My exboyfriend arrived back in our town on Thursday. He rented an apartment less than two miles from my house. He was supposed to stop by with the dog around 5 pm, but texted me the move was taking longer than expected and he would either come later or over the weekend. I did not hear from him again until 9:30 pm. I was already in bed, so I put his call to voicemail. He immediately called back again and I answered.
“I think the dog is dead.”
I knew our dog was not doing well and was suffering. I had said my bittersweet goodbyes to her two weeks ago when he left and took her with him to visit his parents. I believed that she would live out her remaining days down there, in the sunshine and warmth of the South.
“What? Are you sure?”
I had been nervous about seeing him all day. I felt so many different emotions. Resentment for him moving so close to me without even asking how I felt about it. Worry about how his health is and that he hasn’t gotten any professional help yet. I missed him, I wanted to see him, I never wanted to see him again…I was all over the place. I sort of just needed to get the first time seeing him over with.
“I left for 20 minutes and when I got back she was lying against the door. She’s not moving. Her eyes are open.”
I took control. It is what I always did. It was why he called me. He knew I would know what to do. Regardless of what happened between us and my demand for more space and time from him, this was something I knew he couldn’t do alone. And I didn’t want him to. I called the emergency vet and arranged to bring her in.
“Get her to the truck and come pick me up…we will bring her in together.”
I got into his truck, the backseat was dark and I couldn’t see her lifeless body. I didn’t want to. He was trying to keep it together. He called his parents to tell them and failed to mention I was with him. I let that go- not important. They did not show much acknowledgment or appreciation for the 26 days of my devotion to him in the hospital (or the 8 years throughout our relationship), so I wouldn’t expect it now. It was so hard not to reach over and take his hand. I stuck mine deep into the sleeves of my sweatshirt and crossed my arms. We spoke very little on the way there.
We both got a chance to say goodbye to her in a private room. Even though my already broken heart shattered into more slivers as I kissed her nose and whispered into her soft ear, I was more worried about him. I left him so he could have some time alone with her. Walking out of the office, I turned to hug him in the parking lot. He was stiff and patted my back and I could tell he did not want to be touched. It felt like a rejection, but I know he was just trying to hold it together. When he dropped me off, I tried to get him to come in and talk and he refused, but I know that my ulterior motive was that I wanted to prevent him from drinking if he was planning to.
I couldn’t stop him from drinking when we lived together and I saw him every day. I certainly cannot control him now. I am just SO SAD all the time. It is like one thing after another. Just last week, my mother had a cat scan of her lungs and they found a nodule in each one. I can’t even think about it. It’s just too much. My therapist said that I am focusing on him so much so I don’t have to deal with how I feel and my own pain. It is just too overwhelming and I do not know how to even begin to process everything that happened. I am genuinely worried about him, too. I know I “shouldn’t” be and he “isn’t my problem anymore”, but how do I just stop? When he is sick or depressed, how do I not check on him? I feel angry and frustrated because after everything his body went through, he is not taking care of himself.
I am consumed by so much grief and so much loss.
“It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone… but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.”