Tag Archives: divorce

Letting Go – RIP, Charlie

My Mother posted this gem on Facebook the other day:

Decisions

It struck a chord with me in so many ways. It could sum up the last two years of my life, and it could sum up a very difficult decision I’ve recently made.

The decision means my house will be a bit quieter tomorrow. It will be a little less rambunctious. I won’t be getting barked at. Literally.

Not because my boys are heading to their Father’s house for the weekend, which is usually the reason – but because we’ve been faced with letting go of a beloved family member, our beagle Charlie. He’s getting old, and he’s in pain and he could probably go on living and trying – but it would be difficult for him.

Choosing to put a dog down is never an easy decision. Well, actually, sometimes it is much easier than others – like when Charlie’s little Beagle brother, Buster, died. He had cancer, and despite months of therapies and thousands of dollars spent trying to “save” him from his incurable disease, in the end it was very clear he had to go. Like, right that minute. I drove to an emergency vet at 1:00 in the morning, crying my eyes out while on the phone with my then-husband, who was on a business trip in Israel. He kept me coherent enough through the tears to drive, and he helped talk me through the first-time feeling of delivering a beloved pet to his death. I didn’t expect it to overwhelm me the way that it did. I held Buster as he died and I couldn’t help but tell him how sorry I was over and over.

But Charlie’s death is much bigger, much harder. And the decision to put him down – much more significant.

This isn’t just any dog. And the timing of his death is not insignificant.

You may be thinking, “Everyone says that,” when their furry friends are leaving us. But no, truly, this isn’t any dog, and this isn’t just any ordinary circumstance.

You see, Charlie represents more than just the end of his own life. It’s as though he is a much larger symbol of not only a life ending, but a life chapter that’s closing for me.

My husband proposed with Charlie. We named him “Charlie’s Diamond Surprise” on his AKC registration papers.

He was a part of our wedding.photo2

He walked all the way from the Boston Common through Downtown Crossing to the Seaport every single day for about 1.5 years to go to work at the startup my husband founded. I even pitched a story about them and got it placed in Network World, featuring them both.

nww

He was our “first son” and I remember missing him on our Honeymoon.

We’ve been going through a very tough divorce for almost two years now.

We’re at the end, and the papers are are about to be signed.

And it’s a sad, sad, circumstance…. like making the heartbreaking decision to put Charlie out of his pain. Like being strong enough to recognize when it’s over. Like having a very difficult epiphany and making a choice – one that not everyone will agree with or understand – to realize things will be better if you only let go. You’ve tried long enough. It’s time to let go.

Charlie represents everything our marriage was. In the beginning it was hopeful, vibrant, a bit naïve, definitely rambunctious and energetic. Goofy. Appreciative. Then came things that took our attention away, less time together, the addition of little ones (in Charlie’s case, a baby beagle brother who sat on him all the time for some reason, and a Chihuahua sister who adored him), and new responsibilities. Moves and new jobs and changes that the years bring. We slowed down, we got tired…

So putting this dog down feels a little like my own death. It’s letting go of so much more than him.

I could go on forever with stories. But I’ll just share a few more photos at the end here.

I want to thank my friends who gave me advice on when to tell my boys. I gave them the chance to say goodbye tonight, and we had a good cry. Then we had some laughs making Charlie a “last meal,” which consisted of a LOT of kibble, some chicken and his favorite, carrots. My 7-year-old wrote him a note (OMG, so adorable) and my oldest son chose a few things to bury him with when we get his ashes back. We’re going to lay him to rest next to Buster ‘s ashes somewhere in our yard.

We’ll cry. We’ll mourn. And we’ll find reasons to laugh amongst the tears – and we’ll talk about what a crazy dog Buster was and a good, loyal, faithful companion Charlie was.

And life will go on.

RIP, Charlie. I love you.

puppy

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Grace and Dignity

These two words have more meaning to me today than I ever thought they would. They’ve been on my mind as I’m facing the most difficult personal time of my life.

Imagine being punched in the stomach and maintaining grace and dignity. My marriage is ending and that’s what it feels like. I have a new level of respect for women like Elizabeth Edwards, who faced public humiliation in her divorce – followed by a personal, fatal illness – and yet remained composed and dignified up to her last moments of life. I can now imagine how difficult that was and have a better understanding for her struggles.

Two simple words can take on such new meaning as your life changes. I will work very hard to make these two my guiding principals as I face a long and rocky road ahead. It’s not easy. How have you maintained grace and dignity in a time when all you really wanted to do was fall down into a puddle and cry – or stand up and scream like crazy?

Yes, that’s how it feels. But I’ll make it – with grace and dignity.

Dispensable Life Relationships

Relationships have been on my mind a lot lately. I’m reaching the time in life where a good deal of friends are getting divorced, middle age crisis’ are approaching and many people are seeking some new kind of inspiration. Some find this by taking up new hobbies, or running away from responsibilities, others by traveling and still others by buying things they don’t need or can’t afford.

The divorce thing is really tough to watch – in my most selfish moments it makes me wonder if sharing your most intimate thoughts and moments in life with another person is something that will come to haunt you. It is always in the back of my mind – is my “family” now always going to be so? Are these relationships worth emotional toil or are they dispensable? As relationships crumble – and mind you, divorce is not just about the man and wife – ever – I get so scared.

Then – I visit my folks’. But they are not the ones that give me faith (well…I shouldn’t say that – they give me some faith, having been married since they were 17- and 19-years-old – they are now in their 60s). I get to see my 84-year-old, sprite Grandfather, seen below (photo courtesy of one brilliant brother, Brian Dilg.) He has seen so much in life. His mother passed away when he was six, his step mother died when she was 13. He had another stepmother – the Nana that I knew – who embraced and loved him and he, her…. But…

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… the biggest, most wondrous thing about Papa is his love for his wife. He met her when he was 13. She passed away last November from Alzheimer’s. For the last 20 or so years of her life he stood by her side – in a nursing home for the most part – every single day. He stayed by her when she started to lose her memory. He stayed when she began getting lost, running away and throwing things at him. He stayed when she completely forgot him and couldn’t function anymore (although, she always kissed him back – the one human reaction she never lost) and he stayed when many, many people would not have. My Grandparents’ story around the theft that is Alzheimer’s is a post for another time. For today, I thank Papa for showing me that real love can last, that not all relationships are dispensable and that in the end – faith is a daily leap that is a reward in and of itself.

Thanks, Papa.