyway you might need me in the future but I know, in the game of love and soulmates, that it’s winner takes it all. All of you and me or none at all. I know if I leave a door open for you, I could regret it but once I decide to drop someone, discover they’re not worth my time or developing quickly enough to be a beneficial friend, the doors and windows slam shut permanently. I’m not as angry anymore (that’s one area, at least, where I am not a turtle in digesting, analyzing and coming to a solution/conclusion) and- the latent anger after last year’s break up needed an outlet that you wouldn’t provide (at least, that’s the way I saw and felt it) popped like a balloon. The remaining angst is the reason I hurt you and unintentionally because I wouldn’t answer to the pain in my heart. The pain overwhelmed my ability to think and form cohesive thoughts, solutions and to see things from a clear perspective. If we had hashed it out, which I know you didn’t want to do because you’d deflect/change the topic yourself, we wouldn’t be here right now. If you hadn’t hardlined me into silence and knocking me down everytime I tried to step up and apologize, I wouldn’t have been so scared of losing you after every little spat and over the big, overblown fights. It’s not your fault because I should have done it anyway (kept at you for a discussion… that may have backfired depending on your frame of mind) and we still might have ended up here, but at least we would have known/learned something.

I keep having this dream that we’re together with kids but maybe it’s not you and more my soulmate; my head simply uses you as a placeholder. In the dreams, we have these conversations akin to what we had in the beginning continuing until, and this is only my estimate, 2014 is pinpointed as the year a lot changed for you. Kris was serving his time, Stephane moved away and you moved to a new home with its own complications. We spent too much time in NJ houses brimming with stress, depression, anger/resentment and dysfunction. Our happy bubble shrunk until it popped because our happy place was always with each other, alone and doing our thing; NOT being influenced or bombarded with familial strain/tension, the disrespect of boundaries/responsibilities and general communication failure (that wasn’t our problem, individually or as a couple). It was a nearly impossible task to lift Beck out of his depression sometimes and if I was stressed/having an off day,  our state of minds collided and created issues. If I kept things tightly wrapped up in me, it was because Beck couldn’t handle me and there were times it seemed that there was no room for my issues. I would have gone to him if I felt he would be receptive but I got shot down way too often; even now, I want to reach him but I know he doesn’t want to hear from me, be around me and I’ve finally learned to give him so much space that he drifted away completely. I think he was full of shit when he said he was still in love with me 4 weeks ago but it doesn’t matter in the bigger picture: he’s still gone. I’m equivocally dead to him. He never got or took the chance to know me which is why I wish I could reset the clock. I wanted to be known, deeply and wholly – Beck and I are nearly identical at this juncture. My soul says we’re locked together but I’m hoping the Universe will let that unravel. There was a lot of stress being relieved in my dreams from our chats, positive feelings that were palatable and the Universe emphasized again and again that we had to meet. Unlike Beck, I’ve met many people who share qualities and experiences that I thought only I had and connected with them. I can’t explain the odd coincidences of chance meetings, unbelievable experiences and the fact Destiny has wrapped me up and guided everything that I wanted my way. He has needed more friends, more confidantes since he began cutting/shunning people from his life – it was really rough on me that he relied so heavily and solely on me for support, fun, compassion, etc. I bore it out of unconditional love for Beck but it did take its toll. I kept pushing him to socialize and to grow: I don’t regret it even when it’s meant we can’t be together right now (or ever?). He’s the man I know he can be if he just let go of his anger and spite.

I hope you read this someday and can feel the sincerity of my well wishes, that you’ll hear an echo of our love if we’re years and decades apart. Seven years gone and the years of friendship that I regret losing. Most of these journal entries prior to this will be/are moot points but I’d prefer having conversations one on one instead of being misread if there’s a desire for clarity. I’m feeling like my bright, bouncy self again and I know only good things are in store for me as I hope they are for you. We’re getting to the end of these entries where I’m reaching the turnaround time to walk away forever and I told you they will disappear into oblivion/be erased. I’m fine and I’m reminded of it everyday by loving individuals who are letting me unload the emotional/mental burden and financial stress Beck put me through (not frequently but it seemed like he targeted specific times when he knew I was vulnerable).

