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 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 hard...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)