Category Archives: Depression

A voice in cyberspace resonates at Blyss

Once again in a most unexpected way it is  words from a stranger on Facebook that someone shared to my feed that has caused me to take pause and reevaluate my psychological  outlook and my interpretation of the most painful events of my life that have transpired starting in childhood, culminating with the death of my last borzoi in 2019.  It was a long run on tragedies and I have been beaten down by them, almost to nothing yet am very physically strong and resilient  beyond anything one should expect to be able to do.   Yet here I am still standing if not shattered and shaken to my core.   How sad it is to have had to live through these tribulations, most of which were unnecessary.  I was not alone in my misery, it was due to profound parental dysfunctionality resulting in our suffocation, and all of my siblings endured the pain with me, none coming out any better for the experience.  It threw us into odd directions as adults, along tangents that  could never intersect, leaving us lonely and alone forever.  My joy was my borzoi, given to  me by my husband, Bob in 2002, and the jewel of the kennel was my beloved Opal (Raybo Opalesque of Byss) in January 2005.  I never saw, nor have ever seen, such an exquisite creature, nor loved anything more than I did her, canine or human.   She was the daughter I never had.  My great love was reciprocated in kind and then some.  But perfect bliss was not to be for I am me, and by 19 months she had passed away from a congenital kidney disease and her littermates followed shortly after.  Breeding is not a straight line.  The event took place fourteen and a half years ago but it is like fourteen minutes.  I ruminate, I cry, I grieve, I write, I speak of her and my never failing love and the loss I suffered.  I know it is wrong but I could not help how I felt.  Fourteen  years of grief wrestled me down and I am drowning.  I have almost died of grief related issues by becoming anorexic and having cancer twice in seven years.  Opal wasted and so have I.  I have longed to be where she is.  Life is not livable for me without her.  I needed her spirit to keep me going but it is gone, and has been gone a long time now.  However, I  today I knew I was wrong.  Opal is the best thing I ever had, and the best thing that ever happened to me, according to Elizabeth Ammons, from Lessonslearnedinlife.com.    She writes as follows:

Found in my Facebook feed, December 2, 2020. L.C.

You can shed tears because they are gone, or you can smile because they lived.

You can close your eyes and pray they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind and feel empty, or you can do what they would want.

Smile…. Open your heart…. Love…. And go on.

These are words I need to read, study and hear.  My grief of 14 years diminishes Opal.  I should celebrate her.  Her memoir,  and that of all my borzoi, should bring me joy, not make me wish for my death.  Yes, she is gone, as are they, but in time we will be together again as if no time had separated us.  I must have more faith in destiny.  My ugly childhood is over.  My borzoi loved me unconditionally and gave me back my happiness, or perhaps gave me a measure of happiness I never had.

 

 

A romantic update at Blyss

As I moved along last month, in spite of my desire not to, in order to put myself out of my predictable, future misery, I perceived in the far distance a white flag of peace.  It could almost have been missed it was so remote and brief.  Could it be I see the words in a text message after a month of deafening silence, apologizing and wishing to return to my love?  Yes, the very same lover who melted down and disappeared when  I needed him and his love and strength the most…..   But that was then and this is now…..  Could I forgive him, he asked…..  I replied there was nothing to forgive, please come back.

It would not be what many would have done, but I cannot be lead around like a cow in a herd.  I take the risks, the unwise endeavors, the degrading gestures, show my tears, bear my breasts.  It does not matter if it is a borzoi or a lover.  Love is love for me.  Once I love, it will not end pretty.  Love charges me a huge fee but in spite of being willing to pay the price I often lose my investment.