Just last night, I hit up a strip club with a friend and his brother AFTER meeting at a different bar. They tricked me into going when I insisted we weren’t b/c my buddy needs to save his cash. They have matching smirks and offered playful apologies when they saw the look on my face when we entered: I was pissed. I couldn’t just leave them there either cause I was the DD and I knew hundreds of dollars would be blown if I left or I didn’t keep his wallet. I enjoyed taking away half the amount retrieved from the ATM and shaking my head as more than the half I let him hold onto disappeared in 8 minutes, not even kidding! I know he was trying to butter up the bartender (who was very pretty and you couldn’t tell that just 6 months prior, she was pregnant) because he never called her back. When guys bring a girl to a strip club, it’s to discourage the strippers they don’t care for because BOTH of them referred to my as their girlfriend like we were in some twisted TV reality show. I played along initially until I nearly killed his brother when he took himself a little too seriously in his drunken state and forced himself on me at the club. The little fucker was throwing money at the girls instead of being more polite and was trying to make it a game where he treated their breasts and thongs like basketball hoops. One stripper had enough of the kid (who pounded 5 shots of Jameson in one hour) and started telling him off but he thought he was being cute by being MORE disrespectful. That’s when we left just as the bouncers were coming our way. But the best part of the night was the way the women flocked to me without me doing any work. I have never had a difficult time attracting men and women to me (it’s that sexuality that roils off and around me and for which I have no control) and my best friend knows it: which is why he also enjoys watching it happen and being there next to me getting in on any action, LOL! I know I sound full of myself but if you ever want to tag along and experience it for yourself, hit me up with an email or however you get to my journal entries ^_^

Last night, it was the first time I’ve eaten well since Beck and I broke up. I’ve lost close to 15-17 lbs. and if someone asks what my secret is, I tell them it’s called “My break up diet” where I become extremely nauseous when food is in my face. I know it’s the tension and stress making me tighten up all my muscles so there’s no room left for food in my belly. I see “my breakup diet” as a positive but it’s not for everyone. It’s also a good test run of what I’ll feel in med school and show me how long my Crohn’s will remain in remission/not be an issue. After all, my last year at Buffalo was derailed by severe episodes of ulcerative colitis that ultimately became chronic while my semester credits, job as nanny/tutor and apartment upkeep/utility bills needed attention. So far, I’m hanging really well in and I look friggin awesome! My Lucky Brand jeans/clothing help exude my sexiness as does the lingerie under it all ;o)

 

 

To me

Edit on 9/23/16 at noon: “It’s easy to love someone during their best, organized and polished moments; it’s at their worst ones, you’re shown how dependable and resilient their love will be.” Beck was never as strong as me or as strong as I needed him. I want his anger to dissipate and for that sense of balance to remain because he can’t stop hurting himself. I know trying to cut ties from him is bullshit b/c the Universe demands something else. I’m prepared to forgive and really forget this time. Love flows around me from everyone and everything and I’m letting it flow through me, to let my soul find nourishment. I’ll need it for what’s ahead and it won’t be pretty but I know I have the resilience to follow through. I’m stronger than I know and Beck could, too, if he kept/keeps fasting and stays on the diet that works for him/allows for deeper meditation.

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Am I beholden to him?

Do I have to remain his keeper (of our memories, his parents, seven years of his life)? Did I really have to reimburse him for meeting up with me to return to one another personal property? He’s moved on and so have I; then why won’t this thread break? He’s not the guy I met back in 2009 and I say it to myself everyday so I can stop loving him. The man I met wouldn’t set out to hurt his family members (though some may have deserved it). Beck isn’t who I fell in love with and the bitterness over a lost year will fade just like Chris, just like Jed. The man I loved wasn’t selfish but I have to learn to be selfish, too. How else to stop loving a man who no longer exists and how long do I punish myself for loving and supporting him? Is he really so different now that I can’t say I know him well at all: that he’s become a stranger by keeping me at arm’s length? I’m deluding myself by refusing to accept that there won’t be an anniversary to celebrate in Nov., because Beck won’t be there, will he? I had planned for us to go on a 7 day Caribbean cruise, which he’s never been, with the money I’ve saved up (I broke through my $3,000 goal!). He apologized for the time wasted and how “I bet on the wrong horse (Beck).” The man I knew wasn’t deceptive and he promised to love me, to stay in love with me, as I made the same promise to him.

