My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jury Duty

Yesterday I was summoned for Jury Duty.  While, I wasn't thrilled to be going, I took the day off work to perform my civic duty.  Turned out there were approximately 50 to 60 of us there.  I found that to be an unusually large number.  After a brief orientation we were all directed to an upstairs courtroom wherein was the Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Lawyer and the Defendant.  The Defendant was a fairly young man and just above his collared shirt I could see he had some sort of tattoo on his neck.  I am not against tattoos, I just think on your neck is a little extreme and, yes, in my preconceived notion, indicates trouble. The Judge read the synopsis of the case.  It was a murder case.  This young man was accused of murdering another man.

My mind began to wonder.  How old was the man he allegedly murdered?  Was the murder victim married?  Is there as widow hoping and praying for some sort of justice? Although, I know justice will not stop her pain or the grief she is feeling.  Did the victim leave behind children? Did the victim have siblings who are now grieving the loss of their brother?  Are the victims parents still alive and if so, how awful for them to have to bury their son.

I then looked at the Defendant and thought how could you? Did you not realize the pain and grief you would inflict on so many people? What about the daughter that won't have her father to give her away at her wedding or the elderly parent who won't have their son to help them as they age? What about the sibling who will forever be changed by the death of their brother.  The widow.  I couldn't get the thought of another widow, forever changed, and struggling to once again gain just a pebble of normalcy to her life.  I was disgusted by the sight of him there in dress slacks, dress shirt and tie; a style of clothing I was sure he had never worn in his life.

My thoughts were interrupted by the Judge saying they had preselected 27 jurors, and of those 16 would be hearing the case.  He began calling names and one by one they were directed to the juror box to be seated.  "Juror #4, Sandra Webb."  Oh hell!  They obviously don't know what has been going through my head.  I had already convicted this "kid". I was already sympathetic to the victim's family. Rather, the family that I had created in my head.

I must say that I believe in our justice system.  I believe everyone deserves a fair trial by a jury of their peers.  It pains me when I hear of people wrongly accused and convicted only to, years later, be found not guilty.  Although, I felt like I was not his peer nor was I in a place to be fair and without bias in this case. When the judge questioned me I explained to him my physical therapy schedule and there was no way I could be to court on time on my therapy days.  I was dismissed.  I was pleased I did not have to explain the thoughts in my head in order to be dismissed.

While I have no doubt that everyone brings their own baggage to a trial, I do wonder how many can actually be impartial and take only the evidence presented into account. Could you set aside your first impressions and your life experiences to be completely impartial?

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Are You? Are You Doing OK?

I hear those questions daily, actually many times a day it seems.  I don't hear them in the usual small talk, passing conversation way.  When I hear them there is pity in the voices. Sometimes it is with genuine concern and I appreciate that.  It is the ones that ask with pity and really don't want to know that bother me. It is when they ask because they feel it is the right thing to say, but after asking either move on to something else very quickly or mentally shrink away hoping I say nothing more than "I am fine".

In order to protect my friends and family I always answer, "I am fine".  It is easier for me and easier for them.  It is not a lie every time I answer that way, sometimes I am "fine".  If I am not fine I generally don't want to talk about why.  If I don't talk about my problems it is much safer for me.  By not talking I don't reveal my vulnerabilities and it keeps people at a distance, it keeps them from getting too close to me.  I do have a selected few friends that I confide in and I value their friendship deeply.

I am really a very private person.  This doesn't mean I am not social.  I love getting together with my friends. I spend a large part of my day socializing on twitter. I enjoy my Wednesday dinner out with the girls and as much as I hate to admit it, I love hearing the gossip. I am not a gossiper myself, but I am a listener. I can listen to people talk for hours. I will join in the conversation, but my preference is listening.  If one truly listens to people talk you will learn many things about that person.

I think this is what attracts me to blogging.  I can put my thoughts, feelings, ideas out for everyone to see without having to discuss it.  I get positive feedback through comments here or on Twitter and I am sure there have been some who come to visit and click off because they don't like what I have to say and I am good with that.  If we all agreed what a boring place this world would be.

So next time you ask me how I am doing and my answer is "Fine" I may or may not be telling the truth. Often times the true answer can be found in my blog or my twitter timeline.  With me, instead of listening closely you just might need to read between the lines.  The answer is here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

RIP Shiner

Late Friday night after not eating his dinner Shiner became very ill.  This was somewhat common for him and at first I wasn't concerned.  I watched him for a bit and got him to eat a scrambled egg, which usually helped.  This time it didn't help and he got worse.  Around 9:00 p.m. I decided to take him to the 24 hour emergency vet.  The moment I got him out of the truck at the vet's office he had a Grand Mal seizure.  I ran into the vet office and screamed for help, immediately there were 4 people at my truck and they quickly scooped Shiner up and ran him into an exam room.  I stayed out front to fill out paperwork.  They gave him medication to stop the seizure and a muscle relaxer.  The vet suggested blood work and that he stay overnight in the event of another seizure.  I agreed, but my concern was that once I left I would not see him alive again.  I said my goodbyes to him just in case and headed home knowing that he was in good hands in the event of more seizures.

I had not been home for 30 minutes when the vet called. She had the result of his blood work.  I really don't remember exactly what she said because as she was explaining his ailment I was quickly coming to the realization that I would be putting him down.  It wasn't diabetes but it did have something to do with his blood sugar, pancreas and his brain.  His blood sugar drops so low, so quickly that it affects his brain and causes seizures.  In order to stop the seizures he would have to be fed every hour around the clock and even then he might still have seizures.  With his history of being a picky eater and just not caring much about food I knew that was impossible.  Not to mention the fact that I could NEVER be away from him for more than an hour, or sleep for more than an hour at a time at night. I stopped her before she finished the explanation and said "So, I really should just put him down?" she said, "That would be the humane thing to do". I got back in my truck and headed back to the vet.

I knew losing Shiner was going to be hard on me.  He was TJ's first dog, other than family dogs, and they were inseparable.  TJ took him to work with him every day and during TJ's illness Shiner barely left his side.  He was even by TJ's side when he passed.  Every time I looked at Shiner I saw a little bit of TJ in him.  It was like losing TJ all over again.

I would be remiss if I didn't thank my twitter friend and fellow widow, Boo, for being there with me (in spirit at least).  She may be in the UK, but I felt as though she was right there with me the whole time.

For those that aren't familiar with the breed, Shiner was an Australian Cattle Dog, also called Queensland Heeler. They are very popular in the western United States. They are generally either Red Heelers or Blue Heelers, but Shiner was what they called Tri-Color, which is very unique. TJ did such a great job of training him we could take him anywhere. He got to go in restaurants, bars, hardware stores and various other places. Very rarely did we go out of town without Shiner.

Once, when TJ had gone on our roof to repair something Shiner literally climbed a ladder to be up there with him.  I had turned my back and didn't see it, but I did hear TJ yelling, "Sandy! Why the hell is Shiner up here with me!?"  Getting him down proved to be quite difficult as he was scared.  I sure wish I would have seen him climb that ladder.

 Rest In Peace Shiner.  I will miss you more than anyone knows.

No louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast, when husbands or lap-dogs breathe their last. ~ Alexander Pope