Topics dealing with mental health, grief, relationships and the sole reliance on trusting God.
All articles are written by Debra Pasquella.
Lola to the Rescue
It's our second snowfall of the year. It looks so beautiful and Christmassy outside. It's also our first winter without Dad. He loved it when it snowed. Nothing was impossible. The forecast could have called for ten feet of snow, but it was never a challenge for my dad. He had his huge tractors and backhoes ready for whatever buried us in. Years ago, when Madelene and I lived with my parents before moving into our condo, we had these outrageous storms that blew in. Madelene and Dad were tough cookies. They were a team. Both of them would head out in these ridiculous hats and oversized snow jackets cleaning off the cars and plowing the entire driveway clean, while my mother and I sat inside cooking and having coffee like two kept housewives. "The men are outside," I'd say to Mom. I would head up onto the deck and throw snowballs right into the cab of my father's backhoe. "Sonnovabitch! See dis kid?" he'd yell at to Madelene while she'd back him up and say, "Don't worry Dad, I'll get her back." Mom and I would have a roaring fire going enjoying our coffee and Dad and Madelene would both walk in saying, "Oh sure, look atchyooz' -- all warm and cozy while we're bustin' our asses out dare'!" Dad always told that story...a million and one times. "Remember when it snowed and you troo' snowballs into my cab?" He'd laugh at my silliness and now, I miss annoying him like I used to. It would have been great if he was still here, healthy, plowing our roads while Lola barked relentlessly at him. "Goddamn dog!" Even during his last day home before his final days at hospice, my dog was barking so much because the entire family was in Dad's room trying to comfort him. He shook his head and said, "Ah, that damn dog!" We all laughed because he loved our little monster.
I'm supposed to go to a bereavement support group later today, but they may have to cancel due to the snow. I'm not sure how I'm going to feel. Will it help me? Or will it make me more depressed? The director of it said that hearing other people's stories helps others to cope better, but I have to wonder if other people's stories will make me less receptive in my healing process. I invited my mom to come with me, but it's not her thing. She said it would make her more sad. She's coping the best she can, but yesterday she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I miss him so much." I tried keeping all my tears in so she could rely on my faux strength. I try to neutralize things or break things up with humor (which always works). Have you ever noticed that when you comfort someone who on the verge of crying or is already crying, they cry even more? Once you hug them after a tear has fallen, more tears start gushing out. Maybe it's good to let it all out, or maybe it just makes them more depressed. If I'm crying or having a 'moment', if Mad comes over to me and hugs me, I start crying more automatically. The only thing that breaks up my sadness most of the times is my silly chihuahua and how she tries to talk to me if she sees tears in my eyes. Once she sees that I'm sad, she'll start using her actual 'voice' and make sounds as if she's trying to talk. She instantly heals me with her efforts of communicating with me. As I was typing the first paragraph of this post, I cried a little. You can see Lola making her way over to my computer. She senses something's wrong. She actually put her paw on one of my keys to see if it would stop making me cry.
Someone recently told me, "Oh wow Deb, I cannot believe you actually have a pet!" I used to be anti-pet because of my OCD. I thought my house would be ruined with doggy smells and chewed up furniture, but I was quite surprised. One day I just got on PetFinder.com and surfed through thousands of dogs. It literally took me months to finally pick one. She stood out and something told me, "Get her NOW! This is the one!" It's unlike me to react that quickly, but I did. I don't know what I would do if I had to go through all of this alone, or better yet, without Lola. She makes me laugh in my saddest moments. She comforts me when I'm not feeling well. She even pets me if she sees I'm in pain. I have always taken a liking to high strung vicious little ankle biters. They make me laugh. Although Lola has the 'small dog syndrome' and believes she's a 100 lb Pit Bull while barking at the cats and deer below, she is also very loving, cuddly and so calming -- at least for a yappy chihuahua. I couldn't have asked for a better dog. She also has this HUGE bond with my mother. As soon as she visits "Nanna", her ears instantly fall back and she becomes this huge mushball. She has given so much comfort and love to my mother in her time of sorrow. They say that I rescued her, but I think it's the other way around. Dad would have loved to see the bond she created with my mom. Here's a video we all laugh at. This is her "tough guy" act on top of the 30 ft high deck.