Tag Archives: grief

Going to Town

As I make my rounds through town people are noticing the lack of a gorgeous chocolate shih tzu that used to be part of our pack. The owner of the PetValue in Fort Erie remembered Taz’s name and then started to talk about the most beautiful chocolate shih tzu that comes into the shop. I showed her a picture of Gizmo and she said “yes!” Where is he?? Gone. Lost. Dead.

I cried in the middle of PetValue. She gave me a free sample.

I got home and got the mail and in an envelope was a letter from International Therapy Dog wanting to congratulate us on completing the multi-dog therapy dog training. Taz and Gizmo were a team and just got their therapy dog status this past June. Bitter sweet. Happy and heartbreaking. Sad and wonderful. More tears for my overflowing bucket.

No wonder I don’t want to leave the house when every time I turn there is a six degrees of separation person who misses Gizmo. It hurts and wells up inside me and then I’m proud that he touched so many people.

A friend said I needed to find the joy in life again and one of my favorite things to do is ride Autumn. I rode and then gave her a big bubble bath. It passed the time, but the grief is still strong.

I moved the horse and goats back into their three acre paddock and walked back into the house to notice that my necklace was hanging off my neck and my locket was gone.

The week Gizmo died I ordered a locket. It was a simple silver locket with a paw print in the front, Gizmo’s name engraved on the back and his picture inside. I loved it. I lost it too.

I contacted the company I ordered the locked from (Heartsmith) and they’re sending me a new one. ASAP. A ride on my horse and an act of kindness. There is still some goodness left. I think Heartsmith may have pulled a Gizmo. An act of kindness.

The Bed

I have a HUGE King size panel bed that easily stands over four feet at the mattress. It’s huge and lovely. The dogs have a tough time getting in and out of it. I’ve tried cushions, stairs, couches, ramps and nothing.

The nothing was bad because they’d wake me up in the middle of the night to get on and off the bed. It wasn’t like Gizmo where I had to get up and walk him down stairs for a drink. Poco and Taz can do it on their own. I was also afraid they might fall off.

I put a ramp up, but that lasted a day when Taz got her toe nail caught and cried like a baby. That’s it! The bed is going on the floor.

I can only say I bought the bed years ago from Lampman’s Furniture in Fenwick and it wasn’t cheap. Now, my not so cheap bed with lifetime warranty on the mattress is sitting on the floor because of my dogs.

I still have the headboard and footboard in place, but the box spring and mattress sit on the floor. I have an old couch cushion as a step, so they can jump up and down. It’s a big bed. At first it felt like sleeping in a coffin with the high front and back, but now it feels safe and comfortable.

Even little Vincent can manage the leap and the pups spent the first day delighting in jumping on and off the bed without any hint of danger.

Gizmo would have loved it, but he’d still wake me up in the middle of the night to turn on the hall light, so he could navigate the stairs. I think he was afraid of the dark.

Grief and Thoughts

What do you believe? Fate? Destiny? Karma? A higher being? God? Religion? Do you believe that things happen for a reason? Do you cling to your beliefs during times of crisis? I have a certain amount of ambiguity about my beliefs.

Life is rarely clear defined as good and evil or black and white. Life is full of grey areas and this is particularly true when discussing fault. Brent and I are responsible for keeping our heartbeats safe. We must keep them out of danger they don’t understand. We failed to keep Gizmo safe and accept our responsibility. 
Brent and I are level headed people and understand accidents happens. We’ve walked that off leash walk from car to house a hundred times and we knew the risks, but we never actually believed anything bad would happen.  
A parent can tell a child a million times to watch for cars, but if a child gets hit by a car a parent feels guilty. Why? Because, it’s a parents job to keep their children safe. It’s my job to keep my puppies safe and I failed. I take responsibility. I won’t blindly accept that it’s not my fault and I ask for forgiveness. 
I am responsible for Gizmo’s death and I have to live with that. Was it destine to happen? Am I somehow less responsible because of fate? I don’t know, but I am living with my broken family and fractured life. Gizmo was our glue, he was our love and our joy. I miss his so much. 

