Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dirty Dozen

Grief changes shape, but it never ends.
~Keanu Reeves

I'm never quite sure how I'll respond during this time of year. Will the tears or anxiety crop up in March? In April? Or will they sit in silence and perhaps stay dormant when the Preakness, the day following, and May 19 all converge on the calendar?

This year, the memories started to creep into my everyday thoughts in March. It's the month we met in 1994, and also the month in 2002 where I fully realized that the sickness of addiction clearly had Joey in its grip. I knew he was dying, but this knowing was more like words floating above my head in a quotation bubble. I said it often. I cried a lot. I searched, I felt hopeless.

Those memories continued to knock at the door of my heart in April. Even May 1, my 49th birthday. But they didn't really break through until last week. One week before the anniversary. Such a strange word to recognize the loss. Anniversary.

There's no way to explain the power of grief. It surfaces at unexpected times and often through unremarkable events. There have been years when it takes a little time for me to diagnose the emotion as the residual and recurrent process of grieving. Someone once explained, "it is now programmed into you at the cellular level--you won't even need a calendar, your body will remember." I suppose this is why I can't pinpoint when something will surface. 

If you want more of the backstory about Joey, I've written about it here.

Twelve years has allowed me to pull forward all of the good memories. I don't spend time thinking about Joey's pain. I'd rather think about his true essence and the lasting impact he's had within my heart.

There's no pithy ending to today's post. It's simply a way for me to continue to honor Joey's life. 

Joey, on Wireless, in 1999. Maryland Tuna Tournament, in the fighting chair.


  1. You are so right about grief continuing to surface at the oddest times, and in different forms. Thinking of you, and sending purrs, prayers and good thoughts, our friend.

    1. Thank you Kevin, the care and comfort of friends both old and new means a lot to me.

  2. And it's a very beautiful way to honor a life.
    Grief is a strange friend indeed. I say friend, because it's still that thing that a can connect us to memories. Beautiful and happy memories.
    xo (((purrs))) and love to you, my friend.

    1. GG, it is a strange friend I must agree. Luckily the beautiful and happy memories can come to the dance on their own, without bringing grief along for every number. On the occasions where one accompanies the other, I've learned how to lean into the event and come out ever more aware of eternal love.
      Thanks for your post....xoxo (((purrs)))

  3. Grief never does quite go away and your story has touched me as my co-worker just lost her 35 year old daughter to a tragic accident the other day. I don't know how she will go on - a parent is not supposed to out live a child and I am sure so many things will trigger memories and grief for her each and every day. I did a post about it - not cat related, but like you, sometimes we just need to share the thoughts in our heart.

  4. Oh Deb, I am so sorry to hear about the loss for your co-worker. It is an obliterative and unsettling experience for a parent to lose a child. No loss is easy, but that one is particularly unnatural. I will send thoughts of peace her way. Thanks for stopping by....

  5. Happy Calendar Cat Day to Coco on May 26


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