Family, Life

Letting Go

There’s that saying “If you love something, let it go.”  It’s easy for me to let go of things that I once loved but no longer use.  It’s much harder to let go of something you love deeply.  It’s downright painful.  I’m sad to say, our family had to experience that pain over the course of the last 48 hours and still continues to feel it.  We will for a very, very, long time.  There is a hole in my heart that cannot be filled.

Two years ago, we brought Juno home from the Humane Society.  She had and still has, one of the most adorable faces a dog could have.  I fell in love with her picture when we were in NY and hoped she would still be available when we got home.   Other than the fact that they are both very loving and sweet with us, they could not be more different from each other.  Hera can be a lot like a cat. She’s around when she wants to be pet or wants to take a look at what you might be eating,  but more often than not she’s off napping.  She doesn’t like to play often.  Juno is the epitome of what a dog should be.  She’s fearless.  She didn’t care what machinery was running, she was Darin’s shop dog.  When Hera decided running may not be for her as often, she was my new running buddy.  When there is a thunderstorm, Hera shutters.  Juno runs outside to bark back at god!    Juno will play fetch for hours if you let her and she had the best sloppy kisses.  I will admit, that while I love Hera equally, Juno was my favorite as far as interaction and personality goes. 

Unfortunately, that love that each of these dogs have for us, did not translate into love for each other.  After a few months it was evident.  They began to fight.  It would happen and then we would make a change and it would subside for a few months.  It would happen again and we’d try something else.   The fight is started by either of them, but never ends well for anyone. Over the course of these last two years, it had gotten so bad Darin and I have been accidentally bitten or hurt pulling them apart.  It happened again, and I had had enough.  I knew.  I have known for a long time, that there wasn’t much else we could do to stop this and it was not fair to either of them to allow it to continue.  It would only be a matter of time before it happened again and someone would get seriously hurt.

We had a long family talk and it was decided that while we loved Juno with all our hearts, Hera was with us first and it was only right that we try to work something out for Juno.  Our one last hope was that there was something the vet could tell us.  At one point, Hera was put on meds for her anxiety and that was the longest we had gone without issue.  Perhaps Juno was in need of the same.  I took Juno to the vet the next day, and told him all about what transpired.  Is there a medication that can fix this?  What can we do?  He said, “I know you love them both, but they cannot live together anymore.  If one kills the other, even accidentally, the other will be put down and they will both have lost their lives.  You have to bring her back to the Humane Society.”  He told me they can home dogs in single dog homes and that is what he suggested for Juno just in case.  I was devastated.  Darin and I had to break this news to D2 and we all cried. 

Part of me knew that while it was possible to get her a home, it could take a long time.  When people read “single dog home” they think, this dog cannot get along with others.  The funny thing, is that is not at all true about Juno.  When we go on vacation, we board them with a guy who has 10-15 other big dogs at a time.  Juno plays with them and has an absolute blast.  I called and left a message at the Humane Society.  I felt in my heart I’d be sentencing Juno to her death with that phone call. 

There was a tech at the vet clinic that felt sorry for her and our situation.  She was making phone calls to try to find her a home.  Darin ended up bringing Juno in again.   The tech ended up hanging out with Juno and fell in love with her.  How could you not?  She called her fiancé and got the green light to take Juno in!  We could not believe it.  Not only would Juno have a new home, but that home was with someone that we knew would take great care of her.  I know  in my heart that she saved our little one.  Darin said that when she left the room after playing with and snuggling Juno for a long while, and Juno whined for her at the door.  It was meant to be.   

So just like the saying, we love her, and we let her go.  It was much easier to let her go, knowing she was going with someone we could trust to lover her as much as we do,  but it was hard nonetheless.   Sometimes, we would just want nothing more than to chill on the couch and watch a little t.v.  Juno would come up and put her ball in your lap.  She’d sit and stare at you and nudge you until you threw it.  It used to annoy me sometimes.  Last night, I wanted nothing more than to throw her that ball.  I didn’t get my sloppy kisses this morning.  I didn’t get to run with her this morning.  I didn’t get to toss her the ball when I went outside for lunch.   I didn’t get to look at her cuteness while she waited for me to give the queue that it was ok to start eating her dinner.  I won’t get to do any of those things with her anymore.  I miss her all day. 

Every time I find myself getting sad, I try to remind myself to be thankful.  Thankful for the years we did have with her.  Thankful that no one got seriously hurt in the time we tried to figure things out.  Thankful for the lessons learned. Thankful for having that adorable face in my life for as long as we did.  Thankful that she’s not in a shelter waiting for who knows how long.  Thankful that she has a great home and will have a long happy life, because we loved her enough, to let her go.

PS – Family and friends:  I didn’t  inform you, because I could not have this conversation multiple times with each of you.  It’s just too painful. I hope you understand. 

Family, Life, Run

My sins this week: Envy, Fear, Jealousy, Gluttony and Pride

I’m sure everyone has heard of the seven deadly sins.  Well, this week there were five for me: Envy, Fear, Jealousy, Gluttony and Pride.  I’d be being a bit dramatic to say they were deadly, though some felt that way at times.  If you are at all impressed by the numbers in the photo above, so am I.  No, I’m not tooting my own horn, those aren’t my numbers.  To get the full story, we have to go back a bit.  Not too far, just a few weeks ago.