I had this vision of my family over the next ten years and my vision is shattered. I can’t seem to adjust to life without Gizmo. I had the most amazing family for three years and I should be grateful, but I’m lost without my little dude.

I marvel at how versatile Taz has been over the years. She lost her most loved companion: Misiu, who helped her transition from puppyhood into adulthood before he died. She grieved deeply at his absence. She stopped eating. Stopped playing and would sit in the window watching the world, but refusing to participate. Gizmo has left her, along with all the fosters that have come and gone over the years. She’s spent some time sitting alone in the back porch gathering all her dearest toys and staring outside. This is her grief.

I wish I was at the phase where I could see the good and feel positive, but I’m not there yet. Give me time.

Gizmo walking the Bridge

The sky looks like heaven tonight. Blue sky with pink and gold edging on the fluffy white clouds. I imagine Gizmo and I are both under that sky tonight. It’s a summer night in August and we’ve got a fire going in the backyard and I can’t help but think of my Gizmo. I have the wagon with a pillow out for Taz, but I think Gizmo would really love it too.

I’d like to say my heart breaks, but it’s already broken and I realize now I can’t fix it’s deep fracture, but I know it will heal with time. I feel sore and tired like I’ve run a marathon, but I’ve only gotten out of bed. I crawl from my dark room and drink tea and check my email. Another day goes by and another day I move farther away from the memory of my little chocolate love.

I wander my farm and look after the other critters who still need my care. I mow the grass and get the mail and see the spot where my Gizmo died and I don’t want to live here anymore. It feels like it was never real. It feels like the farm was an illusion. Life can never be that good.

It’s like losing myself. It’s like nothing can really be that good… and last. I wasn’t prepared for the shoe to drop. I wasn’t ready to lose a piece of my family. I am distraught.

With Gayle’s words swirling in my head I walk out and sit crying at Gizmo’s grave when I suddenly see him clearly in my mind. He’s walking across a long beautiful bridge and he stops and turns his head to look at me. He wags his tail and jumps a little and I think, I’ve got to let you go Gizmo.

I cried a little harder and I said good-bye to my little dude and watched him trot happily along the bridge. I couldn’t see where he was going, but he wasn’t afraid to go there and I finally found some comfort. Gayle is right, my Gizmo is still surrounded by love.

Knowing I need to let him go and letting him go are two different processes, but I’m glad that I finally know what I need to do. I’m glad I can work towards something.

I still cry everyday and probably will for a very long time, but I can picture him doing is cheeky backwards glance and almost hear him giggle his puppy giggle.

Nothing, but time will ease the grief. Nothing but love will heal this ache.

I still can’t believe it happened. I miss my Gizmo every moment of everyday. His dance, his wiggle, his giggle and his love. I was so blessed.

I remember making the video of Gizmo on his last day and the final shot is of Taz and Gizmo and on the tape I say “oh… my twins”. I miss having my twins. I miss having the pair that loved and played. I miss my Gizmo.

Perfect Home

The farm was perfectly balanced. All the animals that lived in the house brought joy, love and a wonderful balance to our home.

Poco is our guardian. Our stoic male role model who still dreams of the marine corp that he’s now retired. Poco can clean a rifle, fetch a ball and take you down in a knife fight. He’ll also defend his home and all those who reside inside. He loves with all his heart, but please don’t ever point it out. He’s our soldier, defender and protector. You can feel safe knowing Poco is on duty.

Super Taz is our watcher and our hunter. Nary a stray leaf passes the lawn without her knowledge. A frog does not spawn, hop or swim without her permission. She’ll out run you, out bark you and own you in a matter of minutes. She’s loud, crass and defiant. She loves with all her heart and is not ashamed to be exactly who she is: a warrior. Taz also gives great kisses and cuddles. She’s not shy about her passions.

Gizmo was our lover. He filled the house with nothing but joy and laughter. He would big bear fight with Taz, but that was the extent of his ire. Gizmo was our romantic, our cuddler, our sweet and peaceful boy. Gizmo hated the rain, wet grass and loud noises. Gizmo would demand you stop playing on the computer and play with him. He would insist on attention with his head on your shoulder he’d roll on his side to accept all kinds of bell rubs. Gizmo was an expert at begging for cookies, food and meals. I’m certain Taz and Poco would send Gizmo in to beg for cookies and I never said no. He was my cookie monster.