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The Non-cliche

God, I have the stickiest ball of mental and emotional turmoil. Last night, I dreamt of a baby being placed in my arms by another woman and I knew the baby wasn’t mine. I was a little nervous and even commented that I was a little out of practice (neveremind wearing 4 inch stilettos!) and in my dream, holding the baby came as natural as it has since I first held my baby sister. I want to say it was Selle’s baby (being that I suffered through a baby shower last Saturday) but the warmth and weight of the baby indicated she was mine. Never thought I’d be the one fall to the friggin’ biological clock tick. There are a lot of never’s I promised myself.

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Can’t sleep

As my body re-balances to its normal self, I can’t sleep at night every night. My meds are at the lowest they can be and I’m taking them only as needed; I swam for 2 hours yesterday after an uncomfortable night dreaming of horrible things/waking every 4 hours, thinking my body needed physical exertion to tire out. Last night, I dreamt of my ex and woke up needing him around 3 am – such an unfair desire given the current circumstances. I toyed with a Skype call for an hour and decided that putting him through anymore angst after last Sunday was ultimately selfish and thoughtless. Still, I haven’t been able to rest or fall back into sleep and I’ve been wandering the ‘net looking for a distraction from these thoughts:

Trying to figure out a way where we could have it all and wrestling with the fear that he’ll be the one who got away. I’ve never felt that fear for any of my ex’s and crushes: even when an old flame has confessed that I’ll always be the one who got away from him, there’s never a doubt in my mind that the inverse could be true because it isn’t. Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll have a clearer understanding of what drives me in the direction of Beck or maybe he’ll be able to provide the answer without me having to do the work of sweating it out. I just know that writing helps, even if it seems like I’m writing in circles. Shit, JP said something similar during our phone call. I guess writing things out is my sounding board when I can’t have Beck to listen or help me out with a problem.

One of the snippets of last night’s nightmare: Beck was gone permanently and all the things, mostly good, that I had held back for fear of reproach/rejection could only be released in sobs. He can’t bring himself to stay with/rejoin me and my fortitude may not be enough. Sometimes, the way he speaks, he makes it sound like he’s the only one  who was tormented by our fighting – that he was the only one getting hurt and feeling the most pain. I need to remember how utterly selfish that is if staying away from him is the only thing that will work for us in maintaining a platonic friendship. I only know that he’s my mirror image in some ways and my polar opposite other ways, all coming together as two halves in one unit. Gotta refrain from the nicknames and terms of affection somehow, too.

It’s the dichotomy of Scars and Let it Go by James Bay that we inhabit.

Who had a dog and…

Somewhere, I have written the exact date of a dream I had about Stitch not too long after he died, definitely before a month had passed. It was one of those dreams you’re so sure is real, that when you wake up, you simply think it’s a different day of the same reality. There’s really such a thing as crying one’s self to sleep – I didn’t know it was possible and assumed it was an American colloquialism. I can still feel the relief of waking up, knowing Stitch was alive and waiting for me right outside my door and completely unable to catch my breath when I turned to see his empty bed. It had been left solely to me to pack his things, donate his remaining treats and toys/bedding to the local no-kill shelters and empty the house of any reminders that there was once a 10 lb. little white boy ruling our hearts and home. After a while, exactly 18 days, I stopped crying everyday and I learned not to think of Stitch for too long, too hard because it wasn’t helping me move on. Even now, I still feel a twinge of guilt when I think of having another dog and I can’t let myself feel my happy memories containing Stitch. When I find my thoughts wandering to something I enjoyed with him, I have to lockdown and shut it out. It’s a bruise that still hurts even if it’s faded.

