Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ginger 1990-2006

Long teary ink-smeared death post.

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In happier times, on her favorite rug.

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Her last night. She wouldn't eat her treat.

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Ginger died Tuesday, June 13, 2006. I am so heartbroken I feel like I've been widowed. I was totally not expecting to be so upset, I've been expecting it for a while. "The winter is a frigid bitch bride who's my sister who smacks me." —Arielle Greenberg. But Emily says "Eclipses suns imply." I'm reading Emily's Letters, so great to read her letters when you are grieving. She was the master of the condolence letter. So many death letters in her Letters. I will bring it to every funeral I ever go to from now on. So I wrote like 6 pages in my paper journal on Tuesday, while sobbing. Obviously very important time to memorialize so here it is:

So shocking what has happened, that I killed her —put her to sleep — she couldn't walk at all or even stand up — due to arthritis — 16 years old. Didn't think I would feel such a gaping hole — I feel so alone — her absence is huge. I keep wondering where she is. Her spirit? It is so mysterious — Death. Where we once were we no longer are. Even tho I was totally expecting it and cried Monday night, her last night, I knew it — she seemed like she was dying — no energy at all. She was so gentle, she didn't even flinch when the Dr. put the needle in. As the stuff went in I could see her relaxing/dying, I guess dying is the best relaxation — no more pain. It seemed like a great relief to her. I guess that was the anesthesia, they said what kills her is an overdose of anesthesia. But I think she was relieved to go. The Dr. was so nice. She kept touching my arm and saying the usual comforting things, which really were comforting, I always thought those sayings were bullshit and you shouldn't say them to people, but it was really, really nice to hear. I am getting her ashes for $240. I think I may have missed her death, her eyes were closing as she realxed, and they closed, and I put my head down into her neck and sobbed and when I looked at her again they were half open in that death gaze. I've never seen anyone die before, it is so weird that it is her but then not because she is absent. I've seen dead, but not actual death before. The breathing belly I'm always obsessively looking for stopped. They let me stay in the room with her after she died and I just sat there looking at her — she seemed not dead but just really still — I kept petting her, then after a minute, her body started to seem extra heavy. I then got a little grossed out, it's not her anymore, its a corpse, and so I left her and went into the very crowded waiting room, where I felt like everyone was staring at me, could they hear me sobbing in the little room, can my neighbor below me now? I am just letting loose, sobbing loudly, what a wuss I am, I don't care tho. Somehow too, between the picking up Ginger and putting her in the cab to go to the vet, I lost my phone, I have to go to Cingular. It's my day off and I don't know what the fuck to do with myself. I wish I had funeral arrangements to take care of. I wish someone would make me a casserole. I can't seem to stop crying so it seems a bad idea to go out, but I probably won't stop crying here in my bed.

I can live a shed-free existence from now on I guess. No more hair on my black clothes, no more friends saying "let's go to my house instead, let's meet somewhere." I can stay out after work and not rush home to walk her. Save money on dogfood, nails clipped, cab rides, vet bills. I will have a plethora of bags. Maybe I will buy one of those canvas grocery bags and be all environmental. Cuz what am I going to do with all these plastic bags now? I can get a cheaper apartment. None of this is remotely consoling.

She died of arthritis really — the vet said the reason she wasn't peeing was related — I thought her kidneys were failing — but the vet said soemthing about nerves blocking neurological messages to pee. Made sense but I can't talk science. I am glad on Saturday I gave her a bath (she was lying down in the tub the whole time, she didn't even have the energy to stand) so she died really pretty and soft. No one want to go when they look bad, right? I am so glad she looked pretty.

Maybe instead of my dog mimicing me and my shadows, like I always thought pets did, me being sick off and on since March was a way of me micmicing her...she was never that intuitive a dog, but super gentle and sweet — she hasn't barked since 2004. I walked all the way home from the vets instead of waiting for the bus — it want't that long. I sortof went to the bus stop but it wasn't coming and I wanted to keep moving and I HATE crying on public transportation, people looking at you — or not looking at you but aware, avoiding looking at you. So I walked from 18th and Valencia to 14th and up to Dolores to Market and from there one block over to Buchanan and up to Oak. Oh. 12 Blocks. Sounds like more than it felt.

Is she in doggie heaven? I want her to be, I hope she is with God and then suddenly I totally believe — she's in a park with green grass and other friendly doggies and she's rolling around in it getting dirty.

Is she in doggie heaven?
Will I see her ghost?
Did she cease to exist?
Is she being reincarnated?
I sort of believe her energy, her essence, floated up to be with the All, rejoining with the life force which splits itself up into new life, so yes she is in doggie heaven — rejoining the all and yes she is being reincarnated. To see ghosts probably means they haven't yet rejoined with the all and are hovering about. I know she was relieved and probably has no reason to stay here. I think somehthing like her energy is rejoined with the all and in that rejoining, it changes it, and she becomes more like it and less like Ginger and that is why when you reincarnate you are not remotely like you were in your previous life because your energy is mixed with the all and a new combination/configuration is created.

It is sunny today — a great day for chasing butterflies.

I keep thinking she is down there on her pillow and I look and she's not there. The worst thing is that unconscious reflex when I wake up, to look for her. I'm starting to tell myself she's not there, don't look for her when I get out of bed, come out of the kitchen, and worst of all, when I put my key in the lock. This vast emptiness — huge — it fills up the sky, but she is somewhere — must be where the emptiness is not, but that is a place where I am not, and is it really separate — heaven and earth? Binaryism is perhaps the truth after all? We are not of God. God is not of us, totally separate, but when we die we get to be with him? But are still not of him? Other beings worshipping him forever —? Being Other. And so truth is hierarchy... Ihope that is not it. I don't like that world-view.

