Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Missing Coco

I should be in bed. I should be sleeping, I have to get up in five hours, and I have a full day tomorrow. I should listen to common sense and put the blog down...slowly.

And I was going to--
I was--
I was going to go to bed...
...but then this happened:

I’m looking for an envelope, one of the big yellow ones--(actually, they look orange to me, but I’m colorblind and I’m told they’re yellow, so that’s what I’m looking for). And that’s when I find the Coco envelope. This big yellow (or so I’m told) envelope with pictures of Coco, my childhood dog, and condolence letters that family and friends sent after she died. And when I realize that’s what I’m holding in my hands…these letters about Coco...printed-out emails, these simple, sweet things...yeah, that’s when I start crying.

And I don’t stop...
...for an hour.

The tears aren’t flowing continuously, no--but they might as well be. See, I’ll stop crying for a moment. And I’ll think the crying jag is over...and then--boom--I’ll start again.

Sometimes these things just hit you and it’s best to let ‘em ride.

Before I get any farther, if you don’t know who Coco was, she was a funny little miniature dachshund (or “wharf rat,” as some liked to refer to her) who my mom and step-dad gave to me for Christmas when I was eleven (circa 1988). If you’re not a dog person, then maybe you don’t understand why I’m having a little breakdown (and I’m writing this in the present tense because the tears are still trickling down my cheeks), maybe you’re like “what’s his problem??? It’s been three years, get the freak over it.”

But if you are a dog person, then you understand.

I don’t think I’ve cried for Coco since we lost her (from a combination of cancer and old age) in late 2003. (“Lost her” is such a weird thing to say.) (Since she died.) (Talking about death can be so...awkward, I guess--because some people want the euphemisms, and some people don’t want anything sugar coated, and you always have to figure out what kind of person you’re dealing with when you’re talking about it.) (At least, I think about it, but maybe I think too much.) (Regardless, we had to put Coco to sleep because she had been sick and things turned—suddenly—quickly—and the day we put her to sleep...oh, man...that was one of the hardest days of my life.) (Because she was unquestionably a part of our family. A huge part.) (And the day we put her to sleep, I cried so fucking hard...and for the following few weeks, every time I went home, every time I opened the door to my parents house, I would expect her to jump up and greet me--I always said hi to her before saying hi to my folks because, after all, she was the one who was literally jumping for joy at the sight of me--and the first few times I opened the door to find...nothing...the absence of her--yeah, that was really tough, and that would get me, and I would cry--but I don’t think I’ve cried for Coco in a really long time.)

Of course, I wasn’t just crying for Coco--I was crying for some other things that have been lost--more recent things. I’ve never talked about this on my blog because my parents read my blog and I don’t think this is really the place to talk about their stuff--but it affects me too and I feel like I should at least acknowledge what’s been going on, for my blog readers (so they don’t think I’m a complete basketcase) (whenever I cryptically talk about how this past year has been a “difficult” one):

Basically, in a nutshell, my mom and step-dad separated after twenty-six years together (give or take), and it was all pretty heavy and emotional, and it all happened while I was living at home--so I was right there, experiencing the whole shebang as first-hand as an adult son possibly could. And ultimately--I hope--it’s all for the best, and we’re getting through it, and we’re growing, and we’re redefining family. And making peace with things. And building stronger, deeper bonds. I’m not gonna pretend any of it has been easy, but I love my PAM, and I love my step-dad, and we're doin' our thing. (And hey, the whole experience has given me loads of writing material.) (I'm serious.) (Soooooo much writing material.)

But when I started looking through the photos of Coco and reading through Coco memories, it just hit me that the family...the family unit that existed back in Coco times...we don’t exist in the same shape and form anymore. So while I’ve been crying for Coco, I’ve been grieving that other thing too.

It felt good to cry. You gotta have a good cry every once in a while and you never know when they’re gonna come. Because the really good ones--the really deep, woeful crying sessions--they something you can plan. But now I feel spent, purged, exhausted. So I’m gonna go to bed and I’m sure it’s gonna be a deep, deep sleep. (I dearly hope it is, because I'm subbing in less than five hours now and if I don't get at least a little bit of sleep then the kids are just gonna walk all over me and I won't have the strength to be the little mister Hilary Swank I know I can be.)

It’s a new year...and we welcome it...

(...but we still miss you, Coco.) (xoxo)


Anonymous said...

*big giant hug*

Anonymous said...

thanks doug! woke up this morning feeling much better. always good to have a good cry.

(and am i the only one who can't sign into my blogger "identity" anymore, ever since yesterday?)

Anonymous said...

that comment above was me, erik


Anonymous said...

it totally makes sense to cry for 3 hours. i bet coco misses you too, even if she's in doggy heaven.

hugs, eleanor

Anonymous said...

geeeeeeeeeeeez, Eleanor, i didn't cry for THREE hours, i said i cried for ONE hour. the implication that i cried for three hours makes me sound crazy. thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

again, that anonymous was me (erik)

Jesse said...

Coco is your spirit animal guide now, that is if you belive in that sort of thing, like at the end of Jedi when Luke looks off across the Ewok TreeHouse and sees Obi, Anakin and Yoda all chilling up in the trees drinking Ewok ale.

Gina said...

