Recently someone told me that she thought she needed counseling because she was having such a hard time with a traumatic event that had happened with a loved one -- she said she just could not get it out of her head. While I am not in a position to say whether she did or did not need some extra help, I was struck by how little patience we have for ourselves when misfortune strikes us.
A tragedy -- and we get to define what that means to us -- slows us down, and that is okay. In the days after my cat vanished I felt just heartsick and stunned. It was like I had 100 little soldiers to put forward each day, and 85 of them were involved with the cat and all that brought up for me. That left just 15 little daily soldiers to do my work, train dogs, interact with people, and just cope with my usual life -- which normally takes all 100 little soldiers.
And with the majority of my little personal army not available, of course I was not myself and not able to function as well as I normally do. I had to be very thoughtful about where to put those remaining 15 little soldiers, and not to try to do more than my depleted personal army would allow.
My experiences with the tragedies and heartbreaks of others has taught me about patience and hope, and so I knew that I would not forever be down to 15 soldiers. This knowledge made me feel okay about limping along because I recognized it was temporary -- real, but not permanent. When we forget this, we panic and imagine that we will forever be unable to fully function, and that just uses up the remaining 15 little soldiers.
There is really no way to predict how long it takes for the troops to regroup and you cannot really rush it, as that just makes it worse. And so I have just marched through my personal battle with demons and loss, taking the hits and crying the tears and wondering about all the "why's" but always trusting that I would feel better again.
It doesn't happen all at once but suddenly you realized that most of those little soldiers are back and ready to tackle something else. The loss is not forgotten and the questions remain unanswered, but you can somehow just let it be. This is not acceptance -- bad things are not acceptable -- but rather it is a sort of reconciling with what cannot be changed. And a recognition that there is still a life to be lived, lessons to be learned and so the soldiers come back and life goes forward.
And so we have pictures again! With a storm heading our way and record cold temps coming, I decided that every dog needed to do something today. We started with the puppies -- Galen and I took them for a walk at the river. Unfortunately Galen got a low blood sugar right before we actually made it to the river so we had to turn around and go back quickly in search of sugar but the puppies still had fun, even if the hike was an abbreviated one.
The start of the hike goes past this pond -- Sydney still does not like water and Zoey loves water more each time we go to the river -- earlier this week she intentionally went far enough in the river to swim a few times!
After getting home from the low blood sugar hike and ensuring that Galen was going to live, it was time to do draft with Asia. Today she pulled 80 pounds on our little route and I took a couple more pictures for you. Isn't Steve cute?!
Cadi, Maize and Halo all did agility and etc. in the training yard so everyone had fun, and then it was time to eat dinner and play. Halo thought it was an excellent time to do some pruning.
Sydney and Zoey played their version of football. It involves me throwing a toy, Zoey fetching it, and Syd playing defense to keep Zoey from bringing it back to me. Syd's first strategy is to grab Zoey's tail -- that has to be penalty!
With Zoey distracted, Syd catches up and grabs the toy.
And then there is always the intimidation factor...
Zoey eventually gives up and just practices looking beautiful...
One of my colleagues from the university came over and we blew out the sprinkler system with an air compressor -- who knew that had to be done?! And so ends a mellow and productive afternoon/evening -- such times are so good for recharging all those little soldiers :)