confusion central
if you’re here, you are SO lost.

Habits, patterns, death, & loss

Today our dog died.  We hadn’t been quick enough to get her to the vet’s, and she was, indeed, very ill.  She was also very old, so anything a vet could have done would only have postponed the very imminent inevitable.

It’s still really, really sad.  Yes, I didn’t appreciate the fact that she ate my clothing.  That bothered me.  But it is NEVER fun when something dies, especially when you aren’t expecting it to happen.

I should amend that.  I guess I expected it, but I never really considered what it would be like to have NO DOG.  And we probably won’t get a replacement for a long time (Like any dog could replace the bundle of idiosyncratic humor that was our dog…. 😦  ), even though I’ve been seeing ads for puppies everywhere.  Now those ads are going to make me sad whenever I see them.

This brings up an interesting point, though, that I’m going to share here in the hopes that it doesn’t seem insensitive to the people who have lost really special things.  If you find yourself indignant, please comment.  This is kind of a deep topic and a rather unusual approach…

I am contending – as I have been for the past three or four months – that the things we love and grow attached to are habits.  Humanly speaking, the pet we love, the person we befriend, the plant we grow…it can be just about anything on earth.  If we grow attached to it, we find that we love it.  And in loving it, we naturally want to spend more time with and on it…we want it to prosper and be around for awhile.  In trying to help it prosper, it becomes a habit. We build patterns around it, and if it ever has to go, we grieve because we realize that there is now a hole in our time – a hole where we used to spend time with this thing or person we loved. I found that one out firsthand.  It is not helpful to be trying desperately to avoid thinking about what happened (whatever it was) only to look at the clock and realize that at this very moment, I would be spending time doing something I loved if only….

These patterns open us wide for lots and lots and lots of “if only”s. (I’m pretty sure there’s no grammatically correct way to write that, so I’ll leave it as is. 🙂  ) It’s frustrating.  It’s hard.  And unfortunately, it can seem like if we ever fill those empty holes with other things, we’re deserting what we had and lost.  It’s problematic.  It’s circuitous.  And it really, really hurts.

So perhaps this is all to say that perhaps the most direct way to begin the process of growing over a lost…something…is to find things that fill our patterns…that break our habits, and push us away from death and loss and into life and growth.  Learning to forget is, for most, an ill-remembered skill when it comes to recovering from a crippling blow. Maybe it’s really the first step in that “cycle of grief” I keep hearing about.

…and I’m now moving my feet very cautiously under the desk, only to realize that there’s no dog down there to move crankily when I almost-kick her every time I move.  Habits….

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7 Responses to “Habits, patterns, death, & loss”

  1. Hmm. I find that really interesting. Something to think about.

  2. I’m sorry. 😦 Skunk was quite a little stinker.

  3. Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that she was…sometimes. but aren’t all pets?

  4. “Learning to forget is, for most, an ill-remembered skill…”
    I love that line.
    You have read The Four Loves, right?

  5. I give my most sincere condolences for the loss of your dog and, if you don’t mind my saying so, the loss of a member of your family. As you said, we grow attached to the things that constantly surround and shape our lives.. I’m sure that counting the dog as a member of the family isn’t totally off. xD

    And now to a statement that actually might make sense… I’ve noticed throughout my life that these “holes” in our lives become kind of like a.. cancer? I’m not sure how to phrase it any other way. may be different from person to person, depending upon who they are and how they deal with emotional trauma, as well as the situation, yet people often find it very, very difficult to deal with extreme loss. They get so caught up in their grief that they forget to sit down, breath, and go on with life. In my head (which is something that neither I or anyone else will -ever- understand) this reminds me a lot of a cancerous growth.

    If someone knows that a growth is there and feels pain from it, naturally they would go to the doctor. Hopefully it will be removed in time for there to be no permanent danger to the patient’s body. However, some people wouldn’t go to the doctor upon finding the growth. Whether it is from a fear of hospitals, sloth, or just not worrying about the long-lasting consequences.. It is highly probable that people like this would get into the doctor’s office only to be told that they are due to die within a few months to a year. This, in a strange fashion, reminds me of how a friend of mine dealt with his grief.

    My friend (let’s call him Bob. That isn’t his name, but I respect him enough not to go blathering about him on the internet. o.O) lost his girlfriend in a tragic car accident. Unsurprisingly, it was -extremely- difficult for him to cope with such a monumental loss. Before the accident, he was a decent kid. Good grades, white-picket fence around his house, played chess with him, etc. After the accident.. well, that changed. I may be misinterpreting your idea, Bumblebee, but he tried to fill up this new.. “hole” in his life by doing such activities as practicing illegal drug use, becoming bitter and distant from his family and friends, ignoring his classes, etc. It wrecked Bob’s life, to say the least. As far as I know, Bob hasn’t filled up that hole.. his “cancer.” He let his grief and negative emotion to build so high that he couldn’t stop it without permanent damage to himself..

    Sorry for the depressing (and grievously long) post.. and again, I’m sorry for your loss. Just trying to put in my two cents. (Two pennies that are really rusted, green and twisted, I might add. >.>))

  6. And also, sorry I haven’t been replying lately. I -have- been reading your blogs ever since you gave me the link to this website. I just haven’t ha much time to post the comments I -want- to give, such as the one above.

    On another random and totally unrelated topic, I learned how to cook Thanksgiving stuff last week!.. 🙂

    And I’m sorry again about the really, really long comment. x.x Just tell me if I should avoid that from now on.

    Live long and prosper!

  7. Devlin – allowing the lack of someone or something to shape how you live your life does resemble a cancerous growth…excellent comparison. I haven’t seen it firsthand, but your example is very applicable. However, I’m not sure I completely understand how cancer (painless) can be just like loss (extremely painful). I’ll get back to this in a little bit, but… thanks for your feedback!


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