I Am Not Okay

I am not okay today.

That doesn’t really roll off the tongue, but it’s true. Louie, my sweet puggle who went on his first Big (Runaway) Adventure at the end of July, woke up a week ago with limited use of his legs.

It turns out that he has a degenerative disc disease (common in pugs) and one of the discs in his spine ruptured leaving his brain unable to fully message his hind legs. He started stumbling a little bit and two vet visits and one specialist recommendation later, we put him on meds and crate rest.

But last night things got (a lot) worse.

louie

Jason, the kids, and I watched with that “something’s wrong” feeling deep inside our bellies as he became more immobilized. We slept around him, a family sleepover for all the wrong reasons. We watched him struggle which made us cry and told stories about him which made us laugh and we snuggled him which balmed our souls.

We  also talked to the kids about the possibility of putting Louie down. Kayli cried for 12 hours straight. Chloe wanted to do something — anything — for everyone, but didn’t really want to see anyone or have anyone around her. And we couldn’t quite tell what 5-year-old Brody was thinking and feeling.

Jason pulled Brody into his lap, his blond locks grazing the roughness of Jason’s unshaven face. They both looked soft from my view.

“Do you understand what putting Louie down means?” Jason asked, an unhidden crack in his voice. “Yes,” Brody nodded, little boy eyes wide. “It means he’ll go to sleep and won’t wake up and won’t be here anymore. We’ll make him die.”

Watching your children process things like this is not for the broken, and broken — cracked and creviced and splintered — is exactly how I feel right now.

Earlier, I was sitting at my kitchen counter — chin in hands, shoulders tight, head pounding, tears streaming — when Chloe pulled herself onto the stool by my side. She put her tiny fingers on my leg and said, “Poor mama. Its been a hard day.”

And you know what? It has.

But there are a million reasons why I didn’t let these words slip.

When I take a big humbling step back and look at the way we all puzzle-piece together — and I do believe that all of our edges and curves fit together more than it seems like they do at first blush — I know that my pain puzzle piece is small compared to others’.

Anna wrote a book about her 12-year-old son, Jack, drowning. Kimberly’s 2-year-old Lucy is fighting the terrifying fight against leukemia. A childhood friend of mine, Denise — 38, wife, coach, mama of two — died suddenly this spring. My online community continues to reel from the depression that plucked a soul soother like Robin Williams away so tragically.

These hurts are big and make me want to answer love that sounds like, “Its been a hard day,” with a defense mechanism that feels like, “I’m okay.”

I’m porous and sensitive and carry a luggage set worth of emotional baggage. This is a noxious cocktail that makes small scrapes feel like scorching accidents.

But in the end, besides the state of our hearts and our minds and our gratitudes, hurt is hurt, you know?

Vikki says that I only share when prompted and I think the suffocating feeling of my pain puzzle piece being smaller than your pain puzzle piece is one reason why I do this.

Who am I to complain when I have a million and one reasons to be grateful?

But we’re connected, all of us, and the only thing that can possibly happen from a little more openness and honesty is our puzzle fitting together more tightly and smoothly and beautifully.

So maybe if, when we need to, we choose to say we’re not okay. And, when we can, we choose to see people like my 8-year-old does and notice and acknowledge and soothe and balm when things seem hard for others.

So I’ll start. I am not okay today. How are you?

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Comments

  1. I am so sorry, dear friend. I so know. We had to say goodbye to our oldest cat recently and it was crushing. And in comparison to so much, it seems so small, but still, crushing.

    Sending love to you and yours. I am thinking about your sweet pup. And your whole family. Sending love and peaceful sentiments your way.

  2. Oh sweetie. I’m sorry about your dog and how hard this is. To your point, in the end, hurt doesn’t disperse gratitude; both can exist in great measures at the same time. I hope all this works out as best it possibly can.

  3. Oh, my heart…I worried about you when you didn’t respond to my message. My heart is breaking for you and your family. xoxo

  4. Sending some love and light your way and letting you know you’ve been heard. I hope that helps, even a smidge. xoxo

  5. Perhaps you don’t share all your hurt, not everyone does, but, while I only know you inside a particular bubble, I am drawn to your sense of compassion and empathy. Your gift of seeming to put others first may be just what keeps your heart beating and why we all come back to sit in your safe space.

    I am sorry you are hurting. I hope we can return the gift you have given us and provide you with a safe place to feel the hurt. Or, if you choose to keep the hurt to yourself, know that we will still be here when you need us.

  6. I am so very, very sorry.

  7. Thank you, Galit. Beautifully said.

  8. You’re absolutely right. Pain is pain. I’m so so sorry to hear about your precious puppy. That kind of pain is indeed painful. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. What a sweet daughter you have.

