My Soulmate

For most of my life, I believed my soulmate would be a man I would spend my life with – ‘til death-do-us-part. My God had a much better plan for me.

Love at First Sight

Chewy arrived in my world in April 2007. I had let my daughter’s friend live with us for a few months and her mom sent this little fur ball over as payment. Dee put him in my arms and said, “My mom wants me to sell this little guy in front of Walmart and give you the money.”

Watching me falling in love at first sight, Dee came up with a different proposal. “Or maybe you could keep him for yourself”. In the midst of my first divorce, I thought a new friend might help. I took him to meet my new boyfriend (who would become my second husband). From that point on, we were inseparable.

From the start, Chewy showed us what a fighter he was. Before we gave him his shots, he got Parvo. Two obstructions in his first year also led to a couple of surgeries. All the while, tears flowed from our eyes as we felt the insecurity of our “parenting” skills.

We had named him Chewbacca – Chewy for short. I guess the joke was on us. Many a pair of shorts, underwear, Doc Martens, and leather jackets – all chewed up.

Frontpet Pet Carriers

Thank goodness for a good dog crate and tennis balls! Oh, how he loved his tennis balls, often falling asleep with one in his mouth. This was usually after a good afternoon of chasing said tennis ball.  One of Chewy’s favorite things to do; lose his ball under the couch so either the hubby or myself would have to retrieve it. Once, he even lost it the very moment I had just given it back!

 

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A New Addition

Much to his exasperation, we brought home a sister for Chewy two years later. He was none too pleased. And when we brought little Cherry into our bed to snuggle with the three of us, he froze up like he was dead and would not talk to us. But he got used to her rather quickly and the pair were joined at the hip. Almost literally. They walked side by side, hip to hip. They slept in a Yin-Yang shape together.

They were indeed, Yin and Yang. Or as I called it Addict (Chewy) and Codependent (Cherry). While Cherry was timid and a bit clingy, Chewy was bold, strong and protecting of all.

Throughout the years, Chewy ran the household. If I was in bed on a Saturday morning and the hubby was up and about, Chewy would paw at me until I got up and joined the rest of the family in the Livingroom. On the flipside, once the hubby went to bed, my little guy would paw at me until I joined the family in the bedroom…

Chewy was more of a person than a pup. Scoffing and scolding me when he didn’t get his way. And oh, so prideful when he achieved something like the time he “saved” the hubby from drowning in the river. He just jumped right in and landed in a patch of floating grass. After we pulled him out, he walked about like a prancing pony with his chest all puffed out. Leaping at Cherry as if to say “I can swim! I can swim!”, “Who’s the alpha now b!tch?!!”

Why do I call him my soulmate?

Because no one ever got me the way my Chewy did. If I was depressed and sleeping too long, there was Chewy, pawing at me. Informing me that I have spent too much time in my slumber and that I needed to let him take me out for a walk.

I have been sober for close to 15 years and 11 years of that time has been spent with my Chewy. Indeed, I have at least on one occasion told my sponsor “Chewy ate my 4th step!”
When I suffered from Gastroparesis, he lay by my side when I was sick. Doing Yoga and meditation was a joint activity as he had to practically sit on my lap when I was in meditation and on my stomach while I lay in Savasana.

A few years back, Chewy had a low-grade Sarcoma and was not expected to grow any more tumors. We celebrated his beating cancer, now referring to him as “Heisenchewy”. My little fighter.

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A New Chapter

In 2017, the hubby and I decided we had done our best to no avail. We filed for divorce. He moved into a Condo (more him), I bought an RV and moved into a park down by the river (more me). He got the cat and I got the dogs.

Freedom! My daily routine started out with a long walk with the pups, coffee and then Yoga. We took so many walks throughout the day, enjoying and basking in the temple of nature. God’s country. At night, we snuggled and watched Netflix together. We learned to live in a whole new world. A world in which time slowed down. The neighbors got to know us well as we were always out doing something fun and exciting.

Shortly afterward, we had to separate the dogs while Chewy recovered from a degenerative disc condition. Cherry had to stay with my son and for the first time in Cherry’s life, they were not together. This was painful. But I knew it was only temporary.

In late November, I headed to The Big Island for an advanced Yoga teacher training and some additional vacation time. This would be the best vacation of my life. For during this time, I fell in love with a friend I had met in August. In addition, another stay at the Shambhava Konalani Ashram was just what the doctor ordered. Re-centering my spirituality, my Yoga practice & teaching skills, aaaaand falling in love in just 2 weeks! Not too shabby for a woman pushing 50!