But today, he has returned, transformed as if by magic, to the lover he was before he was seized by his own rage and exited the scene, not even knowing why or where he was going.   His journey took him back to me.  I love him unconditionally, like my borzoi, and took him back.  He is my Adorable One, my Little Rock Star, since we spend so much time watching YouTube videos and he knows so much about 1960s British invasion rock music and the derivative bands it spawned, not to mention his guitar collection.  I admit I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject myself, although my knowledge of classical music and opera equals it.   We focus on our love and watch the music videos and rock documentaries of the musicians, amazing how  many there are, and just escape our pain for the laughter hat comes from silly things.   Someday, one of us will die first, and will leave the other shattered and heartbroken.  Until then, we are blissfully in love.  We are happy to share our joy with Kensie, although I know how much we are missing by not having a pair of borzoi to watch over things here.  He does not get it though, and I  believe it would be, how shall I say, “Too, too much…..”.  Fortunately, Kensie does a wonderful job behaving just like a borzoi, and that is a very nice, endearing quality of hers.

For a year that commenced in a very bad way, a year that saw COVID-10 descend upon the Human Race and kill hundreds of thousands of people, well over 220,000 Americans, I can look back on it and see stars against the black background.

At Blyss, at home, everywhere: walking to death.

I feel like  how a dog from the past must have felt trying to enter England, in a long, seemingly endless quarantine.  But no, I am a human being in the USA and I never left home.  I just cannot go out anywhere safely.  To be safe, I must stay home and be alone.  However, walking around town is allowed if safe social distancing of six feet is maintained.  Still, that does not satisfy my never ending gnawing need for intimacy.  With so much time on my hands and because I am so good at procrastinating leaving my lawn not mowed and my flower beds not weeded, I have decided to write on my blog at Blysskennels.us tonight.  I have been procrastinating writing on my Blog, too, showing how bad I have really been and how low my spirits have sunk.

Walking to Death

April 7, 2020

I am told it is a remedy, but tell me,

What is it that I see on my walks that makes for improvement?

It began in mid March and now it is early April.  Hateful spring.

No one knows when it will end.  It could be a very long time from now.

Although it remains cold and windy from winter,

I see there are splashes of color now: yellows and pinks, from flowering bushes and trees,

Breaking through.  I contemplate them.  They bring a hope or sorts

Having seen only grey, dark branches for so long that appeared to be dead.

It was an illusion, I thought, that this was a death of the flora, on the shrubs, on the flowering trees, and especially on the mountain.

Do I see a tiny splash of green there?  I am not sure…..

I know it will be there soon,

And then there will be the miracle of  tiny white Dogwood blossoms scattered among the green

Where they were once abundant…before their own virus came for them.

We live in the day of viruses, and all we can do is walk to death.

Walk them off, walk them away,

Walk them until we tire, walk them until we die.

Walk them with our children, walk them with our dogs,

Walk them with our friends, with our fathers, with our mothers and with our lovers.

How can there be so many places to walk to and so many places to walk from,

And learn so many people’s stories along the way that don’t do anyone any good

For each and every one has one, a story that is

And not about the virus that always lurks behind us now taking souls away.

 

A new life and second chance at Blyss, snatched from the jaws of death

It is October 2020, and one month ago, I faced three harrowing challenges alone.

The first occurred five weeks ago.  A significant other, someone I thought I could love and trust, created an  ugly scene over seemingly nothing, and walked out suddenly, without any explanation that made sense to me.  My emotional makeup makes the acceptance of events like this virtually impossible without intense emotional pain.

A day later, and one week prior to the separation, I had to take Kensie to Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, NJ for a series of comprehensive tests.  She appeared to be “fading” for lack of a better word, being lethargic, feverish and not eating.  It appeared that at that rate, she could have died.  I wanted to address this prior to my own upcoming health challenge.  Fortunately, all of her tests were normal, adding to the mystery of what was wrong with her.  I had to confess that my intense relationship with my boyfriend had resulted in a diminishment of my attention to her, and she was acting out.  Since the boyfriend left the day prior to the visit to the vet, it was almost immediately that she returned to the old Kensie I knew before.  Only now I notice how very clingy and needy she is emotionally.  She came to me in late January, and due to COVID-19, she was accustomed to having me all to herself.  Apparently, she liked it that way.

