I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. This has been a general theme with me since legitimately everything in my life is different from a year and a half ago (only exception is my job), but my Facebook feed notified me this morning that it was a year ago that I had to let my sweet little BT dog go.
Re-reading that post this morning, I thought about my life a year ago. I was living in an apartment shuffling the three dogs around so they didn’t kill each other. The location was isolated on the far north side of town away from everything familiar to me in Austin. If you look back at my not-for-the-blog writing in those months, I write a lot about listening to coyotes. It felt like the four of us were holed up in that apartment waiting to see who was going to get picked off by the wildlife next.
I was so sad living in that apartment. Moving in a little over a month after Tim died, of course I would be but it went deeper than I even realized at the time. Most nights I would flop on the couch, arm dangling over the side and watch TV until my brain shut off. I watched chick flicks, wondering if I ever would love again. I watched shows Tim and I used to watch together, trying to bring back some sort of semblance of my old life. On good days I would go outside and meet up with friends, but numbing myself at home was the standard. The morning after I put BT died, I laid in bed staring at the ceiling and contemplating the fact that there was actually no point to living at all if everyone died. That was the worst of it, and like anything – it didn’t last.
It was more than just the all fulfilling sadness that made my life different then. Everything to me felt temporary. There was this crushing pressure to live every single moment in honor of Tim. I should eat this food at this restaurant, because it was his favorite. Watch this movie, because he loved it so much. Travel to this place, because it’s somewhere he wanted to see. The rest of my life felt like it should be a long running memorial to him, and I was so heartbroken that I was willing to devote myself to the cause.
A year later and that dark apartment feels like a distant memory. It seems impossible that I ever lived there, and I no longer hear coyotes howling and yipping as they tear apart rabbits while I’m trying to sleep. Moving out of that grief has been like slowly waking up from anesthesia. The world is groggy at first, but eventually I put the pieces back together.
I live in a work in progress house that I adore. The furniture I’ve filled it with reflects Tim’s modern/contemporary tastes, but they’re all pieces I’ve picked out myself. I’ve hung art that I want and the throw pillows actually stay on the couches and chairs versus being thrown on the floor. There are touches of Tim throughout my house – a Tardis on the bookshelf, pictures of him sprinkled throughout and the complete and utter lack of paper goods that drives my friends crazy (I promise – it’s very possible to live without paper towels). I see him in every room, but I also see a house that feels like me. Not me living for him.
Again I’m back to three dogs under my dwelling, but this time there’s no aggression. A friend of mine became my roommate in July, and she brings a youthful liveliness to the house that I’ve grown to love. On days when I’m feeling a bit darker, it’s great to have someone else around. Plus her dog is Pascale’s BEST FRIEND and by some miracle Eliot is also getting along with everyone. Tim probably threatened to haunt him forever if he ever bit another eyeball.
This is a slow process. I am not healed. Part of me never will be, but you learn to live with the holes in your heart. I said things a year ago that seem so silly to me now, but you can only know what you know at the time I guess. Sometimes I circle around the facts, because the rest is too foggy to deal with.
I own a house in North Austin. I am (working on) making it with my single income. I have two dogs, plus roommate dog. I have a roommate. I have more friends than I’ve ever had before. I am dating again. I have two horses, and am riding a loveable jughead versus my heart horse. I drive a smancy (to me) Mazda. I am not alone. I am damaged, but not dead.