Lose a limb, save the body

The 'ugh' face.

The ‘ugh’ face.

Last Monday was the one year mark of a personal journey in my life that I never thought I would be making, nor wanting. It was a day that signified a moment in time, which even now for me is difficult to fully comprehend. In just a moment, I can switch from disbelief to how much time has passed to feeling like all these events were just yesterday. My struggle here and now is to coherently describe all of my feelings and thoughts; especially with this new blog, with it’s new, regenerated focus – remain positive, upbeat while trying to retain my usual writing style without delving into the bad or bringing up persons or subjects that I vowed to not discuss here.

Yet, sometimes life events and choices made sometimes necessitates a post. The sad irony is, the very reasons I do not want to re-address my grievances here is, for the most part, the same reasons that forced my decision I made earlier last month. Sometimes, in order for the body to heal, you have to cut off the infected area that persists now matter the treatments.

Clem. Clementine. My Clemmie. She is a dog. But as any dog owner will tell you, sometimes that does not do justice to the pet’s actual standing within the family or the eyes of his or her owner. She is, without a doubt, one of my greatest joys and helped me discover how amazing and wonderful it is to have a dog in one’s own life. Even with the foulest of moods and the craziest of loathsome thoughts can be nearly swept away when you see that little face so anxious and happy to see you. The booty wiggles, the tail wags, and the wide-eyed joy just because you walked in the door is unequaled. Their life, making them happy as much as they make you happy, caring for them, and having such a little creature seemingly worship everything you do brings about this unheralded distraction that has no similar. In the time I have had Clemmie in my primary care, I have been focusing on her and the happiness she brings. By having her in my life and by caring for her, I have been given a tool to help me pull myself from this impossible depression. When she is sound asleep and cuddled next to me in bed, everything seems right and good. I feel a warmth in my being that I thought had long since been extinguished.

With all of this comes a cost. At first, I thought I could endure and attempt to move forward. Oh I have wrestled with the idea of giving Clem back to her owner for some time now. There was always a reason to justify the cost. Having Clem in my life was more significant than not. As my therapist quiped, “What you have to decide is which is more difficult: not having Clemmie in your life or having to continue to interact with your ex-wife.” The $64,000 question we called it. This decision became more of point to ignore than actually having to make a decision. Because by default, no decision simply meant life went on as normal.

Then the last couple weeks of last year showed me exactly where I was. The answer to the ultimate question became more evident than ever before. The sad and terrible truth is I am simply not ready to have Clemmie in my life on a regular basis. She is not ‘my’ dog. By keeping her I retained this one last tie to my previous relationship. Ideally, if I wasn’t so fucked up, I could continue to care for Clemmie as I have had in the past few months and let her mother have her from time to time. But I am not ready for that. I need time and space to heal and to move on. As much as I want to have my baby in my life until she leaves this life, I can not. I am not able to take the necessary steps forward to heal my broken heart, shattered self-esteem, and lack of self-worth without completely removing a piece of my past life.

I need to be in a place where I do not obsess over details I have no business knowing, much less caring about. I need to be in a place where I am not so much focused on the past and the hurt and the lies. I need to feel better about myself and the choices I have made and come to accept where I am in life. Right now, I am not there.

And thus my reasoning for returning Clemmie to her true owner and thus severing the last tie we shared. This is a selfish decision but it is one I need to make. Yet, now I have been presented with a goal. This goodbye is not forever. I do not want it to be. Clemmie is so incredibly special to me and I have yet to fully comprehend the personal consequences of such a decision. Instead, my focus is on getting better, finishing my healing process and becoming a better person and doing so so I can have Clemmie once again in my life before I must say goodbye forever.

No, I do not know how long this will take. My hopes are that in a year or two I can once again be apart of her life and hers apart of mine. This is a wonderful motivating goal to work towards: get better in time to spend some good quality time with my baby before she leaves.

Still, in one saving grace, I have asked Clemmie’s owner to still consider my friend as a first-choice dog sitter when said owner travels and need doggie pet-sitting. If she agrees and follows through, I can still see Clem without the hassles and cons of continued contact.

On the other hand, I am only now coming to grips with what I have wrought. My baby will not be there, happy and wiggly, when I return home from work. She will not be next to me on the couch or the bed with her butt tucked next to me while I listen to her sigh or huff or growl or bark in her sleep. I will not be there to play tug with her. And she will not be there to lick tears off my face or drool on the floor when a treat is dangled in front of her. It will be a very lonely existence in my home without her. Sure, I can and could get a new dog, but the new dog will never be my Clementine.

In the coming months, my hope is I can live with myself for making this decision. My hope is that the empty feeling in my chest is quelled with the knowledge that I did the right thing. And when I am sitting on couch alone and I instinctively reach out to pet my baby that I will be sad but understand why I did what I did. I do not have children and I can not imagine what it is like. But I think I am a simple understanding right now. One day, I hope I can live with myself for giving up the one thing in the world that loves me unconditionally.

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