  9. It’s not small. Love you and am so sorry my friend. Thinking about your always. xo

  10. I get this so much . . . the feeling that our hurts and challenges are, compared to others’, not significant enough to dwell on or even mention. You described it so perfectly. I’m so sorry you’re hurting and having to watch your sweet kids and husband feel the weight of this decision and loss, too. It’s real and it’s okay to feel it and discuss. I’m so glad you did that here. Poor Louie. :(

  11. I’m so sorry about Louie and the very real hurt you are feeling. Sending love and peace for your family.

  12. Oh, it hurts. You need to let it hurt, and cry with your children. Saying good bye to a dear member of your sweet little family is, as others have said, one of the hardest things you will ever do. Hugs, dear girl.

  13. Love you.

    Pain isn’t lessened by someone else having “more” pain.

    Let us gather around you. xo

  14. I am so sorry to hear about Louie and the sadness in your family right now. Sending you hugs and prayers.

  15. I am so sorry, dear friend. It hurts. Love you.

  16. I’m not okay either. Pain is pain. We lost our Saffaron 2 years ago this week. She was, like your pup , part of the fabric of our family. It was a tremendous loss & our hearts still collectively ache for her sweet face in our laps. She is gone from our lives but always in our hearts and the hardest part was watching our girls go through it:( feel your feelings, mama. Pain & hurt are not in competition or on levels, hurt is hurt. I am sorry that you are hurting, my friend. Love to you and your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Xoxo

  17. So sorry about Louie. Much love and strength to all of you, my friend.

  18. I am okay today. So how about I hold you up for
    a while? Sending healing thoughts and lots of love
    to you. XO

  19. Oh how my hearts just hurts for you and your precious family Galit!! Your words just poured out grace and love and pain wrapped so eloquently all in one thread. Yes, my friend. All pain hurts. All pain needs a voice and to be heard.

    Praying for you and that sweet Louie today… and for your beautiful family to endure this sad situation. Praying you continue cling to each other as you do, with a tight grip.

  20. Oh, Galit. I know this hurt is so real. And there is no comparison of trauma or pain. It all sucks. I’m sorry you are experiencing this particular suckage right now. Sending love and prayers for you and your family.

  21. I think it is very brave and strong to say “I’m not okay” and let people in to help you carry the pain or try to lighten your heart. It is a big step to say I’m not okay.

    I hurt for you and your puppy and your children and the knowledge that life ends. I know this first hand this year because when we lost Ben my children knew, they heard, they understood that he was going to sleep and not coming back. He was going to be in heaven and not here. I remember Jacob saying something t what Brody said and it broke me just a little more.

    I am thinking of your whole family and sending love.
    xo

  22. I wish more people would be honest with what they are feeling and I believe I am going to start being more honest. I am so sorry about Louie! I too am watching one of my kitties come to the end of her life and it is the hardest thing to watch. I can’t even imagine going through it with kids.

  23. We get it. We understand. So sorry. :-(

  24. Beautifully written and I’m so very sorry about Louie. I know the helpless feeling that comes with a furry family member’s health problems and it is so terrible. Sending love to you and your whole family. xo

  25. Kim Green says:

    I remember the day I stood in the middle of my street on an August afternoon, my bare feet unable to notice the smack of heat from the blacktop, my cries bouncing off rooftops and winding around corners because “something is wrong with Tobyyyyyeeeeyy”. I was crying for my one and a half year old chocolate lab, for my children who were losing their puppy, for my husband and I who couldn’t seem to catch a break, and for the unbearable decision before us between Life and Death.

    In fact, he suffered a very similar disc problem; they were quickly rupturing, leaving him almost completely paralyzed within a week.

    These problems, these feelings, these decisions….they are Big and Hard and full of Feelings incomprihensible, and so, do not feel your Piece of Hurt and Pain is too small to share, because it is in this very sharing where Healing begins.

    My thoughts are with you and your Family. xoxo

  26. I’m sorry about Louie. Thank you for sharing that you’re not okay. I think it’s hard for any of us to be okay, with Robin Williams’ recent suicide, what’s going on in Ferguson, and knowing that so many more people are suffering silently. It does affect us all because we have compassion, and we feel helpless.

    But this post is important. It reminds us to validate our own feelings and the feelings of those around us. We can’t accept what we don’t acknowledge.

