It’s my dad’s birthday today. He passed away when I was 15 and although I visited him from time to time, I barely knew him. From what I could tell, he seemed to love me. The fact that’s even a statement seems odd. What’s more ironic is the fact that my youngest son looks just like him. He is my constant reminder of him. Perhaps the love and affection he provides somehow transcends what once seemed lost. Go figure my son’s name is Phoenix. Happy Birthday Dad.
I have a beloved 12 year old Beagle/Chihuahua mix named Frisco. Conversations as of late with my sister have consisted of what we are going to do when this little guy crosses that rainbow bridge. While we probably are thinking prematurely as he still has a few more years ahead, since he is a crossbreed and stays indoors (both of which lengthen lifespan) it doesn’t hurt to think ahead. Named after my birth city San Francisco, Frisco has been my main lil guy through thick and thin. Honestly, he has been the most consistent man in my life over the last 12 years. Sad, but true. Not so sad because his unconditional love is probably what has made me into the strong woman I am today. True story. When we first brought him home my sister also spent time with him by bringing him to her home for about a week as a puppy and then every now and then when he got older which has bonded the two of them.
Anyway, back to our conversation about what would become of him once he passed, although it makes me tear every time I even think about it. My sister and I have decided that we will have him for lack of a better word, stuffed. At first thought the only word that comes to mind when I think of taxidermy is morbid. Then I start to think about it a little more then all of the sudden it makes perfect sense. What better way than to preserve your long time family member. Then I think about it a little more and think how the same could never apply to humans, so why do it to a dog?
Well, we haven’t yet crossed that bridge, or rather he has not so perhaps we will have to wait and see if we go that route. In the meantime I am going to continue to cherish the time I do have left with him and not think about THAT day until it comes. Love you Frisco Baby.
This post was written almost one year ago and simply sat in my drafts. I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t ready to discuss it just yet or if it was because of how exposed it made me feel. Flash forward one year from when it was written and three years after the surrogacy and now I’m finally ready, I think.
I actually contemplated such a personal post. My sister said that it may be positive to share my experience and vent. So here goes.
It’s been almost two years since I was a surrogate for a couple that I had met through a law office that specialized in this service for couples and surrogates. I was referred by a friend who had already signed up with this law office and decided to give it a try. The screening process was somewhat lengthy and involved many blood tests, psychological tests, interviews and questions galore. After the screening was completed and I was officially deemed not crazy (true story), we continued onto the next steps. After a few months and once test results came back normal I was matched with a couple. Everything seemed too good to be true when it came to how normal and loving they seemed. The couple had been unsuccessful due to their own personal issues and I felt more than willing to provide them with a baby of their own. They seemed so genuine and we simply clicked as if we had known each other for years.
Shortly after contracts were signed, medications began and two months later the embryo transfer took place. All seemed to be successful, so we thought. I was what you called a gestational surrogate, where the sperm and embryo from the parents was transferred. A few ultrasounds later and almost halfway through the pregnancy, some complications arose. Not only was there a problem with the umbilical artery in which there was only one versus two present, but genetic tests revealed an missing chromosome which would result in a rare genetic condition. Close to the halfway point and already feeling the baby moving, the couple was faced with a serious decision. Needless to say, the pregnancy was terminated and the act itself left me changed forever. When I signed the contract, I understood the possibility of it coming to this, however I never truly envisioned that it would become a reality. Previously I loved hearing the happy stories of surrogates and even know a few that had a wonderful experience. I was even willing to try a second time with the surroparents, however, I was informed by the law office handling the case that they would not be moving forward with me because it was too difficult of a reminder of what happened. This experience left me discouraged and especially disappointed. That too-good-to-be-true relationship turned cold and seemed more like a transaction gone awry versus the loss of a life. Tears were shed on both sides, but it left me feeling empty and tossed aside after no longer being needed.
Long story short, it was a life lesson. In trying to give someone the gift of life I was then faced with having to end one, I believe that a part of myself died that day.
What became of the surrogates? They were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I have been fortunate to be able to move on from this life changing event and it opened my eyes to more than I had expected. Not everyone has the same values in life and now I realize my naivety in thinking that. Sometimes things are not meant to be and this was one of them.
…I’d like to know why time goes by slower than freakin’ molasses?!
Let’s just say that the last two days have been dragging arse kinda like walking behind seniors on senior night at Hometown Buffet. No offense to seniors or Hometown because I love them both (well not-so-much Hometown but the kids love it).
It seems that the various stages of grief like to visit me randomly throughout the day. According to several online self-help grief websites, the numbers vary from 5 to 7, but nevertheless, they have been ever present. A not-so-welcome hello! to Denial, Anger, Disbelief, Bargaining and Acceptance. Well actually I don’t mind the visit from acceptance but I feel like a bouncing ball. Going back and forth with my emotions while at the drop of a hat (like when a memory of Angel pops in my mind) my smile fades and I become an inconsolable waterfall. Even driving around town makes my face turn sour just thinking about where he may have been running for hours and hours. I have decided that I need to focus on the good times, fun memories and most of all be positive. Rather than be sad that he’s gone, I am doing my best (though easier said than done) to be happy that he was a part of our lives and brought so much happiness these past three and a half years.
C’mon hourglass, run your course. Until then, positive thoughts and maybe a few woosahs here and there.
