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Patches Journey

This site chronicles Patches journey through OSA

What Else Can You Do?

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 5:47 pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It seems like it was only yesterday that I lost my baby.  I was doing good for a while.  At least I thought I was.  What I was good at was distracting myself and just going on, sometimes just going through the motions and sometimes being happy.  But this month is already hard.  I can’t sit outside and work without seeing an image of my girl lounging on the lawn with a smile on her face, a sunbeam warming her little tush.  There are permanent lines in my face from tears I think.  Last year at this time her limp was getting progressively worse.  I’m reliving my guilt at not having been smarter and taking her to the vets sooner.  I am guilty about so many things and there’s no escaping myself.  The distractions aren’t as good as they used to be and I feel like I’m sliding backwards.  Grief and loss are not for the faint of heart.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself.  I’m driving with tears running down my face, hiding in bedrooms and bathrooms so others won’t see my crying my eyes out.  I had another moment of panic.  I have a locket with my girls name on it.  I wanted to find another of her hairs to put in so I’d have more of her with me.  I panicked when I went through the house and couldn’t find even one hair.  I broke down.  She’s gone, really and truly gone, did she ever exist?  And when I broke down I sat down on the stairs.  And there in the very crook of the carpet on the stairs I saw a bunch of her hair.  I grabbed a stash and I’m hoarding it.  I miss her, achingly so.  The memories of last year are creeping in and I’m getting scared again.  Of what?  I really don’t know and I’m having a hard time getting out of my own head.  And when I get like this I come to my tripawd community.  Somehow………..and I can’t figure out why and it’s not important but somehow knowing other people know this pain, have lived or are living this pain and giving me words of encouragement…….somehow it helps.  You don’t think I’m crazy.  You don’t think I’m dwelling or hanging on or “stuck”.  I’ve told people I’ll never get over this, never be the same.  The only people who understand are people who have been there, done that, know it and don’t judge it.  The pain is acute again.  I feel like I’m running away from it but it’s “dogging” me.  I know it’s going to be a long trial here from the anniversary of her diagnosis to the anniversary of her passing.  I thought last year was hard but at least she was still here.  This year …….it’s already brought me to my knees like a blow to the stomach.  I gained 20 pounds last year from the stress of worry, work travel moving and life.  I’ve lost that twenty plus a couple for good measure.  This year is different.  I’m no longer eating to fight the sadness that was eating at me.  I’m tending to not want to eat because I feel empty and I can’t handle food…….I’m tending to want to sit and give up a little.  I feel like I’m still in shock and thank goodness I have my son and Rooster and my friends.  Very un-me.  I’m going with it.  What else can you do?   I just need to do enough to get by for now.  I can put on a good face and fool the world but I can’t fool me.  Me and Rooster, we sit and we hug.  I cry, he licks away the tears and he knows why I’m crying.  I know there aren’t any answers.  I guess I am going to just hunker down in the trenches and wait for brighter days.  Hard times my friends, hard times.


Debbie and Angel Patches

Three Months Can Be So Many Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 8:46 pm on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three months can be the length of a summer vacation.  My son just started his and he is ecstatic.  It can be the end of a first trimester, when you’re past the “trouble zone”.  It can be your 90 day probation at a new job.  All exciting stuff.  It can also mean my girl is gone three months exactly today.  I knew it in the back of my mind.  I was trying to ignore it and not think about it.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  It’s become a sort of coping mechanism.  I started doing that because not too many people care to listen to you talk about something that happened “three months ago”.  They get “the look” that says “again?  When are you going to be over it?”.  I know they don’t understand.  They can’t.  I’m surprised more people can’t really empathize that well.  I’m surprised at a lot of things.  Surprised that people would think that I could get over losing the girl I had in my arms for 9 years who I will love and miss forever.  I’m not bitter or mad.  I just think I gave people more credit than I should have.  And maybe I’ve been that person in the past and this is my lesson in understanding.  Trust me.  I understand now.

It’s been three months of learning, longing, laughing, crying, aching, reminiscing, guilting…..everyone here knows it.  I really am better in that I don’t think about it all day every day and cry in front of people.  But the tears are right behind my eyes ready to come out at the mere thought of my girl.  I’ve been suffering from a lot of guilt about things I would tell another person not to be guilty about.  I’m coming up on some really hard “firsts”.  First summer without my summer baby.  Last year around this time we noticed Patches tripping a little.  We thought it was her eyesight and put on more lights for her and cleared paths better.  Looking back I feel so stupid.  Then she began limping and we thought that, like her brother, she might have pulled a ligament.  He healed on his own.  We thought she would too.  She got progressively worse as the summer went on.  I am trying hard not to think about it and it’s taking energy to NOT think about it while I’m still actually thinking about it anyway.

