Thursday, May 28, 2015


Watched a phoot essay about Dukey, a black lab whose owners documented his last day. It was filled with love, smiling pictures of Dukey, and his many friends who shared a portion of his day prior to his euthanasia. It broke my heart. I sobbed uncontrollably. 

Part of the reason may be that it was too close to home. It is only 6 months since we had Greyla put down. And Dukey was a black lab, like Greyla.  Yet, the tearing in my heart and the tears rolling down my face feel like tears of regret.

The regret exists bc our timing, mine and Greyla's was always off. It took me years into her tenure with us, for me to fully love and accept her. She was not an easy dog. And she came to us too soon after the loss of Jake, my heart dog, for me to bond easily early on in the relationship. But, eventually we did bond. But my regret was always that it had taken me so long to accept her for who she was. 

Then, there was the regret that came toward the end of her life. I am not convinced that our timing regarding the end of her life was flawless. She was in physical decline for a long time prior to our decision to let her go in mid November. Total strangers in the campground last spring and summer would question our motives regarding keeping her going. I was deeply wounded by those questions. But, we took her back to Pittsburgh in April last year for a complete physical, which showed her to be in metabolic good health. She had some arthritis changes in her spine and hips, but those were not a good enough reason to end her life, we reasoned. These were things treatable with anti-inflammatories and pain meds.  So, she returned with us to NC, and lived out several more months. 

Greyla's vision was poor due to cataracts, but she asked to go out walking in the grass multiple times daily, bc she LOVED sniffing the grass, and the ocean air. We adjusted her meds as necessary in an attempt to keep her paint free, as much as possible. 

Her appetite was good, though odd. For a short period, she would only eat her holistic, grain free, organic dog food IF it was topped with Spaghetti-o's! But she had an appetite. One of our criteria for deciding when to let go of our dogs over the years, included observing their appetite, fluid intake, and pain management. She seemed good on all three counts.

Yet, I wonder still, if we were looking for reason to hang on to our girl.  When I looked at the pictures of Dukey, today I saw a joy that I do not remember seeing in Greyla during her last five or six months on this earth. Perhaps our criteria for keeping her going was too narrow. Perhaps, it was bc of our wonky timing issues. I was so slow to come to love and accept her, that in the end, I was again too slow. This time, too slow to love her enough to let her go. 

I know that I will never have a definite answer to the guilt and anguish I feel about Greyla. I know that life is a crap shoot, that we all make mistakes. And I know that in time, I will probably come to grips with my questions regarding Greyla, and accept that even if our timing was off, it was still OK, bc we erred on the side of caution and love. It's just that I'm not there yet.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thoughts on the Future

2015 May 3

Lately I have been short-tempered. I find myself irritated by relatively minor things. I have been wondering why.  Yes, I have been sick, but I'm recovering nicely. Yes, the weather has been peculiar, but we have a roof over our heads and the capacity to warm ourselves. We have too many, frequent reminders of how much we miss Greyla. I haven't spoken to my brothers or sister in a couple of months, nor have I spoken to Laura, my dear sister from another mother, in a long time. All these are contributory, I am sure.

However, the major factor causing my short temper and my crankiness, is the uncertainty of our future. 

We have decided that we are done traveling full-time. As part of the transition, we have been here working as work campers on Hatteras Island since March 2014. We even spent the winter here, while the campground was closed. We do not wish to do that again. We seem to have an easier time deciding what we don't want to do, as opposed to what we do want to do. 

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy work camping, especially here at Ocean Waves, where it feels like a pleasant village. I would, if they would have me, come back to work camp here again next year. The problem is my husband,  who has made his preference clear, and he wants to be retired. He wants to work on his time and terms. So, I think returning as work campers at OWC, is a very remote possibility, since more often than not, they like couples as work campers. It makes the future even more uncertain, since it means there is uncertainty regarding both our winter plans and our plans for next year. IF we were returning to OWC, then we could focus on finding a furnished winter rental from November till March or April. 

But, do we plan on a winter rental? Something for just November thru April? That would be feasible IF we were returning to Ocean Waves Campground next year. And I DO want to return. R does, too, but as a camper, which for the most part is NOT financially possible.

Do we look for a long term, 1 year rental? A possibility, but where? We think we might want to simply stay in coastal NC, but NOT on Hatteras Island, due to the isolation of the Island in the winter months.

Do we look at buying a condo? There are a few in a price range that meets our needs. Do we want to live in Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, or Manteo?
My heart has always been in Corolla, though I can see some benefit to Manteo.  

There just seem to be more questions than answers with regard to our future.

Throw into the mix the idea that maybe we should head back to Pittsburgh, and I begin to see why I have been feeling irritated and ill tempered lately.

What to do, what to do…