In my dream, I actually say, “I’m so glad it was just a bad dream,” when I go into the kitchen and find my little buddy waiting. The exuberance your pet shows when you enter a room is the closest I think any of us will ever get to feeling unbounded love. You’re (from individuals to family as a collective) their entire world and you know when their handlers die or disappear for a stretch, dogs and cats feel loss. They grieve, they stop eating, they give up on living if someone will let them. Stitch didn’t take my return to UB well. He came with me and my mom to help set up my apartment (which wouldn’t be ready for another 2 days) and totally loved it! From the very beginning, I had taken Stitch along with me on roadtrips to the Poconos, Albany and Rochester if I wasn’t in class or working. I shouldn’t have been surprised he took to it the way I did: sleep! Once, Chris and I were in the Bronco (which has bench seating) on our way to Rochester and Stitch had been sleeping on my lap for 6 hours without stirring once to ask for the bathroom. I turned to my ex and said, “Looks like he’s got my crazy bladder control,” and Stitch got up, stretched, walked over onto Chris’ lap and began peeing with no warning. The laughter stimulated by the irony meant I couldn’t pull Stitch off Chris so Chris did and put Stitch on the bench seat next to him while he pulled over. Stitch didn’t miss a beat: he turned around, back onto his lap and continued relieving himself. The memory makes me laugh even now, eleven years later! God, I was shattered three days later as I unpacked into my new place and kept thinking about the little white boy who wouldn’t be sharing my bed for a while. It was very lonely and I got homesick often. My dad called me and told me he was feeding Stitch human food (something I really didn’t want for him because a canine’s nutrition needs are so not the same). Before I got too upset, he told me Stitch refused to eat and drink for three days after he and my mom made the return trip. No amount of cajoling, strictness, etc can make a dog or cat consume anything they don’t want so my parents were forced to try human food. When my dad told me my 4 lbs. dog ate an entire Chinese take-out beef stick order (that’s three sticks if we’re counting), Chris nearly died when I related the story to him. Effectively, Stitch had eaten a quarter of his own weight in beef! The extent to which my parents spoiled Stitch was obscene. The dog got prime rib every other week and filet mignon or spicy broccoli every Friday but he never begged for food from anyone but my sister. He figured out early on that she’s a germaphobe and if he “sneezed” on her food, she would promptly give it up. There are too many stories involving my sister leaving an entire plate of food on the floor while she got a drink and the dog managed to make off with the entire thing! It’s very amusing to see a small dog, dragging a heavy human sized plate bigger than himself.

Until yesterday, I had a very difficult time writing about my happy memories of/with Stitch. I’d get writer’s block from the crashing waves of sadness and regret, lost in those memories. I’d type and tears just popped out and I’d realize I was typing in circles. The thing is, I share this recollection of a dream now because I may have been a wreck upon waking, but the dream was actually very good. If a Rainbow Bridge exists, then Stitch wanted me to know he’s okay. Rationally, I know it’s very likely that when we die, that’s it: no Heaven, Hell, angels or demons. Buddhists believe life is suffering and it is wrong to prolong the suffering and indignity of another life struggling painfully to live. I think it’s a very natural response to living that we try to fend off death even in its throes. But the little comfort I get in believing that somewhere, someday, we’ll be reunited is the only thing I have because I can’t forget Stitch’s little face, begging me not to go, “Please, don’t leave me, mom,” when the vet tech had to take him for x-rays/sedation. He was so tired and in pain, he couldn’t bark, just soft whimpers and unwavering eye contact. My fearless little boy was afraid for the first time in his life.