The third event occurred exactly four weeks ago.  I had been given a diagnosis of lung cancer and I underwent a surgical procedure to remove the lower lobe of my left lung.  Coupled with the emotional trauma of the precipitous separation of the previous week and the crisis regardingf Kensie’s health, I struggled painfully and long to recover.

We all have our little crises, canines and humans alike, over how we want our love, over how much we want, over how much we need, and over what happens to us when we lose it. The boyfriend ran out of the house in a seemingly fabricated rage over a bad case of nerves.   Kensey felt she lost my love.   And I was in terror over a cancer diagnosis.  It brought out the worse in us all.

As I hate to be alone more than anything in the world, having my borzoi, and now Kensie my Silken Windhound, is essential.  But I do not do so well outside of a relationship with a significant other, either.  But I cannot “fix” that problem as easily as buying a dog.  In fact,  it is in the hands of destiny regarding how it will be resolved.  I have learned I cannot do very much about it. If there were a personal God, He would have had mercy on me long ago having tired of my repetitious prayers and Novenas.   He would have found and sent me the man who truly loved me, free of abuse and abandonment.  But there is no such man  Today,  I walk alone through the maelstroms of bizarre challenges and events that mar my life like a scar.   For they are challenges and events He has put in my life.   Therefore,  I must live them alone but gratefully, with Kensie, today.  For we are partners in recovery from the brink of death.

Another day: Blyss Kennels values for “New World for the USA”

Here we are now, in new days for our country and the world.  It’s  been about three weeks now, and it still feels all wrong.  Many people have a point and are right, even though they have opposing view points.  Many people have died, many unfairly.  Any life lost to violence is a sorrow and pains me deeply.  Life is to be cherished and celebrated.  Every person is a members of the human family, and one person’s joy is all of our joy, as another person’s sorrow is all of our sorrow. Living together in harmony, sparing the use of defamation and striving for consensus is how  people should come together to resolve differences.  The current American President fails to accomplish these skills that could “unite” the multitudinous masses that comprise America and  disparate points of view, thereby only deepening the divisiveness growing dangerously wide in America.  Even Generals and great military men of our day are apologizing for showing unity with their Commander in Chief, which he accomplished.  He wanted a photo op of himself holding a bible – it was upside down by the way – in front of St. John’s National Cathedral where he does not worship – which he got.  It had the effect of boomeranging on him, making him look evil.  Where does this stop, I ask you?

If you are me, it stops in gardens, working in them, on them, or  simply admiring them.  It also includes  surrounding yourself with a pack of really huge and gorgeous dogs, like, did I say borzoi?  So, in January, I bought a Silken Windhound, although I really wanted another pair of borzoi.  It is she, Kensie, who makes visits to formal gardens or fields of wildflowers, or in expansive meadows, or taking long walk together on winding roads that were once forests on the side of a  mountain  and probably should have stayed that way, even though I have lived here on four of those separate roads over the past 70 years.  I also cheat by thinking I make new friends by getting into impromptu conversations with people who complement Kensie on these walks because of her exquisite and unusual beauty.  I did not plan to get another dog after my last borzoi, Jelly, died last May.

Today, suffering permeates into the invisible fiber of society, unable to be seen.  And, it is just not “there” to be observed by voyeuristic people who want to watch others suffer because it energizes them. The voyeurs will suffer, too.  No one will be truly energized by this suffering because it is 100% toxic.  Like the COV-19 virus, it is in our DNA now and it will take no prisoners.  No one is  free of it.  Moreover, as  the current, elected President fails to represent his people, Americans, nature hates a vacuum, and a charismatic leader will emerge to correct that mistake.  I tremble.

