I almost didn't start it. I was just going to wait till another day when I am braver, or stronger or something.
Stella Rose deserves the words, she worked hard these past 8 years..........so I take a deep breath and start typing.
THE GRIEF SUITCASE
One month ago today Stella Rose went to stay at the 21st step of the rainbow bridge. The deal she made with me was as soon as she knew I understood AND learned the "lesson" she was sent to teach me she would pack up her pup tent, and cross the bridge. Although I reassured her I would be fine, and to please cross, I know in my heart, she has been waiting this whole month, to see what I would do. She knows her momma's heart and soul better then even I do.
So I am going to tell you a story about how Stella's lesson came to be, and then I know she will keep her promise to me.
When I was 16 years old, my grandmother died. She was 64. Just one year older than I am now. My grandparents had always lived right across the road from me, and I had a wonderful life with them. I spent every day and most evenings running back and forth to their house, going places with them, staying all night, helping grandma around the house and yard. I am the oldest grandchild, so I am sure I was spoiled and treasured. I thought I would have her all my life, and of course, as many of us experience, God has his own plans.
One Sunday night she was so sick Grandpa took her to the hospital, and the doc told him she needed to have her gallbladder out. I wasn't worried mainly because at that age, I thought I had control of my life, and I was sure Grandma would always be there for me, and plus it was a simple surgery. Except it wasn't. They found cancer. It was the week before Thanksgiving, and they said she could come home, and would probably be with us till Christmas.
I didn't believe them, and knew, was positive, once Grandma came home, things would be just fine. Forty eight years ago people really didn't talk to their kids like we do now, so no one sat us down and explained her illness or the future. After all, we were just kids.
Grandma passed away the day after her surgery. They called our home around 9:30 that night, and mom and dad left to go to the hospital. They didn't tell us kids till the next morning, but I knew when the phone rang.
The adults were busy making funeral plans; we became invisible, and over time I believe it just became easier for them to think we were all okay. So I told myself I was.
Except I wasn't. I had all these emotions rattling around in my brain and heart and I didn't know what to do with them, or who to talk to about them. So I hid them away and pretended I wasn't feeling all the pain from grandma's loss, and that became the beginning of my grief suitcase.
Over the years it became a learned pattern for me. My suitcase became so full, the only way I could close it, was the old fashioned way of sitting on it, and shoving crap inside and then locking it up.
If I would start to feel any type of grief I would mentally run to get my suitcase. I repeated this behavior until the day that Stella left my side.
Its an unhealthy way to live, never letting yourself feel sadness, or sorrow and sometimes even anger. A person just mentally shuts down, but goes on with the life they are living.
I know many adults struggle with this same issue, and although we are happy and loving people, we also full of anxiety, and worry, and pain.
WELL, here comes Stella in my life and she managed to do something wonderful that even my children and grandchildren, whom I love dearly, were not able to do. Open my suitcase.
Most of you know that Stella lived a horrible life until the day I brought her home, but she never let that affect her. She was a strong little pug, and loved me with all her heart. She taught me a lot of little lessons, and brought wonderful friends into my life. Stella is one of my best gifts. Best.
About a month before Stella left, I started to think about what her lesson to me would be and just the thought of not having her immediately made me feel these awful emotions, and I ran to the suitcase. I ran several times, for several days and then one night it hit me....."oh no, its the damn suitcase, it will be her lesson!"
You know how you can have this love/hate relationship with something. Well, that describes the suitcase and me. Its my awful security, its my go to place when life is horrible......and hard, and heartbreaking. Its. My. Suitcase.
I thought her lesson would be about love, and laughter, and friendship. I had arguments in my head and with Stella about her lesson, and I hung onto her.
then one day I let go of her.
I lost Stella and I allowed myself to cry, and to feel my heart breaking. It was awful. It didn't set me free, it didn't make me feel safe or better, it hurt. I hated it. I knew though she wanted me to just once in my adult life feel these emotions, and deal with them.
So I did. Of course there were a few times, like 100 times, I started for my suitcase, but I would stop myself, and feel the emotions of Stella not being in my life. It. Was. Hard.
Some nights I pretend she is beside me in the bed. I snuggle her, and go to sleep, those emotions hurt. I talk to her in the mornings on my way to work, and those emotions hurt. I am writing this post for her, and these emotions hurt.
I haven't thrown that old suitcase away, but I haven't opened it up either. I wish Stella could have stayed longer, but I know she was always meant for me, and me for her. She was a wonderful teacher, and finally I am a willing student.
Pack your tent up baby girl, step over into that wonderful world waiting for you, hug your brother and aunt, and baby cotton. I know I will see you one day.
Love your momma