Olivia

"RED",   24"x36",    1995,    oil on panel

"RED", 24"x36", 1995, oil on panel

 

I dropped my dog last night.

Her name is Olivia and she is a 10 lb.  (obese, says the vet)  chihuahua.

Dropping glasses, a fork, soap?  Sure.   Goes with the normal MS day of ‘less-than-perfect’ behavior of my body.

But my beloved dog… no.

It happened in the midst of a dinner party I gave.   It was time to get dinner on the table.  I reached down to pick her up to reassure her that all these people were ok and she was still safe with me.

And I dropped her on her side.

She screamed and cried noises I had never heard.  She is a rescue dog and submissive but no baby.

I took her to my bedroom and made a cave for her with my chest and arms and whispered as she cried and trembled and seemed so out of her body and not connected to me.

Two friends came back to check on us and I asked them to see if they could find her treats and bring them to me.

Somehow- she perked up.   Re-integrated at the sight of food  (don’t we all?)    and carried on like a champ for the rest of the evening.   She stayed close and was quiet but wagged her butt like she does and responded as usual.

This whole thing made me think about trauma.    When I was married, we went to a therapist for some guidance.   He asked me what I really needed.   I said: ” I’d like Steven to put his hand on my heart for ten minutes.”  Steven did this and I burst into tears.    I scared him.  He didn’t know what to do.   He took his hand away.

All of us have stored trauma.  Not a one of us escapes.  How are we to help heal one another if we have not the tolerance for our own trauma?  Because that is what happened to my husband.   He saw something that was too close to his own scars;  still very secret and in the shadows so he could not have the tolerance for mine when it surfaced.

My experience with my dog last night let me see how fully I could be with her pain.   Because she is a rescue dog,  I can never know the truth of the time I wasn’t there.  All I can do is turn every cell toward her when something activates an old hurt and she shows me the damage done to her in the past.   Last night, I saw that I had done my work well.   I’ve plumbed my depths and faced the shadows and because of that,  NOW I CAN LOVE WELL.   I’m not saying that I didn’t hurt my dog because I did.   What I saw,  though,  was that her reaction was a combination of her history and the present hurt.   

Today we are going to the river to play and let it take us….

comments

2 Responses to “Olivia”

  1. Dan Green on June 21st, 2009

    Cathy,
    I am so glad that my brother recommended your website to me! You are a gifted and inspired soul. Your art and your artfullness with words is truly
    a gift to any one who visits your website.
    In your honest, clear approach to your life and circumstances you impart your wisdom to those of us lucky enough to have found you here.
    May your journey continue to be filled with insightful moments that you can share with us.
    Peace, purpose, and light

    Dan

  2. Diane J Standiford on October 21st, 2009

    I second Dan. The art on your blog is beautiful and powerful.

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