My balanced triangle is missing a side. My home is missing it’s love. My life is broken and it’s so hard to adjust. I don’t know how to right this wrong. I don’t know how to find my love again? There is something obviously absent in my home. There is a soul missing at roll call. There is a heartbeat that isn’t beating anymore.

The love has been replaced by grief. There is a cloud that has settled over this farm and without the love to push it off I fear it may stay dark for a long long time.

It will be a week today when the cloud settled over the farm, when a light went out, a soul lost and our love was lost. I’m still waiting for it to get easier. I’m still waiting for tomorrow, but how to go forward without love?

I turned the radio off in the kitchen because it kept playing that song that played the night Gizmo died and I’d remember holding my limp puppy in my arms and watching my love die. I can’t seem to get to the tomorrow where things get better. I can’t seem to find the path that heals.
There is no more kitchen dancing at the farm. There is no daily Gizmo duet before dinner. There are no morning tummy tickles or afternoon games of rattle.
Gizmo had a particular way of cuddling with his head on my shoulder and his body across my chest with his belly exposed for rubbing. We’d sit in the evening with his nose in my ear and my hand on his belly until he snored and woke himself up. I’d laugh.
He brought so much laughter into my life. He was all the things in this world that are good and loving and genuine. 

Missing you more than I can say my Gizmos.

Gizmo and the CCRT

Years ago we noticed that Gizmo had a passion for chihuahuas. Every time we ran into one of the little chi’s he’d get so excited. They were smaller than him and highly energetic. I remember a time in Key West at an off leash dog park that Gizmo fell instantly in love with a long haired female who admired him as well. It got me thinking.

Three dogs was our limit, but I’d always wanted to see if a chi would fully bring Gizmo out of his shell, so Brent and I agreed to join the Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Tranport (CCRT). We put our application to be a foster home back in early June 2011.

The process is long and time consuming, but we were finally successful on Saturday, August 6, 2011 a mere four days following Gizmo’s death. On Sunday, August 7, 2011 we got a call that the CCRT was in dire need of foster homes and could we foster a little guy.

I was in tears when I spoke to the coordinator on Sunday night and told her what happened to our Gizmo. I hinted that we might not be a trustworthy foster home. She didn’t hesitate. We were just fine.

She called back on Monday afternoon and asked if we could pick up our new foster on Tuesday afternoon. Exactly one week since we lost our Gizmo. I cried. I wondered. I couldn’t say no.

I pick up Vincent around 1 pm on August 8, 2011 from the Oakville Humane Society. Vincent was named after the artist Van Gogh because they are both missing an ear. Vincent came from a hoarding situation where his one ear was bitten completely off and the other ear was mangled.

When I first saw Vincent I thought, Gizmo would love him. He was so shy he made Gizmo look like a social butterfly. He was so timid Poco looked like a socialite. Taz hated him instantly, but will play with him if necessary.

Vincent is sleeping on my lap as I write this and he’s warm. Taz is curled beside my leg and Poco is at my feet. These moments make me miss my Gizmos so much it hurts. I’ve never had a dog that could cuddle like a Gizmo – across my chest, head on my shoulder and nose in my ear.  I miss him so much there is a hole inside me.

I miss my Gizmo, but he would have loved Vincent and Gizmo has started us on another rescue adventure with a new group. Vincent says thanks Gizmo. Thanks. One little dog can make a difference.

Vincent’s First Day at the Farm 
Vincent Convinces Taz to Play

Special Little Dude

When I was struggling through my early thirties I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted out of life, how to spend my time and what was important.

This is where my devotion to my dogs was born. I’d always loved animals, but I made a conscious decision to make them a big part of my life. I became involved in dog rescue and met other wonderful like-minded people. It was nice to learn that I was not the only crazy dog lady.

Brent and I found our Gizmo. It took a few weeks to organize the adoption and it was an exciting day when Taz and I made the pilgrimage to Ohio to rescue our Little Dude.

