if we were friends in real life, we could meet up over coffee and catch up about what is going on in our lives.  But like me, you are probably busy with work, kids, and a house to manage. Meeting for coffee is just another thing we don’t have time to fit in our schedules. So I created a monthly series of virtual coffee dates.  I’ll fill you in on what’s happened since we last met, then you can share something with me in the comments.

The last month was not what I expected.  My schedule was crazy and my emotions were all over the place. Work and personal travel meant I flew 11 times in one month. The two things that usually keep me grounded, writing and exercise, were non-existent.  But it is time to get back to normal. I need normal in my life.

If we were catching up over coffee, this is what I would tell you…

I took an unexpected trip to WV to visit my grandparents.

My mama and papa are 85 and 87 years old and still live in the same house they have owned for over 50 years.  In the last few years, my Papa has recovered from lung cancer, a broken back and broken ribs from multiple falls. I only see them about once a year, when we fly up to WV to visit.

In early August, my mama fell and broke her shoulder.  A few weeks later, my Papa fell and broke multiple ribs.  I was worried about both of them, so I started researching flights to go visit.  Towards the end of the month, my sister texted to let me know that Papa was in the hospital (again). They thought he had developed pneumonia and only gave him a 10% chance of making it through the weekend.

Less than 3 hours later, I had bought a one-way plane ticket and was flying to West Virginia. My Papa was very sick when I got there but I was so happy to see him.  The first few days were rough but the third morning when I walked into his hospital room, he looked at me and said, “Well look who’s here! When did you get here?”  He did not remember me getting there two days earlier, but this was a turning point and he started getting a little better each day.

During the five days I was in WV, I stayed at my Mama’s house.  Every night,  I slept in a recliner while she slept next to me in the hospital bed they had set up in the living room a few weeks before.  Because of her shoulder fracture, I would help her get dressed, fix her hair, make her breakfast and take her to the hospital each morning to see Papa.  In the evenings, I would bring her home, help her get undressed and in her nightgown. Then we would sit in the kitchen together and eat dessert before going to bed. It was a bittersweet visit, but I am glad I was able to go home and see both of them.

Papa is now in a rehab facility, trying to strengthen his legs so he can go home again. Mama’s arm is healing and she will not need surgery.

I flew to Norway for a work trip at the beginning of September.

I travel internationally for work a few times a year, but this was my very first time to visit Norway.  I left for my business trip on Labor Day, about five days after I returned from West Virginia. We had three flights to get from Dallas to Stavanger, so it was a long travel day.  Our meetings were scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, with no plans on Thursday.

Before I left for Norway, I researched some sightseeing options for Thursday and found an amazing sunrise hike to Preikestolen.  Also known as Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen is a cliff that looks out over the fjords in Norway and is one of the top hiking destinations in Norway. Hiking at sunrise would mean 1) I could avoid some of the crowds and 2) I would get to see the sunrise over the Lysefjord. So along with my business suits, I packed my hiking shoes, wool socks, warm clothes and a rain jacket.

Unfortunately the day we arrived in Norway, I got a text that my tour was cancelled and could not be rescheduled. I briefly considered hiking to Preikestolen on my own, but decided that was probably not the safest choice to do alone.  (My co-worker is afraid of heights and had no interest in hiking with me). So instead, I booked a sightseeing boat tour and at least got a view of Preikestolen from below.

We said goodbye to our sweet pug, Coco Puff.

Before I left for my business trip, Trey took Coco to the vet. Again. We have known since July that she probably has some type of cancer.  They did some tests that showed cancer cells in her urine, but due to her age (she was 12 1/2) and health (she was blind and deaf), we decided to not pursue treatment.

It got to the point that she stopped barking to go outside and was just peeing in the house. Then we noticed she was “leaking” urine and having trouble emptying her bladder.  We tired doggie diapers, but she wiggled out of them.  She also stopped asking for treats and would only eat every other day.

While I was traveling, I would call home every day and check on Coco. Towards the end of the week, Trey said she was going downhill fast. So I got home Saturday evening and spent the next 24 hours loving on her and telling her goodbye. That Sunday, Trey’s parents came over to stay with the kids while we took her to the Emergency Clinic near our house. It was so hard to decide to put her to sleep. Trey and I both struggled if we were making the right decision. However we knew her joy was gone and it was time to let her go.

Yes, we plan on getting another pug puppy. But not right away. I explained to Sophia that it takes time to heal from losing a pet. Especially when she was part of our family for so long!  Spring or Summer is our tentative plan for a new puppy.

My grief over Coco and the emotional rollercoaster with my grandparents kept me from blogging/writing.

Writing is how I work through my emotions. When I am having trouble expressing myself or dealing with my feelings, I write. However with the stress of my sick grandparents and the grief of losing Coco, I distanced myself from writing. I didn’t want to hurt. I didn’t want to feel anything.

Instead, I have been sitting mindlessly in front of the TV (something I never do), or cooking. Standing at the island in the kitchen, chopping vegetables or making dinner for my family is therapeutic. Food is my love language and I have been loving on my family this month. When Trey woke up sick on his birthday, I made him his favorite dish, chicken fettuccine.  Sophia helped me make corn chowder, peanut butter brownies, and chicken casserole.  Comfort foods have been consumed in large amounts this month.

I realize that numbing my feeling with bad TV and bad food is not helping. So I am taking baby steps to work through my emotions. Like getting into a routine of  morning pages and finally writing this blog post.  Tonight, I made date night plans with Trey and I want to get back in the routine of cooking Sunday family dinner and sitting down around the table together.

This month was hard. Let's catch up over a monthly (virtual) coffee date. Click To Tweet

If we were having coffee, what would you tell me is going on in your life? Have you ever lost a pet? How long did it take you to heal?Tell me about it in the comments.

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