I don’t think I’m at a plateau.  I think sometimes are better than others.  Some days we see progress.  Sometimes we run back.  I’ve admitted that I don’t think there will EVER be a time that I talk about or think about my girl when I don’t cry.  I don’t think I’ll ever get over the trauma, the experience, the loss.  And I am perfectly ok with that.  I haven’t retreated from life.  I work, I exercise, I eat healthy, I parent, I love on Rooster, I see friends, go out with family.  I have lost 17 of the 20 pounds I put on when I was depressed and couldn’t leave my girls side all winter.  I care about my health again.   I can do all of that and still know that I’ll never get over missing my girl.  Never get over losing her, how we lost her, how she was sick, all the bad stuff.  I remember the good stuff too.  I can look at pictures.  I can’t watch videos.  I still kiss her picture.  I have her fur in my locket.  It’s been a long, hard, productive and educational three months.  Early on I thought I’d be further along than I am now.  At this point I don’t really care where I land.  Three months, three years, three decades…..if I am where I am now I’m still ok with it.  To me three months means a quarter of a year in the rest of my life has passed without my girl.  And there are more to come.

Nothing changes the hard cold facts.  I wonder if I’ll feel different in three months.  More time is definitely required.  But I’m still going, thinking, praying and thanking God for good friends who DO understand and listen, for my Rooster and my son and for the Tripawds community.  It’s all I can do for now.  And that’s ok.


Debbie and Angel Patches

And With a Single Dandelion Sylph….

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 6:46 pm on Thursday, June 2, 2016


Warm weather is in full swing.  And so are dandelions.  Oddly enough we have none in our front yard, which is where I work when I work from home.  Rooster won’t let me work inside with the central air.  Thanks buddy.  Anyway, I have an adorable picture of my Patches intently sniffing a patch of grass, her thinking wrinkle going strong and with a single yellow dandelion in front of her.  It’s most adorable.  I almost got a tattoo of a dandelion shedding it’s little sylphs in the wind as a tribute to my little lady (my son named them sylphs after he watched The Spiderwick Chronicles and the little sylphs had faces).  To me dandelions are her flower, her sign.

Today I’m sitting out in my little kitchen alcove outside my house thinking as I inevitably do about my Patches.  I’ve gotten much better, I feel lighter, not as much pressing sadness.  About a week ago, after more than a few concerned looks when I couldn’t hide my red eyes on more than a few (hundred) occasions I decided I needed to pull myself up a little more and try not to think about her so much and be so sad, if only for the people around me who love me and are concerned and would do anything to see me smile again.  And it seems to be helping me.  I also have talked to my 15 year old son of all people from whom a wealth of wisdom blooms.  Last night in the car he said he thought I seemed to be doing better.  I told him that I try not to think about her so much and try not to be sad as much but that sometimes that felt wrong because I never want to forget her, never want to not honor her for her love and courage.  He wisely said “mom…….we will NEVER forget her and never stop loving her.  But we are still here and she wants us to be happy, happy that she’s happy and happy that we got to have her for as long as we did”.  And it’s so true.  I told him he was right right but I that want to make sure I give myself time to do the healing I need to do.  Time to let a year pass, a year of firsts for everything I used to do with her and now have to do without.  You don’t do 9 years of loving and 7 hellish months of caring, loving, worrying and crying in 2 months.  It was a wonderful chat.  I feel like more than any of the adults in my life he gets me and the whole situation best.

I’m a medium, I think I’ve said it before.  I’ve had relatives come to me after they’ve died with messages.  Recently I had a dog come to me with messages and another spirit came with a message for a man for whom a profound healing was begun thanks to her connecting with me.  I love being a medium.  I love helping others and to see them happy and hopeful, it brings me joy and lets me know I’m doing the job I’m here to do the right way.  That being said, sometimes I feel like the bridesmaid and never the bride.  I wish my girl would talk to me directly, somehow.  She has gone to others in their dreams and they have given me the message.  I’ve had other signs that I question because it’s what I do.  I’ve been longing for a concrete and indisputable sign from her that she’s around and happy.

Today I was sitting in my little alcove wistfully ruminating and I asked her why she wasn’t talking directly to me.  And when I looked down at what I thought was a bug hovering between my eyes and my computer screen I saw what it was that had appeared as if from nowhere.  A single dandelion sylph.  It floated before my eyes for about two seconds and then it floated straight up and away.  And with a single dandelion sylph my heart lifted.  My girl finally talked directly to me.

My love still burns bright for her, a beacon for her to find me whenever she wants or needs me.  Hopefully she comes to me again.  And again.  But with the single sylph I feel better knowing she’s smiling on me.  Maybe this is the beginning of a smile every day.  I’m working on it.