I knew the instant I saw him that he was my baby boy. Gizmo was sick and fearful when he first came to the farm, but his spirit was strong. 
I spent months nursing him back to health and then years loving him and helping him come out of his shell to become a glowing, amazing star who learned to shine brightly.

Gizmo loved everyone. He embraced life whole heartedly and would delight in even the smallest bit of cookie. Gizmo and I kitchen danced everyday to whatever song was on the radio that constantly plays in our house.

Each morning I would wake him with belly tickles and he would give me a nose lick in return. When I’d try to stand him up he would slump back over collapsing into bed, but his wagging tail would always give him away. He refused to stand on his big boy legs. Giggling I’d pick him up and cuddle him while his tail wagged like mad and he made his old man noises. We’d walk downstairs smiling together and I’d make a special trip outside, so he could do his business. Gizmo never did figure out the dog door.

Once back in the house he’d dance and spin until he got a cookie which he’d take into the living room and eat on the white carpet. He’d run back into the kitchen and wiggle around my legs until I gave him breakfast.

Whether I was working or not this is how I started everyday. Every moment brightened by Gizmo. Ever step a little lighter, every chore a little easier and a smile to go with it all.

Gizmo loved to play with me. He liked to chase my hands and I’d try and grab his paw. He’d get so excited that he couldn’t contain himself and would run like mad around the house. I’d run too and we’d do laps around the island and into the living room until we’d collapse on the floor where he’d wiggle over to lick my ear.

Gizmo gave the best ear licks.

Gizmo loved laundry. Clean or dirty. He would help me make the bed by grabbing the sheet and pulling. He’d delight in getting stuck under the fitted sheet and wiggle until I’d find him and set him free. He’d dance with joy and try to steal my pillows as I put on the pillow cases.

Taking off clothing was an even bigger event. He loved to steal my uniform shirts, socks and bra. I’d find clothing stashed under the coffee table in the living room. There’s still an old sports bra under my coffee table because I don’t have the heart to pick it up.

Gizmo was a part of my daily life. He brought light, joy and love to me everyday and this is why his loss  overflows my heart with grief. I wish for so many things right now. I wish for Gizmo to be back. I wish I’d left him in the stroller. I’d wished we’d built the fence like we’d talked about so many times.

I am broken. Torn apart. Alone and lost. I don’t know how to get through this horrible event. This thing. This death.
I miss my Gizmos.

Two in the Morning

I was laying in bed at 2 am with quiet tears falling down my cheeks wetting my pillow. I rolled over, got out of bed and crept out of the bedroom so I didn’t disturb my family. I had the air conditioning on and wanted to see if it was still humid outside, but I didn’t want to wake Taz by using the back door. 
I walked through the living room and pushed down the bit of fear I always have of the dark. My hand grabbed the cool brass of the front door and I twisted it open and stepped outside. 
It was humid, but not hot. It felt like everything was dripping with moisture, with fresh tears. The concrete step was cool as I lower myself down and sat heavily. I stared straight ahead at the road. At the site where Gizmo lost his light and I wept. 
A black pick up truck drove by and I tried not to picture the wheel running over the small tender body of Gizmo, but it came into my mind before I could block the horrible image. I shook with the heaviness of knowing and squeezed my eyes tightly shut burying my eyes into my hands trying to breathe. 
I forced my eyes open and with a bit of gold magic I imagined my Gizmo getting up and trotting up the front walkway to meet me on the porch. 
I smiled at Gizmo afraid that if I touched him he would vanish, so I opened the front door and invited him into the house. He entered with excitement and danced across the living room with his toe nails making that undeniable sound on the floor. 
I said “hey little dude, let’s go up to bed” and he ran in a circle and then up the stair ahead of me. He waited at the top of the steps and then we both turned into the bedroom. I lifted him onto the bed and watched as he curled into his spot. I crawled into bed and stroked his head “good night Giz” I whispered and finally fell asleep. 
I woke this morning remembering my night time stroll with Gizmo and smiled, but the grief struck me in the chest and my smile turned to tears. I miss my little dude.