I conclude we need our animals,  wild flower meadows, and our gardens more than ever today!  However,  there was a time when grand words were written and sung by those of  my generation, and they may speak to us today.  Let me share a ballad written in honor of a true peace music festival, written by a Canadian song writer of the highest caliber, Joni  Mitchell and sung by her closest friends, David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, and Niel Young, also a Canadian.

Woodstock.

… We are stardust, we are golden

We are fifty year old carbon

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Maybe it is the time of year

Maybe it is the time of man

I don’t know who I am but life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden

We are fifty year old carbon

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong

Everywhere there was song and celebration

And I thought I saw the bombers turning shot gun in the sky

And they were turning into butterflies about our nation.

… We are stardust, we are golden

We are fifty year old carbon

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Joni Mitchell.

 

Another Interruption caused by TCM when I had things to do…..

I have been very busy these days after months of lethargy and depression catching up with work that had been put aside.  When the weather become warm, I want to start gardening and taking care of the lawn outdoors.  I need to be very disciplined however I can be most tempted to stray when a film I truly love comes on the schedule for  Turner Classic Movies.  Last night, when I should have been sleeping, the movie scheduled was among my top 5, Splendor in the Grass, directed by Elia Kazan, starring a very young Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, made in 1961.  Another lifetime ago, I may add.  I know I can write volumes about this movie and why Iike it so much, but now is not the time.  I will say, even having seen it a dozen times, each viewing is as new and raw and shocking as was the first time.  It is difficult to watch the growing pains of two young people who love each other trying to do the right thing while everyone around them is acting badly and the world as they know it is undergoing profound social changes, even in the Nebraska heartland.  And yes, it is excruciatingly painful to watch them as they come undone and become unrecognizable people from whom they were at the beginning of the story.  Together, once so close, they launch their adult lives in such different places, determined not to think much about happiness anymore, and say a simple good by before setting off apart.

As actors, the careers of Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty exploded with stardom and success, including Oscars.  It is always a joy to watch their films, each one so different yet rewarding.  They talents are boundless.  Natalie was taken far too prematurely with a tragedy that defied all logic, as if it were part of the plot of the movie she was making.  It never added up to me……  But the death of a great movie star usually does not.  They never really die.  The movies and the stars I love so much share my heart with the dogs and the horse I have loved so much.  I am so grateful for the technology that enables us to watch, rent or stream virtually any movie we want to watch almost anytime for a very small amount of money.  They are my companions in loneliness.

Kensie arrives at Blyss

I have endured much since Jelly’s death nine months ago, trying to accept my decision not to acquire another dog, or at least not another borzoi.  It has been a long time to be alone and unhappy, and I will admit to having made some grave mistakes.  They were followed by a very difficult period of serious health problems, more than one, but not excluding a worsening of a depression.  I sought relief where I had done so before, with my physicians, and it was agreed that the time might be right to consider bringing another dog into my life but a breed other than a borzoi.  After much consideration,  I decided to acquire a beautiful Silken Windhound from Mary Childs of Wind ‘n Satin Kennels in Ohio.  She is a long time borzoi breeder, and active, life time member of the Borzoi Club of America.  In recent years she has taken to breeding Silken Windhounds.  When she learned I was interested in acquiring one, she contacted me.  She  happened to have the most perfect individual in her kennel for me, a four-and-a-half-year old bitch, a Grand Champion who had recently whelped a litter and was ready to place in a regular home.  After the sharing of some  photos, it was confirmed that this perfect angel would come to Blyss.  Her name is Kensie.  Immediately upon her arrival, Kensie knew what she was there for, and that I was her person.  She never whimpered or looked back, she never uttered a sound of disturbance or complaint, or put a foot wrong.  She simply adored me upon entering my home as if she knew she had a reason to be there, mainly being to heal my broken heart.

Passing Days at Blyss without Jelly

I will say life is unbearable here without Jelly.  I am acutely aware that this is all so deja vue.  I am taken back almost thirteen years to the death of Opal.  This is definitely familiar territory, and not terrain one would want to visit again any time soon.

