When Your Rescue Dog Ends Up Saving Your Life, Too

miaAlmost 12 years ago, I was brutally date raped.  It came out of nowhere.  My first instinct, even after all these years, is to blame myself.  At the time, I was a Nurse…a strong single Mother.  To say I was blindsided by what happened only hits the tip of the iceberg.  My entire world, my entire being was rocked to the core.  I would love to say I am over it but, that would be a lie.  I am not who I was 12 years ago.  I am  shell of that strong, confident  person.  I have done the therapy, talked about it, exercised, but, the one thing that helped me most find a tiny sliver of me was my rescue dog, Amia.

After the rape, i was terrorized by the thought that he might come back and kill me or my children.  He was a Detective and former special forces so, having me out there knowing what he did was a threat to all he held dear.  This man had a lot to lose.  I didn’t report it because he was a cop and I was terrified he would get away with it and hurt me or my children.  That’s the way things were then.  I couldn’t take the risk.  I remember walking out to go to my car each morning for my early shift wondering if this would be the day.  I didn’t plan to fight back because as sick as it sounds, part of me wanted the noise in my head to be silenced.  After a few months of this morning terror, I began to relax a little but, that didn’t do much to calm my racing thoughts and out of control fear that were with me constantly.

I decided to get a dog for protection.  One morning, I answered an advertisement for a free Husky/Malamute mix that was scheduled to be put to sleep.  I arranged to meet Amia that morning.  She was beautiful but aloof and to be honest I was more than a little afraid of her.  She was 85 pounds of muscle and fur and gave no indication whatsoever what was on her mind.  She had a calmness that was terrifying.  She wasn’t cuddly and never once wagged her tail.

To this day, I have no idea why but, I told the girl I would take her.  She was delivered to my house a week later and she took some getting used to.  I bought a kennel for her which she promptly escaped from, she tore through garbage, ate an entire tube of toothpaste and didn’t show much of a personality.

I was wondering what I did but, was determined to win her over.  Little by little Amia became my dog and I became her trusted master.  Over the years, a tiny hand signal would become a command to her.  She watched every move I made and knew ever mannerism and exactly what it meant.  I rarely had to speak to her.  We both knew what the other wanted.  We became a part of each other.  She was always by my side,  It was truly beautiful.

This past winter, it became apparent that age was getting the best of her.  She had trouble sitting and standing and I knew what was coming.  He hips were going and I could see the pain in her beautiful blue eyes.  We could no longer go one our long walks, which she loved.  I spend a lot of time laying with her and cuddling.  I talked to her softly and she licked my face as if she was the one comforting me.

Last Friday morning, I woke up.  I had slept longer than most nights and was surprised she didn’t immediately stand up when I moved around in bed.  I got out of bed , sure that she would get up and do her little dance she did each morning when she knew I was going to take her outside.  She just sat there with a pained look in her eyes, a look that sent a shock wave straight through my heart.  She could no longer stand up.  Her demeanor was one of such sadness mingled with pain.  She knew it was bad.  I knew then what I had to do.  that moment had finally come.  I could not let my sweet baby girl suffer.

Both my adult children came with me to the veterinarian with us without me even asking them to.  The Veterinarian examined her and agreed that it would be best for her to end treatment and allow her to go peacefully.  They laid blankets on the floor and I layed down with her.  She licked my face over and over as if to comfort me.  I held her beautiful face in my hands and told her over and over that it was ok because Mommy was right there with her and she believed me just like she always did,  I kissed her a million times.  She was calm and happy just like she always was when I was right there with her.

When it was time and she was given the medicine we were looking into each others eyes.  I held her gaze to the very end……talking to her quietly and holding her.  She knew I was there and she knew my love enveloped her.

When I came home, I cried for 3 days.  I still cry a few times a day but, not as often.  I still think she is here.  I forget that she is gone.  I had no idea what a lifeline she was for me.  I only now realize how much she helped me get through the worst time in my life and what an incredible bond that created between us.

My son sent me a text later that night.

He said-

The best thing to do is recognize how beautiful sadness is,  The opportunity to have something so beautiful makes the sadness well worth it.  I love you Mom.

Amia will forever be a part of me.   I have never loved a dog like that.  I saved her life and gave her the gift of 12 more amazing years and she saved my life and gave me a lifetime of the memory of  the unconditional love and devotion she gave to me.

I will never forget that and am eternally grateful that I took the chance on loving her.

We saved each other’s lives.

It just hurts so bad.

Being a Single Mom in America right now

I have had a pretty constant level of stress for many years. The title says ten years a single mom but, by now it has actually been almost 14 years. You get used to the constant level but, since the election it been me just dreading each and every morning because every day there is a new threat to life as we know it coming from the White House.

I had things to worry about before but, now it’s overwhelming. I worry about my healthcare, my Mom’s healthcare, my children’s education getting more and more out of reach for them. I worry about my job in healthcare. I worry about how badly people are going to suffer without healthcare.

I worry that the world now looks at this country with fear and disgust. I worry that the world doesn’t see that most of the people here are good people.

Prices are rising and my pay is not. My job is far less secure than it was a year ago. I am scared. I have NEVER been unemployed in my life!! My kids are both in college but, I am still their main support. I provide them with health insurance, a home, car insurance, cell phones, and a million other things I can barely afford. They need me in order to be able to obtain their own dreams. I think in horror how there may come a point where I just can’t do it for them anymore.

I am scared of what my children’s future will be. I have live through more than a few new administrations but, this is the only one that strikes genuine fear in my heart.

This is like a long, unending nightmare. I want my life back. I want to have some hope, some carefree moments. I am so sick of being terrorized by a bunch of politicians. This is not fair and it is not the country I love and know.