My dream was pretty mundane for how wild they can get. It was just another day, at home, going up and down the stairs with the day’s activities and chores (Hercules also making an appearance). Always right on my heel, Stitch needing to know what I was doing, shoving his face between mine and the laptop, taking up more of the glider seat than *I* was, grabbing his leash and bringing it to me for a walk and letting me love on him. I’m forgetting the way he used to smell of oatmeal and honey. One bath and he was a walking marshmallow for three weeks. His coat was silky and show quality and he knew when he was pretty. His gait would change from playful house pet to show ring prance and god help you if you didn’t acknowledge how handsome he was. I’m forgetting the feel of his weight in my arms and against my side at night. I’m forgetting and it makes me so sad 😦 For a few weeks, I’m ashamed to admit that I found solace in preparing to join Stitch. I was so heartbroken that he might be scared and upset in a world without his family, that he didn’t know I never had any intention of leaving him alone and that I thought he’d be coming home. The unanswered questions, the empty reassurances, everything was pointing to an exit sign. If there was one grief I could have done without learning, the loss of a child tops it. Our pets become family and treasured members: like raising an infant to adulthood, making sure their needs are met, keeping them safe and healthy. I miss Stitch but I couldn’t do that to my parents. I couldn’t and didn’t want them to experience that loss: having to bury their daughter. Stitch’s passing has taught me empathy towards parenthood/my parents, revealing the fierce strength that I may not have; it makes me question my ability to care for living things.

There’s still the holidays we’re going to have to soldier through without a little boy stuck in a dog costume. Stitch loved wrapping paper and shredding it but he loved eating toilet paper and Bounty if he could get his paws on it. He hated Halloween and the decorations at his eye level but he loved his candy. Stitch ate Starbursts, gummy bears, jelly beans but was a complete sucker for Skittles. Watching him chew candy like a kid was fascinating! He knew when my sister had them in her bag, just by the sound and if she took too long to hand ’em over, he helped himself and purloined the pack with his paws and teeth. He was uncannily good at getting into our purses and removing chapstick. The purses never looked disturbed and it was only when we were out and needed it, we’d realize what happened. Stitch ate $50 and $100 dollar bills (and only those denominations) on more than one occasion and then, there was the time he swallowed some loose diamonds my mom was looking at. He knew by the feel of a car’s speed and the duration of the trip if he was headed towards the Carvel or the groomer’s. His grooming sessions were eventually moved into the privacy of our home because it was clear that no man could touch him without getting bit. Stitch was ferociously protective of my mom and anyone who wasn’t female or Asian wouldn’t do. He was a misandrist (I didn’t train him to attack men; he developed it on his own – growing up with three women and one man in the house, it might have been inevitable.) My mom used to carry him in a makeshift papoose around work and everywhere – he loved being at the Carvel and couldn’t wait to lick the ice cream splatters from our clothes/shoes. My sister would enter the house, he’d make a beeline for her and greet her by licking her calf. It’s a weird feeling knowing you’re being devoured or at least, considered for consumption.You know you’re doing something right by your pet if people regularly ask to take your dog’s place for a day/lifetime. One of the kid employees at the store was graduating from high school, and once told me he wanted to grow up and be Stitch when I asked his thoughts on college and career choice. Some people don’t get steak twice a year, nevermind twice a month with sides of steamed veggies. There were mortifying times where we’d be out to dinner at a nice restaurant and my parents would pull the plates still nearly full of food out of the reach of their daughters, saying, “You’ve had enough. Stitch needs to eat, too. You could lose some weight anyway!” They’d cut up all the doggy bag food into tiny squares and sometimes even order Stitch his own meal to go. He had it good. I just wish my parents hadn’t felt the need to tell everyone the food was for the dog when they (parents) asked the waitstaff very specific questions about the ingredients (dogs can’t tolerate tomatoes, onions, chocolate) used in the meal. It felt like an indirect insult to the chef’s talents and time and effort he put in to cook for people. I’ve heard spices can be used as a canine deterrent from food you don’t want them eating, but Stitch loved spicy broccoli and kimchi. When I put Fire Sauce on my burritos, Stitch got too close, sneezed and kicked backwards but insisted on coming back for more. If you gave him a choice between food with spice and not, you’d see his eyes enlarge and get high enjoying whatever spice was left on my plate. He was definitively a very unique dog, too smart for his own good at times.

But first, his birthday is the week of Halloween and I don’t know how to celebrate the memory of his life or even if I should.