Debbie and Angel Patches

Eyes Look Forward, Heart Looks Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 11:33 pm on Thursday, May 19, 2016

Time certainly moves forward and it takes no prisoners.  And I don’t mind to be honest.  I have a lot that I’m looking forward to.  My son finishing up his freshman year of high school.  Warmer weather and sunshine.  Vacations.  Summer fruits.  Those are a few.  And I am honestly happy and looking forward to all those things.  And then sometimes my heart taps my head and says “but don’t you remember, you won’t have your girl for all those things”.  Yes.  I remember.  Daily.  Heart and gut wrenchingly.  But I know that my girl wants us to be happy and have a good time living.  That doesn’t mean I can’t miss her and think about her.  Every day.  More than once a day.  I wouldn’t call it guilt…..well, maybe I would.  Guilt that I’m living and not honoring her memory because if I don’t think of her that might mean I’ve forgotten and don’t still love her.  You can guess which one is my head talking and which one is my heart.  I didn’t expect all these feelings and thoughts and complexities that come with loss.  I thought….I’ll miss her every day and then as time goes by it will lessen and I’ll be able to think of her fondly and smile and remember the good things.  Well, that’s all well and good for certain things but losing a pet is honestly different to me.  I don’t think there will ever come a time that I don’t think of her and ache for her.  And maybe that’s ok as long as I remain in the land of the living too.  I can have my own private space in my head and my heart that belongs just to her.  I still love her so much.  She still loves me too.  I know she does and I think she’s with me.  I don’t know how my son doesn’t think of her more or how her other human never cries.  I know there’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with them. But I think there’s something wrong with them anyway.  No one has to know.  It still sucks.  It’s still not fair.  Life isn’t fair.  Adulting stinks.  But life is good too.  I have a wonderful son, Rooster, family, sisters, parents, friends, great job, nice place to live, tons of blessings.  And I am going to let myself be grateful and enjoy life.  But I’m still going to let my heart look back and do whatever it wants.  Because while Patches wants me to move forward and be happy I know she doesn’t mind if I want to honor and miss her in my heart when I want and need to.

I still have my sweet and loving Rooster.  We hug him more, walk him more, kiss him more…..everything him more.  I probably worry more too.  It’s all ok.  I think it’s called ‘healing’.  It hasn’t been two months yet.  Sometimes it feels like 2 years and sometimes it feels like 2 days.  But time marches on and my eyes are looking forward to good times but my heart looks back too.


Debbie and Angel Patches

Thawing out…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 3:26 pm on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Or melting down.  However you want to put it but that’s what happened yesterday.

I ended up having a total meltdown.  I think it might have been a combination of mother’s day, delayed reaction and the beautiful weather we had on mother’s day and yesterday.  I  felt bad that it was warm and Patches wasn’t here to enjoy it.  I feel like it’s not fair.  And I also realize suddenly………she’s not here.  A season has come and gone, we are headed into summer and ………she’s really gone.  For some reason gloomy winter was easier to accept.  Now it’s like wow, life really IS moving on and I still don’t have her.  The finality is hitting me hard.  And of course I was down one baby for mother’s day.  And I always remember that Patches was a mama too and she didn’t get to keep her puppies.  That’s why we called her mama girl.  I spent almost nine years loving away her pain, making her happy, making her smile and love life again.  Rooster too.  I guess I never realized that I didn’t just lose her, I lost a way of life, someone to share my love with.  I still have Rooster and I’m double loving on him.  He still misses her too.  It’s so obvious.  Some days are good and hours can go by that I don’t think about her and about what happened.  And then days like yesterday happen.  I didn’t expect it.  I felt like she had just passed again.  I cried that I couldn’t save her or make her cancer go away.  Sometimes it’s a total roller coaster.  And no one will let me off.

I think there will be good times and rough times.  I hate the rough times but I have to deal with them, learn to cope and keep engaging in life because she would want me to and there are still other people and fur babies to love.  My sister gave me the sweetest present on mother’s day (pictured) and I realize that other people loved my girl too and they are sad and thinking of me.  This must be what it’s like to grow up.  It sucks.  I know time and distance will help.  There is a very wonderful person I met and talk to thanks to the tripawds site who has been a huge help.  It takes a village.  The Tripawd village.  I pour my heart out here and it really does help.  I don’t know of any better way to get through it other than to talk to people who understand.  People who have been there and can reassure me that I can do this.   Even if I don’t want to.  Sometimes we don’t get a choice.  It feels childish to rant but it’s what I need to do right now.  Hopefully as the cold and gloomy weather disappears so will the meltdowns.  I will take it one ice cube at a time.

Thanks for reading and always being my supportive village.


Debbie, Rooster (see his antics in the videos below) and Angel Patches


My sister’s sweet and thoughtful gift (above)

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