Friday was my birthday, but I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. Earlier in the week I’d had to put down my beloved dog Leroy. I felt like my heart had been ripped out, stomped on and then thrown back in my body.
Being so emotionally exhausted, I had totally forgotten that I had a brain scan scheduled. My Neurologist, a handsome Euro-Chic man who wears the most gorgeous Italian loafers, told me six months ago that if my aneurysm grew at all he would have to perform a procedure called “coiling” to keep it from bursting.
The funny thing is that when you already have a terminal illness and you’ve endured difficult treatments, finding out that you have a brain aneurysm really isn’t so bad. LOL. As long as the Neurologist didn’t have to open up my head during the procedure – and with coiling you don’t have to – then I was fine with it all.
But by Friday afternoon it all started feeling like it was just too much. Cancer + euthanizing my dog + brain aneurysm = bullsh*t! So to celebrate the fact that my life was completely ridiculous, I bought myself a giant chocolate cake. My partner does not eat sweets – how is that even possible?! – which meant more cake for me, yay! One of the wonderful things about my partner is that he allows me and encourages me to just be myself. He understood that I had to grieve the loss of Leroy and that I was in no mood for a typical birthday celebration. So he let me binge watch “Nurse Jackie,” while I pounded back white wine and stuffed my face, toddler-style, with cake.
Saturday morning I woke up with cake smeared on my nightgown and mascara on my face. I took all of Leroy’s stuff and threw it in our office/laundry room – the one room in the house which always looks like it has just been bombed. Then I started obsessively cleaning the couch, vacuuming up every last Leroy hair that I could find. I aired out the pillows on the deck, smashing the pillows against each other to rid them of Leroy’s beautiful brindle hair. Beating up on the pillows felt cathartic and the tears started flowing. I cried for the loss of Leroy, whom I had loved fiercely and who had been by my side every minute of my recovery. I cried because there was a very real chance that I would die before my parents and I couldn’t handle breaking their hearts. And I cried thinking about leaving my partner behind and how one day he would probably be with another woman.
Crying felt so damn good, why didn’t I do it more often? Why did I always try to control my emotional reactions? I cut myself another piece of cake and sat outside on the deck, in the cold, surrounded by couch pillows and Leroy’s remaining hairs. Crying + cake = just the kind of birthday celebration that I needed.