That night after her death, I dream of a huge gaping hole in the wall to my apartment. Symbol of my heart.

Wednesday I try to go to work, but see my boss outside and I tell him, and I start sobbing, and he, emotional flame, hugs me, and then he starts to cry, and he tells me to go home. I don't want to go home. Only despair is there. So I eat and go to a cafe, and pretend to read poetry with a coffee. Luckily this cafe is crazy packed, and that keeps my focus, some guy talking to his tourist friend who is visiting him, looks at me and says, "California Poet Types," huh! I am a type! A tourist attraction! weird. Then I get a little better through the humor, and go to yoga, but it is very hard to move, sorrow immobilizes you. I come home and I start crying again and write some more:

the thing that's upsetting me now —? is that she was always so confused about where to go, I had to tell her this way, Ginger. She wouldn't go anywhere she didn't think I was going. So how does she know where to go in the afterlife, I'm not there. How does she know to go towards the light or whatever. Are there doggie angels helping her?

Michael sent me a sweet note:

"may Ginger be surrounded by sweet
airs and lovley sea gardens resting
in the shade being petted by HD and
Emily Dickinson and all of them
feeling very inspired and relaxed and happy"

and I hope that HD and Emily are there to help her know where to go, "the green field is over here, the good smells over there." I know Emily had a dog, Carlo, she says in one of her letters, "I talk of these things with Carlo, and his eyes grow meaning, and his shaggy feet keep a slower pace." Did HD have a dog? I feel like she might have, but can't remember.

Maybe HD is ushering Ginger into the Eleusinian Mysteries...
they are a strange pair Emily and HD, Emily all Puritan New Englandish, and HD rather New Englandish too, but rather more Elesuinian... they were both kindof spiritually crazy in their ways, and that is cool and comforting...

Eve says: oh Ginger... she will be remembered as a timid gold hair girl.

Judy says: Ginger will always be with us! As a glowing golden doggie angel!

My friends are sweet.

Bizarrely, my dad's dog, Mickey, died Thursday. They were about the same age, and died the same way: bad arthritis, and Mickey just stopped moving and wouldn't eat. So they put her to sleep too. When I lived in Austin in the 90's, Ginger and Mickey used to play together at my dad's. They would run around the yard together. I feel so much better knowing Ginger has her old friend with her, now she knows where to go, Mickey's personality was more assertive, she will just run into the light, and Ginger will see and follow her. I'm not so worried anymore. But I am still heartbroken. I asked my doctor if he could give me anything, I feel barely functional, and he said there is no pill to stop the grieving process, but he could give me sleeping pills to help me sleep, so I took one last night, and slept through the night for the first time, but I'm not so sure it is such a good idea, because today it has me so relaxed I can't control the crying as well, I was trying to sit in a cafe and read, which worked last Wednesday, but today I can't seem to stop myself from crying in public. I had to leave and come home. Maybe dosing myself up on caffeine and being really active would be a better tactic. I am totally re-addicted to coffee this week, which is ok, if it works, because I can quit coffee anytime, later.

I was thinking about those birds, that kept landing on my head, it happened twice, in the past month or two, I don't remember when it happened, but it happened two different times, it seems like it must have been some sort of harbinger of Ginger's death. I don't know what the symbolism exactly is, cuz it is too weird, but birds, even pigeons, are messengers, somehow creatures between heaven and earth...I have a feeling it won't happen again, and if it doesn't, then I am right. Maybe if I am somehow symbolic of Ginger, and not the other way around, then maybe they were trying to cart me off to Heaven...

It is so strange the illnesses I've had that seem to mimic hers. I had a month of bronchitus, coughing stuff, in March, which she didn't have but during that time I injured my back and had back/hip pain whenever I would get up, which mimicked her arthritic limps. Then I had this stomach stuff for a while, and she was starting to move from having bladder infections all the time to having to poop 3 or 4 times a day, which was weird. In the last week I got a bladder infection out of nowhere, I never get bladder infections, and this was when she was starting to not pee, then she got this weird sore on her left hind leg, that she kept licking, and I noticed this week I have a weird scarry sore on my left leg by my ankle. I think that is it, I am crazy empathic I guess...

I am remembering that all through the years, Ginger has made it into random poems on occasion, I'm going to go back through my poems and make them into a Ginger chapbook, it will go on the Ginger shrine, with her ashes and her pictures, later. Maybe that will be healing, I honestly haven't had any desire to write since this happened. I tried to go shopping to fill the void, and I just didn't care. Drinking doesn't help, yoga doesn't help, pills don't help, I guess it is just time. I wish I could do something to speed up the process.

And strangely, since this is my vision journal, I did see her ghost. I had been drinking, albeit, trying to numb the pain, which didn't work, at all, and I looked at her big pillow she would sleep on, and I could see an outline of her sleeping the way she used to sleep. It is nice in retrospect, to have seen this image, but at the time it made me bawl harder. I wonder if it is some sort of latent energy pattern, or my need to see her, or a visitation from her? Maybe it is like in that movie The Others, where the dead people just continue on as they always have, they have no idea anything is different. That is why she was sleeping, she doesn't know anything different has happened. In that case, I shouldn't move. I want to stay with her.