Bittersweet

“Mom, what is Lymphoma?” was the text I received on the 4th day of my stay at the Ashram. “Why?!!!”, I texted back. “Because Chewy might have it.” I headed to the living room at the Ashram so I could get a good phone service. Upon answering his phone, I could tell by my ex-husband’s voice that this was real. Really f!cked up!!! He was sobbing and informed me that the doctor was pretty confident in her diagnosis.

No, there is no cure for Lymphoma in dogs.
Yes, we could treat him with chemo but it would affect the quality of his life.
No, I did not need to head back early. The tumors were in a very early stage.

So, as I am bonding with 6 other amazing women at the ashram and falling in love with an incredible man, I am now also preparing to say goodbye to my Chewy. My soulmate.

The last two months of his life were spent with lots of hugs, sleeping on the couch at my son’s together. Walking the neighborhood and giving Chewy whatever he wanted. If Chewy wanted a burger, he got a burger. Pizza? It’s yours, buddy!

But sooner than I had hoped, his tail no longer wagged. He only occasionally chased after a tennis ball thrown his way.

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Photo Credit: tookapic

Never Ready

One can be as prepared as they might think but never truly ready to say goodbye. It didn’t happen the way I had envisioned it, in the living room of the home Chewy always knew. But rather on a blanket, in the middle of the night at an emergency Pet clinic.
Chewy was struggling to breathe. I called my ex-husband and told him that he might want to meet me at the Pet ER.

After the doctor said Chewy would probably have an extremely rough night, we decided that it was time. This superb facility provided our boy with a full buffet, including chocolate chip cookies. Chewy ate like a king that night.

We cuddled, took pictures, shed some tears, and expressed our undying love to the little guy. I told him how he taught me how to love, how to see things beyond my tiny bubble of a world. I asked him if I had shown enough love, spent enough time…Did he know how better a person I had become because I had my soulmate for the past 11 years?

Then, he let us know. He was ready. We were not. However, his comfort was more important now. He walked over to the doctor and laid down. Two shots were empathetically and kindly given. After which, the doctor checked his heart and let us know that he was gone.

No longer having to hold back the guttural sobs that were waiting to come out, I let loose. This, this was much harder than my two divorces put together. My boy, my Heisenchewy, my soulmate had left for good.

Goodbye, my dearest Chewy. You brought many a Cherry-blossomed day into my life. I am now ready to accept the seasons. Mama misses you with every part of her soul.

Chewy visited me in a dream the other night. He was walking around the way he often would, like that prancing pony. “Mommy, where’s my ball?”, he asked. I woke up hoping he had found it and would never lose it again.

your choice. your pupjoy.

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Pause

 

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”  – AA Big Book  87-88.

Pausing my series on The 8 Limbs of Yoga until next week.

Why are you pausing Elysia? I am glad you asked!

During a phone call with a loved one this morning she mentioned that she had signed up for Fabletics but forgot to get the link from my website. A very small thing I asked her to do since I am trying to get my website noticed by my affiliates. Disappointed is a good word to explain this. But I just couldn’t shake this off.

About an hour later my son rang me and I had him on speaker phone but had to go to the living room to grab something. The hubby, having just arrived proceeded to turn on the television at full blast. This was the last straw…

“What’s wrong Ma?”, my son asked. He might have regretted this. “Do I even exist to other people on this fucking planet?!!” I asked. I further ranted about the fact that though, I don’t expect people to be as thoughtful and considerate as I am but when I actually ask for someone to do me a simple favor, they can’t even take the extra 3 seconds to do this. Why am I always the last one people remember to pay back a loan to?

My son replied, “I know I can’t do anything for you but I am listening”. Perfect reply. We finished our talk and I proceeded to stew in my anger.

Maybe it’s the menopause, maybe it’s because I am an empath and I soak up other’s energies (positive and negative). Wait, let’s back up a bit…

Three days ago

I was informed of the death of a beautiful soul I used to sponsor. For the past 6-7 years, she had struggled with the disease of alcoholism and her attempts at sobriety. It was painful to watch. Either way, we remained close and would often run into each other.

The news was shocking though I did not understand why I was shocked. Alcoholic deaths are not uncommon among the people we meet in the rooms of recovery. After almost 13 years of sobriety, I should be used to it right? Wrong. We never get used to it. We don’t want to get used to it.

I found myself sad for her family, for her son, and for her close friends. Indeed, I spoke on the telephone with her best friend who had been the one to find her body. I sent a quick text to my sponsor in California. She thought we should schedule some time to talk. Why didn’t I think about that?

