ten years after

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie. You may remember me from such posts as “Another Sentimental Post”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a completely ridiculous pose. 

I’m not going to talk very long, and no, this post isn’t about the rock group. The guy I live with at first said he might not make a post today, but then said it would be wrong not to, because this day isn’t about him, but about her.

This is a Polaroid taken in May or June of 1982 shortly after the guy I live with met Cindy, in his mom’s back yard, with Taffy, the golden retriever. It was love at first sight. She’s been gone for ten years now, today.

The pain doesn’t go away, he said. It changes. It’s part of being alive and there’s nothing wrong with feeling the pain even if things have changed in his life, which they definitely have. He is very grateful for all the happiness they shared, and for the pain, too.

Here’s a picture of her after she got a Wacom tablet and began to play with it.

And that’s all. The pain, and the happiness.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me, looking for something in the grass, on what turned out to be a beautiful day. I never found what I was looking for, but that was half the fun, at least.


Until next time, then.


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36 Responses to ten years after

  1. Lisa says:

    To the man you live with…
    I’m sorry for your loss, but glad you had happiness with Cindy for the years you did. I too lost my spouse a while back, too young. You’re right, it hurts even more than a decade later.

    And yes, Mani, that really is a ridiculous picture of you! I don’t mind saying so, because you said it first.

    (I want you to know that I am terrible with this kind of reply. I have a tendency to not know what to say, so I don’t say anything. But, that isn’t the right thing to do. So, just please accept my condolences, ten years doesn’t make it easier. That’s what I find happens with some people, they are ready to offer their “sorry” but then when I tell them how long it’s like they feel it’s no longer an issue, I must be over it. They don’t understand. I hope they don’t have to.)

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with said to say that he’s sorry you lost your spouse, because you know he knows what it’s like, so it’s not just a thing to say. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing, too. There was this time, and I don’t know how this conversation came about, but the guy I live with was in the Asian market, one of his favorite places, and he was talking to a woman who had lost her husband years ago, and she said, “Things don’t get better; they get different.” Things have become different for him. But today was a very particular day, with all the associated grief flooding in. It was a ridiculous pose. I was hoping for a biscuit. I did get one, but not before I had to stay still for the phone camera.

  2. ks says:

    Grief is a part of life, and there is no way to get around it. When I lost my spouse after 25 years the first few years felt really disorganized and un-tethered. But I wanted to be strong,and ultimately I rearranged my life. And yes, things just get different. But my garden has been the single most important factor in my recovery.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with made it through the first few very difficult years with music. He’s been listening to classical music for sixty years and so like when Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, wasn’t feeling super great, they had Opera Day. The funny thing, though, is that that’s not the music that generates grief, for him; it’s something else entirely. This morning it was “Crimson and Clover”. Really. There’s the garden, too, but that isn’t always, oh, I guess you might say, dependable. I like it a lot, though.

  3. Barb K says:

    ks is right about the garden. Sometimes the only thing is just to get outside, or to do art. What bothers me now, after the fresh grief has dulled a bit, is when I’m reminded of something we were going to do “later.” The random unfairness and cruelty of life that the people who expect you to be “over it” have somehow been spared. My thoughts went to you many times today…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Maybe the thing that gets the guy I live with down the most is thinking about things like just going downstairs to watch “The Simpsons” with Cindy. Doing something ordinary like that. On the other hand he does have his friend, and that makes a lot of this better. The grief is still there, but not there all the time, the way it was. And of course he has me, too.

  4. A good person pointed out your post to me. Got some catching up to do with it. It’s been 3 years for us. The pain comes in waves. Subsides and comes back. Sometimes it’s gentle waves other times they are great chasing ones. Thinking of you.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, you too. There were days so filled with tears that the guy I live with wondered how he would make it from day to day, but he did. And now he has a friend. I really like her, too.

  5. ceci says:

    Oh, dear, so sad and so true that grief doesn’t go away, it just settles in to be part of us. As of course do the positives – friends, gardens and dogs. Thank you for the recollections, and the pre-treat pose, holding back those ears must really build muscle mass.


    • paridevita says:

      Thanks, I think I have pretty muscular ears. They’re retractable, too. (The guy I live with says they aren’t, really.) Today is a different day. Weeding, raking, things like that. Not “moving on”, just a different day.

  6. Mew mew mew Mani yore smiling photoe iss cute! You nevurr take a bad photoe! An half THE fun of lookin iss well….lookin rite??? An mee iss furry sorry ’bout Miss Cindy; shee sure was a purrty lady…sendin **purrsss** an ~~head rubsss~~ to yore guy, BellaDharma~~

    Hello Mani & ‘Your Guy’: Thank you for sharing a bit about Cindy. I can see why it was Love @ 1st Sight!!! Thankfully you DID have some good years together. You are right that the pain; the loss never leaves; it just changes & becomes a part of us. I have been widowed twice. I was 40 the 1st time & 47 the 2nd time…I loved both Paul McMenemy & Kevin DeJonge so much for different reasons. And I miss them both to this day. Some days I really feel ‘robbed’.
    I’m sure you understand. Then I remind myself how blessed I WAS to share Life with both of them…..They are gone but never forgotten ❤ ❤ ❤
    {{hugs}} Sherri-Ellen

    • Mark Mazer says:

      May their memories be of a blessing and a light on your being. Fondly, m (also twice a widower, 36 and 5 years).