A beautiful sunset reserved for a few,
A breathtaking horizon brings life anew,
Caressed by nature’s touch,
You float through the land,
Touching our lives, with heavy hearts,
We reach for your hand,
A slight breeze whisks through the air,
As your face fades away,
We hold on tight to the memories,
That forever will stay,
The impression you left in our hearts it burns bright,
You are now amongst the stars and brighten the night,
The happiness you brought was by far the most pure,
Such unconditional love,
Stronger than one heart could endure,
Strength shall guide me through my days,
With cherished moments so content,
You were indeed my Angel,
Now I know you were heaven sent.
It’s hard to sleep knowing our Angel is gone. I woke up this morning at 3 am and could only feel so much regret. Regret for not doing more. Regret for not looking somewhere else and going out longer. Regret for not shouting his name and just perhaps he would have heard me and come running. I close my eyes and can imagine him being out running, scared to death of the loud sounds and wish I was there to save him. No matter how many deaths in a family one has experienced, the pain is still piercing and it has left my heart empty yearning for a different outcome. I think that in life in general one should not do things halfway. Do everything to the fullest and that way when you look back you can say that you exhausted all options and that “regret” can gtfo. Apologies for the acronym slang but if I could change my actions I would. Even if it meant driving around all night, it would have been worth it if it meant holding onto hope and having faith that he could have been found. Rest in paradise my Angel, it’s been only a day and Mommy misses you so very much.
In previous years, I had known that the 4th of July was a terrible day for pets in general. At around 7:30 pm, we closed the front door, leaving our two boys at home while we headed to watch the fireworks at the beach. Little did we know that our lab/catahoula mix, Angel, would not be found when we returned home at 11:00 pm. Our other dog ran out to greet us as we opened the door, but no Angel. Immediately, I drove around the area while my eldest brought the little ones inside and got them ready for bed. Our boys had wandered before, but they always found their way back and never ventured too far from home. After 1:30 am, I called it quits and went to bed praying to hear some good news in the morning. I look back and wish that I would have kept driving around, but he had two contact numbers on his collar and he was micro-chipped.
The next morning, we received a call that no pet owner ever wants to receive. Angel’s body was found in the middle of the 101 freeway northbound and he was gone. I was at work when I received the news and the tears began to flow. My poor Angel baby was so scared and probably just wanted to make it home, but got lost along the way. My heart sank. I called Cal-trans and they told me that they received a phone call regarding a dog on the side of the freeway and then contacted us after finding our numbers on his collar. Having never experienced such a tragedy, I had no idea what to do. They asked if I wanted them to bring him to me and if they should bag him. I broke down crying and explained that I did not know what I was supposed to do. I had no clue whatsoever. They came and brought him to my daughter and I and we simply tried to comprehend what was happening. It was so surreal and unbelievable to see his body. The rigor mortis had already begun to set in and we could see the blood around his head where the blunt force trauma took place. We brought him to the pet hospital in order to say our goodbyes at the end of the day.
As I was driving back to work in order to wrap some things up before taking the day off, I saw a dog crossing the middle of the street without an owner. With tears already streaming down my face, I slowed down and put on my hazards while pulling over to the side where the dog was. While looking around, I tried to find where the owner was. I honestly chuckled to myself and thought, “Is this really happening?” The dog began to walk into the middle of the street and I then jumped out and began to go after her with traffic slowing down on all three sides. Someone shouted to me and asked if that was my dog and I replied, “No, but my dog didn’t make it today, so I’m making sure this one does.”
There are many unanswered questions surrounding what happened, such as how did he get out? Why didn’t my other dog follow him as he usually does? Could someone have opened our door by accident considering we live in an apartment complex? Why did we not see him on any of the complex cameras? How long was he lost for? If someone had reported a stray dog, would that have changed the outcome?
Nothing can change what happened last night, but I know that one person’s actions of simply reporting seeing him would have given me some kind of lead. I had contacted the police department in order to report him lost and provided a description and my phone number. They said if any sightings were made with his description that they would call. Our family said our good-byes and my little ones grieved in different ways. My six-year-old was extremely emotional while the two younger ones were more quiet. They said that he was sleeping and simply stroked his head and said good-bye to him. When I first broke the news to my six-year-old while driving to pick up the other ones, he seemed okay. He simply said that it was okay because all we needed was some lightning and he would be fine (like Frankenweenie). With all the tears that had been shed, the innocence that children possess can make a grim situation shine just a little bit brighter.
While we may not be able to prevent dogs from getting lost in general, there should be something that we can do to promote awareness of animals that are seen wandering. The 4th of July has to be hands down the worst holiday for pet owners as many pets are extremely frightened of the loud noises and sounds going off randomly. In a conversation with my sister, I explained how I wished someone would have called it in that there was a dog wandering. I could tell by his paws that he had been running for quite sometime before his untimely death. Her response was, “I wouldn’t even know who to call.” That is exactly what needs to change. Awareness of what to do and a little kindness can go a long way. I’ve always believed that one person has more power than you would think to believe, but it’s true. Reporting sightings of wandering dogs may not save them all, but perhaps it may save just one and prevent the heartbreak that our family now has to endure. He was not just a pet, but rather a member of our family. The children shared many special times with him and he meant the world to us. Angel’s memory will live on and we will remember him everyday that we raise awareness to others in knowing what to do when they see a wandering pet. Today we lost a family member, but I also saved another family’s “Angel.”
You are always in our hearts my baby boy Angel. We love you.