I woke up the other day feeling emotional. It has subsided, for the most part, but my brain has chosen this time of vulnerability to process some things that haven’t been completely processed, like grief. The book I’m listening to, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, may also be one of the instigators of this processing, as well.
Its not a bad thing. Things must be processed so that they are not in the background secretly running things, in my opinion. How long is grief supposed to last? I know that it is a personal thing, something that takes the time it takes, but…well, how long should something be able to pass casually through your mind and leave behind grief? How long should something be able to cause your mind to immediately go into survival mode and shut down the memory and any of the emotions that may be attached to it?
I have been having my daughter’s dogs coming to mind, lately. The pain of her deciding to give them up, the heart-wrenching process of trying to find the best possible solution for them, and the devastation of abandoning them at a no-kill shelter want to overtake me all over, again. Of course, accompanying these feelings are the feelings of doubt…did I do all I could do? Did I make the right decision or was I selfish? Could we have made 6 dogs in the travel trailer with us work? I know the real answers but, when the doubts are running rampid, sometimes its really hard to hold on to the truth. Especially when it is something so dear to my heart.
I don’t look at the pictures of Panda and Ninja (the dogs my daughter had) anymore. They make me cry and I don’t feel that is helpful in the long run at this point. To be completely honest, I stopped looking at their pictures soon after they were no longer here because it hurt way too much. The dog print tattoos on my next leading to the ying and yang tattoo with the dog paw on one side and the human hand print on the other is a tribute to Panda and Ninja. Below the ying and yang symbol are their names in Japanese (the language and culture my daughter is drawn to).
My kids and my husband each have their own representations through tattoos on my body. My the two I have for my husband do not have his name or any indications that they have anything to do with him. My kids’ tattoos are dragonflies, with the body of the dragonflies being their names. I don’t believe you should ever put anyone’s name on your body, other than those of your children. Life happens, things change, and it is not cheap to have a tattoo removed and a cover-up doesn’t take away the memory of the name tattoo that once was. Panda and Ninja earned their spot on my skin, and in my heart, and I will never look at their tattoo and have any regret in getting it.
I think the thing that I am finding the hardest in getting over the grief of Panda and Ninja is that they are/were two of the litter mates of my Achilles and Enzo: Panda was a white version of Achilles and Ninja was a black version of Enzo, visually. Of course, their little personalities were all their own, but their were similarities. Also, all four of these pups were from the litter we had with Luna.
I guess, if I get really honest with myself, I still feel guilty over Panda and Ninja. I don’t quite know how to let that go despite the many times I have been told that I have nothing to feel guilty about.