Why didn’t I think that I needed to be heard? I was sad for everyone else but forgot to be sad for myself. I am always talking and writing about self-care. Yet I forget to do so for myself. Thank God, I have a sponsor (and a good friend) to remind me!

Coincidentally, today was the day I scheduled to speak with my sponsor. It was a good, much-needed discussion, filled with tears and laughter. I needed to speak. I needed to share out loud that I felt I had failed my friend even though I knew I had not.

gregortegaPhoto by Greg Ortega

The Yellow Rose of Texas

She’s the sweetest little rosebud that Texas ever knew

Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew

You may talk about your Clementine and sing of Rosa Lee

But the Yellow Rose of Texas is the only girl for me

– Mitch Miller

She was a lovely being, inside and out. This is one of the sad parts of recovery. We don’t see each other as the useless  pieces of shit that others would. We get to view the inner beauty of each soul we encounter. I might be a hippie who absolutely adores the redneck because we see past the labels that others and even ourselves put on us.

She loved her friends, family and most of all, her son. Though she drank, she still loved and was loved. Her nails were always done in a bright and lovely fashion. She had a beautiful smile and wit that will be missed for a long time coming. I know I will be expecting to run into her at Safeway out of habit for a while until it finally sinks in that she is gone.

As I stated above, she struggled with alcoholism for years. More than that, she suffered from it. The guilt and shame of not being able to quit. How many times had she beat herself up over it? Only she and God know. But I understand all this. I am no better or different, only owning a program today.

This song has been in my thoughts for several days before I even found out that we lost you my dearest. It perfectly states my heart today. Remembering when we went to see Cindy Lauper together and our wonderful talks. You were and always will be a beautiful soul.

 

 

Featured image courtesy of Gratisography.com

WTF? Again? Why?

Tying a cloth in memory of C...and in prayer for the still suffering addict. — at Devils Tower National Monument.
Tying a cloth in memory of C…and in prayer for the still suffering addict. — at Devils Tower National Monument.

These are all questions that run through my mind as I am informed of another tragic loss due to a drug overdose.

Sometimes the disease of addiction is too damn heartbreaking. So, so very sad. A young man, a father. To say he will be missed much is an understatement. He was the kind of person that though it might have been a while since you had last seen him, you knew an encounter at the gas station was due any day. He would walk up to you and give you the biggest hug, expressing an enthusiastic “I’ve missed you!” But now, we know this will not be happening. Ever again. He is gone. Taken at too young of an age.

This guy had not a mean bone in his body. I don’t think one loss due to addiction is worse than any other. When we had assumed a person was doing well in their life, it is far more difficult to understand. After all, he was a good man, a good father.  Drug addiction is no respecter of man and has no discrimination. For it is an equal opportunity offender in its truest form.

Regardless of one’s past- when you make positive changes, everyone thinks that it is all over, all good.  We can all carry on now like nothing ever happened.  This is not how recovery works.


How can we in recovery avoid death by overdose?

Source: http://www.quotationof.com/
Source: http://www.quotationof.com/

Vigilance:  Watchfulness; Alertness. 

To continue to have freedom from addiction, vigilance must be practiced daily. This condition is one of which will rear its ugly head if we cease to remain alert.

Daily Contact with our Higher Power

A good spiritual connection is one of the strongest tools a person in recovery can rely upon in their toolbox.  They say seven days without prayer makes one weak. The disease of addiction is mental, physical and spiritual. Therefore, each aspect will need exercise to stay strong. Prayer is a wonderful strengthening practice. If you have not tried to do this daily, you might want to start soon.

Source: http://thinksmart.typepad.com/
Source: http://thinksmart.typepad.com/

Fellowship/Service

Helping others by suiting up and showing up. There are many people in the rooms who need to hear what you have to say. Or maybe they might need to see your smile. Either way, your presence is requested in the rooms of recovery. Be there.

Never Forget

It is good to keep the memory of your bottom in the back of your mind at all times. By remembering how lousy we felt when we first got clean, we have invested in an additional life insurance policy. None of us want to return to the extensive state of emotional turmoil in which we were living. It is when we forget that feeling that we are in danger of relapse and the (realistic) possibility of overdose.

This is but a small list of things we can do. There are several more ways to avoid the tragedy of overdose. But it’s a good start!

I know I am tired of losing good friends to the disease of addiction. Moreover, I must follow all of the above and then some so as not to break my loved ones’ hearts. We can all do this together, one day at a time. And what’s even greater, we can live this new life – filled with bliss!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

If you liked this,  check out: https://livingelysian.com/2016/11/06/let-go-keep-going-or-start-over/