      • Shalom Mark & thank you for your blessing! I hope both Paul & Kevin’s memories are for a blessing….Paul at least has family & me who remember him. Kevin’s brother is also gone & his Parents never cared about him in Life. And his Son is doing his own thing so I am really the only one who misses Kevin…..I am sorry you also have been widowed twice. Once is difficult enough….twice is almost impossible to survive…..well for me anyway…
        Sincerely Sherri-Ellen

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; yes, the guy I live with says he understands completely. This was a big anniversary. It wasn’t as terrible as he thought it might be, because non-anniversary stuff intruded, and because it has become different. Still, there are moments when the bottom seems to drop out of everything. We think you understand that.

      • Oh yes Mani & ‘your Guy’ I SO understand….I never go out on Paul’s or Kevin’s anniversary of their deaths….I usually am in a depressed mood which can turn pretty nasty & I end up in conflict with people…it is just the grief talking….so I stay home & o thru photo albums & read old diaries….And yes some days ‘the bottom’ falls out here when my health takes a bad turn….Kevin was so supportive & so helpful when we were married….being on my own is rough some days……

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with understands that, some days being rough. It’s true for him, even though he has a friend who does make everything better. (They decided they would be happier living in their own homes, and they are.) I have to be on my own, sometimes, like yesterday evening, when the guy I live with and his friend went to a party. He is, believe it or not, kind of a party person. But this time of year, especially with all the storms, does remind him of how it was, ten years ago.

      • Mani yore ‘guy’ is furry lucky to have a frend. LadyMew tried that an shee gotted reelly hert by 2 diffyrent guyss. Shee sayss shee iss sin-I-cal (cynical) now all tho’ shee knowss there ARE nice men sumwhere out there! Shee iss furry guarded….iss OKay….shee has mee!
        An what happened 10 yeerss ago? (Mee not even born then…) Or iss it too purrsonal to meow/woof ’bout?
        **purrsss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with’s wife died ten years ago, on the 24th. It was very sudden. As sudden as when you knock a favorite glass off the counter and it shatters on the floor. He is also very lucky (super lucky times infinity) to have met his friend.

  7. “The pain doesn’t go away, he said. It changes. It’s part of being alive and there’s nothing wrong with feeling the pain” those are very wise words. Sending you warm thoughts.

  8. mjkeane says:

    Anniversaries can be so difficult and so poignant. But you’re right to say that we need to acknowledge both the pain and the joy of our lives. Anyone who doesn’t understand that grief doesn’t end entirely hasn’t experienced deep love. I’m glad that you did!

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Twenty-seven years. Some people stopped coming over, or got all weird, after she died, which is understandable, because it was such a happy marriage.

  9. Oh. Oh.
    I dislike grief and try to avoid it. Like that’s possible. In fact, I’m feeling a version right now reading the post and comments. I’m so sorry for the guy you live with’s loss, Mani, please covey. And for everyone else’s.
    Looking at Cindy’s photos, I understand the effect of “Crimson and Clover.”
    You just do your very excellent best to be a solace, dear Mani. If a comic note is needed, elevate like a velociraptor while retracting those ears.I suggest doing this act in the garden. Looking undignified can be a good thing too.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I’ll tell him. Things are pretty much back to the way they always are, now. It was just the day, though sometimes there are moments, you know. The guy I live with said that grief can also be seen as a gift. It is very difficult for purebred border collies to look undignified, but I can try. Upside down on the couch is one way, maybe.

  10. Elisabeth says:

    Smiling through tears here in the rainy Willamette valley. Even the sky is crying. Remembering beloveds who have gone on ahead. Weren’t we lucky to have had them in our lives?
    Big hug to you and the guy you live with.
    Ps love that picture of you Mani.

  11. tonytomeo says:

    Perhaps dogs are fortunate that they need not live long enough to lose many of their people. I know that my losses have been unbearable, but they are more bearable than losing someone who was supposed to be there for the rest of my life, or at least until a reasonable age.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, true. When Slipper died, though, Chess was right there by his side, on the patio, and then rode in the car, guarding his first cousin and buddy, on the last trip. Slipper was not even ten years old and died 364 days after Cindy died. The guy I live with says I am a worthy successor to Chess, but that I bark at squirrels too much and I track more mud onto the carpet. (Terrific thunderstorm last night with half an inch of rain. Storms at night used to be very rare in Denver but not any more.)

  12. Nell Lancaster says:

    We had a terrific thunderstorm this afternoon, too, with chickpea-sized hail (very unusual here). Blessedly minimal damage from hail, but the big winds and driving rain caused half of the most productive crabapple down front to split off and fall. The deer who rely on it as a summer treat are going to be disappointed, further increasing the pressure on the garden.

    Can’t afford a fence, and it doesn’t look as if we’re going to get another dog (beloved Diz and Kozzie kept them at bay for many years), so I think I’m just going to have to give up on most of the daylilies inherited from my father– just choose five or so favorites and cage them. Most everything else was planted with an eye to unpalatability. But the garden was designed around the daylilies, so I’m not even going to try to pretend it doesn’t hurt.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, that’s too bad. We have had a few hailstorms which destroyed a lot of plants in the garden. We don’t have deer, but we certainly have rabbits. The guy I live with says that some people say that some of the anti-deer sprays work pretty well; the sprays don’t have icky chemicals in them. He sometimes uses Rabbit Stopper, which is fairly effective, for rabbits, anyway.

  13. Thinking of you and of her, as I often do, and as you know, I wish I had known her, even if just online.

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