I did a lot of frustrating reading in the last 24 months. I looked up information about grieving the death of your dog(s). What I learned is, it’s okay to miss your dogs. Wow, revelation. I tried to convince myself to go to dog grief group. Twice I pulled into the parking lot of the place where the meetings were held and twice I convinced myself I just couldn’t go in and listen to sad stories, yet alone dump on other sad people. I stopped reading about it and did something–I adopted two more dogs. They are nothing like the slobbery, smile hounds that died. The shar-pei/lab/chow (I just typed cow, and trust me there’s some truth there) must have been threaten-trained within an inch of his life. He is so well-behaved that he is often afraid to be petted. He does love waking me at 1 AM for a good scratch of his almost-wrinkles, though. The other adoptee, June, is a dachshund/Cairn terrier mix with a natural mohawk, one eye and too many memories of her years on the streets. I have touched her about 8 times in the 6 months she has been with me. She is is teasing at losing her fear, but doing it with the dainty steps of a woman in 4″ heels crossing an icy street.
A friend whose wife was in home hospice care needed help finding some resources and getting through that process. Once again, I researched and read. I’ll say this: Just because you can copy and paste text from one website to another, it doesn’t make it new information. There are so few resources out there about how to support family caregivers who are experiencing the loss of a relationship and lifestyle simultaneously in a death-by-paper cuts fashion. So, I stopped reading and just focused on what was right, good, doable, and sensible and off the wall. I was present with someone else’s pain and am better for it. Being alive in the moment with someone 2000 miles away leaves you little time to boo hoo about your empty rooms and inability to figure out dinner for one.
Of course, I read about curing empty nest syndrome by planning fun trips with my spouse, downsizing for just me and my honey, and the joy of cooking for two! The problem is that whoever writes this stuff must believe that single mothers don’t exist. Hello! We’re out here! And at least one of us has stopped reading your advice. I am planning without guidelines to create a new way of life. Doing what is right, good, doable and off the wall seems like a good starting point. So, here’s what I did ‘right’ today: I determined that online shopping is not a therapeutic substitute for an empty nest. No, I haven’t run up my credit cards. I have very little debt. But I did find lots of ways to spend $20 a week on some really cute _____ that meant I would have a package to look forward to opening. Gotta stop that. So, this afternoon I howled ‘apps, I did it again’ along with Ms. Spears as I deleted sales apps from my phone and desktop, unsubscribed from nearly every place that forwards me sale! really great sale! information and wistfully looked at those expensive three-wicked candles on the Bath & Bodyworks site. It’s going to be sunny tomorrow. I am dusting off my camera and going on a drive to the Wyoming border tomorrow. It’s a great excuse to put off housekeeping and does not require an app.