  27. Dogs are family. A family member hurting is hard enough, but you being faced with trying to do what is right and to help your children understand that this might mean choosing death, is huge. We lost one of our dogs last Spring, and I sent Taryn to school the next day. I was told I should have let her stay home by some well-meaning people. But you know what? She needed some normal, and my husband and I needed time without her there – time when we didn’t need to be “strong” and could really let our grief go. Children are frightened seeing their parents too sad for too long or too loudly. But still, I know that there are a lot of folks who would think “but it is just a dog, it isn’t like a person died”.

    You don’t have to be OK all the time. My heart hurts for you and I am sending you healing, peaceful thoughts.

    • Katherine,
      It seems to me that some people don’t have a lot of compassion or empathy for that matter to put themselves inside someone else’s skin and see things from their perspective. Perhaps, for some people a dog or cat is just that but for so many of us our so-called pets are family or perhaps even a part of ourselves. Dogs have such empathy and compassion and love us in such a special way. I have written a few posts from my dog’s perspective as well and really tried to get into his fur. A few months ago, we bought a second dog hoping to ease the transition when he passes but something tells me it’s not going to help. If anything, it’s only highlighted his character and that he is himself and completely irreplaceable!! xx Rowena

  28. I don’t think anyone who has ever loved…and lost a pet, would ever call this a “small” pain. We had to put my dog down when I was a child, and you know what? I am still not okay these many years later. I still miss him and tears are still shed.
    I think the more important is not the comparison of the size of our individual pains, but that we share them. Shoulder our burdens together. But as a society, we tend to be so afraid of pain; it makes us uncomfortable. Our own, and especially others. And that is how we leave each other alone. We need to take better care of one another in this world. I am sorry that you are not okay right now, and I can’t tell you when all will be okay again. But I can tell you: I am not afraid of your pain and would gladly share it. even if just be absorbing these wonderful words; letting them sink in under my skin and settle there as a reminder to see people with better eyes.

  29. I’m so very sorry that you’re not okay. And it’s not wrong to feel that way, just because there are other things going on with other people. Your feelings, your experiences, are just as valid.

    Whatever happens, I’m here for you. With lots of love. xo

  30. I am so sorry, Galit. Our pets… They are family. Hugs, my friend. xoxo

  31. Don MacLeod says:

    I am so sorry Galit. It is okay with me that you are not okay. We all need to be able to say that more than we do. Thank you for being brave enough and trusting us enough to say it to us.
    These little beings come to open our hearts in a way we wouldn’t otherwise. They also are great teachers about love, devotion, companionship and seeing the world anew each day. They wiggle into our hearts deeper and deeper, and then they leave showing us that death comes to us all. They are a great reminder to love as deep as possible and never hold it back for any reason and to embrace what is here right now including death. They are a reminder that we come to this wonderful place and we are here for so short a time.
    Let yourself grieve for the loss of a loved one and it is clear he truly is and always will be.

  32. My heart goes out to you and your family. Much, much love to you.

  33. It’s ok to not be ok. I hope you and your family find some comfort in each other’s love and the fact that you went through this together. We’ve lost three dogs in the last 14 years and each one came with it’s own pain and sense of loss. Pets are family. xo

  34. So, so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

  35. I am so very sorry about your sweet doggie. I am not ok and I thank you so much for asking.

  36. Oh sweet friend. I am so sorry for the loss of Louie. Losing pets is very hard.

    And I am sorry you are not okay. I do hope you are feeling a little better… Love you, friend.

  37. I like to think that Louie knew he was loved, that he knew it, he felt it. I’m glad you feel comfortable enough to say you aren’t okay, that you didn’t slide into that so so easy I’m okay safe place. Know that we are here for you, thinking of you and your family, lifting you up.

  38. Oh my friend. As someone who is often not okay lately (but okay today) I will say that I appreciate it when someone admits to having a tough time. And your reasons – any reasons, in fact – are perfectly legitimate. The heartbroken kind of not okay is a terrible one, so I see your pain and acknowledge the validity and beauty of saying you’re not okay. We’re okay to share that load with you.

  39. Hi Galit,
    I have just read your two posts about losing your beloved Louie. I’m sorry for your loss and what that means for your family. We love our dogs so much and they help bind our family together. Although we live in a world where there are so many severe griefs, injustices and heartaches, that doesn’t mean that one person’s grief is any less than someone else’s. Dogs give us so much love and their antics bind the family together. I have some fairly serious medical issues and my friends will apologise for complaining to me about a cold but I always validate that because a cold can be very annoying and gets you down and it doesn’t matter if it’s not life threatening.
    As well as making meals for people, it would be good for people to simply listen and validate how their loved ones feel. It’s more than okay to grieve for a member of your family. xx Rowena

Trackbacks

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