The Noise in My Head

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a drive. I told my daughter I was leaving and she asked me where I was going. I just told her I didn’t know but, I would have my phone on me and to call me if she needed me.

I found myself in a car with no gas so, my first stop was to remedy that situation. I got a large cup of coffee now knowing exactly where I was going to go. It was late afternoon so, I was worried I would miss it but, when I got to my destination the sun was still in the sky. The temperature was supposed to be dropping but, somehow it stayed at 74 degrees. I parked in the lot of a hotel we have been going to for over a decade. It is a gem of a place that is directly across from the beach. For as long as we have been going there the rates for a room have never changed. You just call Nick on his cellphone and book your room. He always asks for a credit card but, you know he isn’t writing it down because he has that hotel mostly for his own pleasure. For years, that man has made the impossible possible for me. He made it affordable for me, a single Mom, to stay in a place so close to the ocean. Nick will never know how much that meant to me.

There is a for sale sign in front of the hotel now, and that makes me sad. I get out of my car a scribble a note telling Nick that I would only be parked there for a short while knowing that he wouldn’t even bother to read it or be bothered that I parked there.

I cross the street and walk up towards the empty beach. The tourists are gone because it is November. The second I hit the sand, I can breath. All of the noise in my head disappears. I am at peace for the first time in so long. Going to the sea is magic for me. I need to go there more often.

The sun is setting. I sit in the sand and just take it all in. I close my eyes and the sound of the waves crashing is the only thing I hear. The few people who walk past say hello or just nod as if silently telling me that they are there for the very same reason. When you go to the sea in the off-season you don’t have to explain to anyone who is there, why you are there. It is like a secret club for those who know that when they are there, that their mind is free of the clutter.

I sit there and watch the sun set, feeling a sense of peace. I am not worried. I am not afraid. It is just me and the sea. There is nothing in this world that brings me such serenity. I wish I could just sit there forever but, the sun is setting and my life is calling me back. I make a promise to myself that I will go there with more frequency. I need that. I know I do. I feel stronger there. I need to feel that strength all the time but, I can’t quite figure out how to accomplish that.

As I walk back to my car, I feel sad but, at the same time energized. I have to go back to the noise in my head that no one else can hear.  I have to face the constant worries and fear that buzz around inside my brain. It’s funny how the sea takes that all away from me so effortlessly. I think about how need to trust someone in my enough to let them help me silence that noise. I think about how one of my biggest problems is being unable to allow someone in. I need to stop being so alone.

My Greatest Accomplishment

The last year has been one of milestones in my house. My son turned 21 today and is in an advanced BioChem degree program at a University with only one more year to go until he gets his Bachelors degree….he has plans to continue after onto his post Graduate degree and I could be more excited and proud of him. He is so focused and mature for his age.

My beautiful daughter graduated high school last June and is now attending college. She is trying to figure out where her studies will take her and I know she will figure it out and devise a plan for her future, just as her brother has.

My dream of a good education for my children is coming true. As a single Mom, I have managed to support them to spread their wings and fly. I honestly couldn’t ask for more. Thankfully, Not having their Dad in their lives has not stopped them.

My Daughter voted in her first election this past November. She was excited to do so and that thrilled me! She has been talking about running for office someday and I could see her doing just that. She is formidable for a girl of just 18 years of age. I can’t imagine who she will be at 30, my little girl is fierce!

So, somehow I managed all alone to raise a son who is wildly intelligent, respectful, kind, and loving. I raised a daughter who is also wildly intelligent, fierce, kind, and loving. Sometimes, I feel as if in doing that I have depleted myself but, it feels worth it to see them now.

I look forward to what the future will bring them. I look forward to the graduations, weddings, grandchildren that may come my way. I plan to support them in their lives for as long as I live and beyond that. They are my legacy.

I am incredibly proud of both of them. I need to work on feeling that same pride in myself for helping them beat the odds that were stacked against them living in a single parent household. I really need to work on that.

I’ve been Gone a while. I am still trying to find peace in an un-peaceful world. While I do that, I am going to try to write a little.

Beautiful Things

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I have to write about the beautiful things in my life.  One of them is watching my son fall in love.   Last August, I went to see him at his job.  That day he was working with a young lady.  My son and I spoke for a while and she stood right by is side looking up at him, soaking in every word that came out of his mouth.  He was oblivious to what I saw going on there.  She is a beautiful girl, a little ballerina with auburn hair, big blue eyes and an ever-present smile.    She has poise, grace, and class.  I adored her right away.

My son has been a talker all is life.  He literally started speaking sentences at 12 months old.  He is brilliant.  He reads medical studies for fun so, to have a conversation with him you are best of to have a relatively high IQ.  He found it difficult to find a girlfriend because he wanted someone who was on his level….someone he could really talk to about some of the abstract concepts the float around in his mind.  Trust me, when we go to a family gathering and he begins to speak everyone’s eyes widen in awe of what my little boy as become.

When he came home that night after work, the first thing I told him was that girl really likes you.  He looked at me with a tiny smile and said, “You, think so Mom”?  I replied that I knew so.  Not long after, he began courting her.  I say that because the way people go about dating these days is horrific, hooking up, friends with benefits, no real commitment But, there he was….courting her.  This boy, raised only by his Mother, knew how to treat a woman because he was taught.  I told im many times that no matter what the world tells him, to always take care of the women in his life.  I guess he listened.

It has been almost a year now since they began dating.  Watching my son look deeply into her eyes brings tears of joy to my eyes because I am so thrilled he has found happiness in her.  It is so sweet to see.  The only thing I want for both my children is for them to find happiness.  Find that moment when you look at someone and it takes your breath away.