I remember Coco and she was a sweet little pup. It's so hard to let people and pets go. There's an attachement to them that just doesn't just go away when they pass away or are "lost." (not sure how you want me to phrase it.)
You gave Coco a great life, and she gave you one right back. it's ok to grieve that, and to grieve the other thing too. Break ups are the worst, whether is being forced to break up because the other person or pet dies or things just arent what they used to be.

If you need a pick me up, check out Dane Cooks comedy special "vicious circle?" I heat him, he's awesome. It's the best, and theres this whole part he does about crying alone, and how sometimes you look in the mirror when you're's great and will defin. make you laugh out loud.

I love you Broomhilda, chin up xo

Gina said...

ok, i meant to say "I heart him" not "i heat him." Although, that could be a new phrase when you're into someone. "Did you see that hot guy at Blockbuster? I totally heat him!"

Anonymous said...

Jesse, I like the idea of Coco being my spirit guide. I'll go with that.

And, by the way, speaking of the Ewoks, I would like to share a controversial opinion and confess that my favorite Star Wars film is Return of the Jedi. I know, blaspheme, but whatever: I love me the Ewoks.


Anonymous said...

Gina, thank you for the well wishes! Coco definitely loved our group of friends.

I haven't seen Dane Cook's special, but just the fact that he talks about looking at yourself in the mirror when you're crying alone...SO FUNNY...i totally do that, i totally did that last night, about 45 minutes into the crying jag.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and "I heat him" is my new favorite phrase. It is soooo entering the lexicon, right freaking now.

Guys I heat right now:

Kyle Chandler
Jesse Bradford
Marcel from Top Chef (I know, I know, but I can't help it, I heat him)

Anonymous said...

oh, again, that "Guys I Heat" List was posted by me, Erik

Anonymous said...

I loved Coco. I just ran across the picture I have of her on my lap at your house. Just know that she is watching over you. There's a little bit of her each step you and we are better people because of the special animals in our lives. I still miss my dog and she has been gone 15 years. I don't think you ever get over it. Love, Lanie :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the love, Lanie! I love that picture of you and Coco. And I remember you sent me a really touching condolence card after she died.

we have a little tombstone for Coco that one of our neighbors made...Coco was never allowed in the front yard because she loved to run around the neighborhood (her nose was so low to the ground that she was a sucker for smells and she would just get so excited by all the new smells out there in the world), but people would often come into our backyard through the gate and so we were often yelling out "close the gate!"...and then, after Coco died, our neighbor made this little tombstone that read "leave the gate open" and i always thought that was really lovely.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad Erik has told his blog world what he has been going through this past year. It is time. I just want everyone to know that Erik is truly my hero. I've always admired my son and loved him deeply, but the way he has handled this family crisis is beyond anything a parent could imagine possible.

He dealt with his own pain with incredible courage, he made up his mind to learn from my mistakes and to take something positive out of something terribly painful, he offered brutal honesty when it was needed and managed to offerloving support--even when he was angry. This is a man who values family above all else, who grieves deeply when there is a loss like this and people he loves are hurting, and who hangs in there and fights for the redefined family that can emerge through love, healing and growth.

As Erik's tears show, there is still grieving to be done. We are all still grieving, but we are also still growing. It is a difficult but amazingly life-affirming process that will someday be beautifully captured in Erik's writing. I have no doubt about that.

Erik could use that big giant hug--I know his close friends have been there for him through this and I'm very grateful for that.

Erik, I want to thank you for everything you have done for both me and your stepdad. You are a beautiful human being, and I love you very much.

Gina said...

I'm so glad you like the phrase "I heat him." Let's get it out there in the world and people will catch on.

Guy I heat right now
-Johnny Knoxville (I heat him so much it's not even funny)

-Dermot Mulroney (So hot..hello Wedding Date!)

-Justin Timberlake (Can't resist a singer/dancer combo, and I love his preppy wigger style.)

The Dane Cook special is hilarious. I love him and and for a long time. He's a hot comedian and is really physical with his comedy. The crying thing is so funny i almost peed my pants because I have totally looked in the mirror when crying.

It's funny because it's true:)

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, PAM.
Love you too.

Anonymous said...

Gina, goooood heat list. I approve.

--johnny knoxville is definitely one to heat. soooo heatable. (am i overdoing it with our new "heat" word?) i haven't seen Jackass 2 yet, but I hear it's great. Yes?

--dermot mulroney is WAY hot in that Wedding movie (however, debra messing really annoyed me). I heat him too.

--but the guy on your list I heat the most has got to be JT. (insert your own "he brings sexy back every day" joke here.)


Gina said...

OMG! I have always heated Johnny, but after seeing him in Jack Ass 2, I feel deeper than before. He is one hot mess! (Movie is hilarious by the way)

Dermot is smoking SMOKING heat in My Best Friends Wedding! (what with him and movies with wedding in the title?) Oh, and in The Family Stone too. Yumm!

JT is the "it boy" of 2006 for sure. He came back with a vengence and proved he's no one album wonder. He he is so fiiiine!!!

Anonymous said...

Gina, I agree with you, Johnny gets more heatable with age. I need need need to see Jackass 2.

I forgot that Dermot was the guy in Family Stone. Tres sexy.

Oh, and I am SO jealous that you saw JT in concert.