Darin asked if I heard about the Vista View 360 Ultra Marathon.  My response was something like “yeah, I got that email, why?”    He told me he was thinking about signing up for it.  I probably looked at him like he had three heads because I wear my reactions right on my face.  He chuckled and I told him I didn’t pay much attention to the details.  He filled me in.  You can either do a relay with three other people, or just run as many laps you can as a single runner within the six hours allotted.  Wow.  Six hours, ok.  I was a bit taken back, but he is so supportive of me and never blinks twice when I blurt out that I am doing race, how could I not support him?  Ok, go for it.  Sign up!  I say.  I reminded him a couple times and he went on my training runs with me but still was undecided.  Then one day, he just signed up.

Guess we will start with Envy.  I was totally envious of his willingness to jump in and sign up.  I immediately wanted to sign up too.  I am the runner in the family after all, right?  No, this was his thing.  I don’t want to sign up and then make it about me, I have enough races.  He was so excited.  We talked about how he would fuel, what he would bring and wear and about how many miles he might do.  His longest training run was ten miles at this time.  Ten.  He talked about how cool it would be to hit a half marathon.  Then, after a few training runs and seeing his time, he talked about how cool it would be if he got close to a full marathon distance.  Or even maybe a 50k!  I envy how he can think positive “what if’s.”  All my what if scenarios usually involve my death by drowning or bike crash.

Saturday we decided to go for a bike ride.  Darin asked where I wanted to ride to and I suggested the greenway.  Greenway = safer than the streets and no major turns (sad, I know).  He tells me that the greenway on the other side of Oakland had just  been repaved and now goes through to Welleby park.    While I was referring to the safe greenway that required no major intersections, he was being adventurous, as usual.  I agreed and we headed off.  Adventure is good.  As per usual for me, fear sets in while I ride.  I’m not sure exactly what my fear is.  Eating it in the street is probably the top one.  See, I don’t have the best balance and I have not been out riding much.  Most of my work has been on the trainer building fitness more than function.  At least I tell myself that.  I thought I was safe when we got into Welleby but I was wrong.  The path was full of little tight turns, hills and narrow spots to make a chicken like me cringe.  My new cleats were not helping the matter and I had a few close calls with not being able to clip in or out in time.  The whole time he kept encouraging me.  I explained to him that I didn’t think he could relate to how hard it is to do something while the whole time you are afraid.  He doesn’t know what that’s like, he has no fear when it comes to that kind of thing.

Our next stop is jealousy.  I’m totally jealous of him!  He is good at everything, without trying mind you.  I train six days a week.  He trains six days total before running a near marathon!  I am exaggerating a little in the fact that he may have trained more than six days, but not by much.  He has the balance of a trapeze artist on the bike, and just jumps into any challenge without flinching.  He literally has no fear.  I was totally jealous that of the two of us, he would run more than a half marathon first and  I was totally jealous that he was participating in this race and I wasn’t.  I’m jealous that he can think and speak positively of himself without looking like a smug jerk and I am jealous that he’s made of magic.

Needless to say, he did an amazing job.  I’ll get to pride in a moment but first, let’s fast forward to gluttony.  After a big race, I always treat myself to a little naughty food.  For me, I crave eggs, bacon, hash browns and a big ol’ stack of pancakes.  Then again, my races usually end sometime in the morning.  After we were home and showered, I asked what he wanted for lunch.  He chose Ale House, for a zinger mountain melt.  Rightfully so, he just ran a near freaking marathon.  In case you don’t know what a zinger mountain melt is, picture a big plate covered in french fries.  Now cover those fries in cheese and bacon crumbles.  Now cover that in like five chicken tenders covered in hot sauce.  Put a side of blue cheese dressing on the plate and you have a zinger mountain melt.  It’s what dreams and diabetes are made of.  Yeah, I had one too.   Nice to meet you, gluttony.

While I may envy him and be jealous of him, I am so proud of him.  Today, he ran for six hours, he covered more than twenty five miles.  I would not have been nearly as successful.  That course was hard, probably the hardest I have seen in local races.  I am usually thankful for Florida’s flat terrain, but not at Vista View.  This was a trail run through mulch and gravel and chunked up grass.  This was no flat, out and back.  This was the same scenery lap after one and a quarter mile lap.  This was a hell of a run.  He was in pain and he was tired, but he never really complained.  He was exhausted and I am sure wanted to quit on more than one occasion but he didn’t.   He could have easily been grumpy, like I have been sometimes, but he wasn’t.  He smiled at us, and thanked us for being there for him lap after lap.  He was and is amazing and I could not be more proud of him.

Some of these “sins” of mine, I plan to avoid in the future.  That mountain melt is not something I ever hope to eat again.  There will be envy, there will be jealousy and unfortunately there will be fear.  I will work to accept the fear, maybe one day conquer it.  I am grateful for the opportunity to pay him back for the support he so readily gives me and the pride I felt when he crossed that finish line is something I welcome again and again.