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December 6, 2000
a year ago

Another Step, Another Breath

I slept really well. So well that John actually woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that I was snoring loud enough to wake *him* up. My. It made me giggle, move a bit and try to not snore anymore. At least he didn't wake me up again, so I might have succeeded.

He woke up at 7, told me he was riding the bike, so I just went back to sleep for a little bit. Woke up crying. I miss Fezzik.

Not that I'd wish him back, or that I regret anything we did. He's now better off, a lot, than he was. There's nothing that I'd do differently, but I really do miss him. Miss his presence, miss his furry bulk, and miss him deeply as he's been a part of our lives for so very long. Bob said that he couldn't imagine us without Fezzik and most people that know us have only known us since we got him as a puppy. A little eight-week-old puppy that looked like nothing so much as a live, black teddy bear with a will of his own. I don't know if, then, we had any idea how much of our lives he'd push his way into. It reminded me of when I tore my ACL and he was barking his head off while tied to the bench while I was swearing at my knee, and he didn't quiet down until I was hauled over to lie on the bench he was tied to and he got to stick his nose in my ear and feel me pet him and tell him things were okay. I still remember giggling when he licked me and feeling reassured when, for the next day or two, he just wouldn't leave my side. Eventhough he would wake me up in the middle of the night while licking or sighing or moving about, it was nice knowing he was there.

I just miss him.

There are a lot of things that I miss of him that I'm realizing have been gone for a while. Him galloping on the deck, making his own thunder, going out with John in the morning and pushing John around in the swing chair for the fun of it, and him running around the house trying to find us while we played hide and go seek. So I just cried for all that, too. John found me crying and hugged me and cried a little with me and it was what I really needed.

I did okay getting to work and stuff. Had meetings, did a few things, went out with a bunch of people to the Chinese Dumpling House for lunch. That was fun. Got back and mostly talked with people, answered email and worked a little. There were a lot of stories today. Lots of good stories. I also learned that Audrey, Jan and John's dog back in the Seattle area, an amazing Rottie with real personality who used to play with their son's ATV and once treed some construction surveyors for a development they didn't like for a few hours, had died last year of cancer. We still tell stories of her, and Jan was amused by that and grateful. It's very neat to know directly from someone when ones pet had positive impact on their lives.

Learned about a guy and the cat and dog he grew up with and how much a part of his family they were. Found out about all kinds of people who have had to go through the same hard decision we did and found that we really aren't alone. I think that one of the things I was most afraid of in all this was just someone who had no clue what was involved saying that John and I had killed off Fezzik rather than 'letting him die naturally'. Which, I guess, in the unemotional sense is true. We did kill him, so he wouldn't have to go through agony and anxiety and pain just to make it so that we wouldn't have to take responsibility for him. I guess I feel strongly that we were more responsible this way, but it's something that would kill me to have to defend.

Instead, I got lots and lot of stories and support that we did the right thing. That we were there, in the moment, on top of everything that was going on and that we did Fezzik a very good deed by letting him go peacefully. Many, many times over. Fear really is the mind-killer, I think. Reminds me that I really shouldn't worry about my phantom 'what other people think' when I make my decisions. That I am the one that has to live with them, so I'd better make them according to how I want to live. Better yet, that most people are supportive of the really hard things in life.

That all was very good.

Got me good and stabilized and when I was home again, the ache wasn't nearly as bad.

We made dinner. I was uninspired, thinking about bottled spaghetti sauce on spaghetti with toasted garlic bread. John started pulling things out of the fridge while I boiled water and I eyed the fact that he pulled out peas and parmegano and blinked a little. We had a little ham and lots of garlic and the leftover bit of onion, too, so I made spaghetti carbonara, instead. I cut up about a quarter of an onion, smashed two cloves of garlic and sauteed those gently for three or four minutes, then added the peas and chopped ham. Let all that cook until it was fragrant and the spaghetti was done. I then put the spaghetti in the pan with everything else, broke a couple of eggs on top and stirred it frantically until the eggs had set and were making all the things in the pan stick to the spaghetti. I then blopped it onto our plates and grated Parmesan all over both mounds of spaghetti. John, in the meantime, satisfied that he'd gotten me to do something a bit more interesting than bottled sauce, toasted garlic bread with butter and we had a complete meal.

Okay, it was definitely better than bottled sauce.

Afterwards, we went over to the Goodell's as they had a baby swing that Haley just outgrew and they said we could have it. So we went over, played with Alex and his train. He'd asked Joan questions about Fezzik for hours and hours earlier in the day, so Joan warned us that he might. But he never did. Maybe he simply had worked it out to his own satisfaction, earlier. I don't really know. All I do know was that he was very comfortable with us and played with John and I very happily for a few hours. I got to talk with Joan about Fezzik. She's been through five different best-buddy dogs, four of them Great Danes, who have as bad a lifespan record as Newfoundlands, and she kind of nailed it on the head when she said that they simply were always there for you. When one is depressed or sad or sick or whatever, they were there. She had lots and lots of good memories of dogs that did love her. It was also good to be able to say that, after stepping back, it was obvious that it was all worth it. In the whole, it was all worth it, even to the end.

I think that dogs fit into whatever amount of our lives that we give them. Molly, all this time, was out in her area, not in the house the way Fezzik would have been. She's very content with her life, too. She can watch them through the sliding doors if she wants. Andy, my long-ago family cocker spaniel lived his entire life outdoors with the occasional scampering break-in to the house. Moose, next door, spends most of his time in a pen just outside the house. I'd always thought of Fezzik as being lonely when we weren't home, but he had more time with us than most dogs, I guess, have with their families; and most dogs are pretty content.

While we were talking, their giant TV was on The Learning Channel the whole time and they were having a Junkyard Wars marathon, which was really cool. One contest was building flying things to bomb a particular target, another was to build a two-man submarine that could do a particular route through a pool with ups and downs as well as to either side. They were limited to only the stuff they could find in the junkyard, and it was pretty awesome.

It was nice to spend the evening with others. Especially nice getting Alex to giggle a lot.

We went home around 9 to go to sleep as we had to be up at 6 tomorrow to do the whole Toys for Tots food thing again. Even without the bath I fell fast asleep.

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