But if I am devastated, Jelly’s darling dog walker is destroyed.  She stopped by today weeping, asking why I put her down when I did, and why I did not wait, saying she would have taken over the payment of the continued veterinary bills.  This would not have been feasible, given this woman’s financial situation.  Still, I know she would have done it……  there is no limit to the kindness of some people, and she is that kind of person.  And Jelly was the kind of dog that would bring it out in someone.  A man who accompanied her on her walks with Jelly with his dog was equally devastated and burst into uncontrollable sobs when he heard the news.  I decided to go to The Scouting Field in the Watchung Reservations to be with them today, and joined them on a hike to the Deserted Village.  I had not done this in several years, probably not since I broke my shoulder walking Tresor three years ago.   Jelly loved this daily outing with them, and they told me of her many exploits out on the trail and all the fun she had.  I felt she was there with us, and not only Jelly but all the Blyss borzoi, especially Opal, whose image kept flashing before my eyes during this long and rather arduous venture for me.  For the longer I had Jelly, the more she melded into  Opal, and the more I felt that Opal  had returned, and that she had never left me.   I had had her with me all these years.  Recently, with this new found knowledge,  I  felt blissfully happy, happier than I had been in years.  Then, she was gone.  So now, I am grieving again for Opal, too.  I feel that every time I reached out and touched Jelly, I was touching something God-like, something beyond reality, and it transformed me into something beyond what I was, something greater, better, beyond anything I could ever be myself.  Because of them, Jelly and Opal, especially, but all the Blyss borzoi, I was a better person.  Their innate goodness made me good.  I bought this beautiful cottage eight years ago for my four borzoi.  Now they are all gone.   Now, I  am alone, and I will be alone forever.  It is as if they died, and I died with them.  My beautiful house has become a hollow tomb.  And I am still here I it, and I don’t know why.

 

Thinking about the things that be for Blyss Kennels without The Tre

Yesterday, my club, Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, held a Supported Entry at the New Brunswick Kennel Club show at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, NJ.  We got 22 borzoi to enter, and it included Sweepstakes classes.  Many long time showing friends from the club and the nearby clubs were there, showing their new puppies.  Jelly’s breeder was supposed to be there but changed her mind at the last minute and stayed home.  I was disappointed to lose the chance to see her but she has invited me to come up again another day.

There were those surprise conversations one finds they are having with others at a dog show that really stand out.  A woman and I, a woman whom I respect and whom I have seen so many times, actually took the time to have a brief conversation that proved to be very profound.  She knew all about Tresor and his recent death.  She told me she thought he was one of most spectacular borzoi she had ever seen.   That was a huge complement coming from her.  She works for Karen (Mikhailya’s breeder, & my litter’s co-breeder).  It’s interesting how dog people in the category of peers or friends say things like that to me, but from the breeders, there is a wall of silence.  Even about Magnus and Lucy.  Like it never even happened.  I guess that is how they feel about me a lot of the time:  Oh, her, like she never even happened.

When Tresor took his last breath, the last puff of happiness left my life and it is not coming back any time soon.  My Tre, My Boy, My Heart, My Love.  How could you go and leave me here without you?

A Blyss missive

It is bad enough an 8 1/2 year littermate of Tresor’s, Magnus, died in August.  Recently, one of Jelly’s littermates, “Giselle”, died, breaking her owners heart.  Because I do the Sunshine role for Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, I sent her owner, a member, a sympathy card.  Although it was several weeks ago, she called me sometime in the last day or two.  I just received the voicemail message.  Although she is devastated, she expressed her condolences to me for my loss of Tresor.  Following is my response.  I hope it helps her.

****************************************************

I hope you are doing well.  I wanted to acknowledge that I received your voicemail.  Thank you for reaching out to me.  Like yourself, my heart is broken.  Tresor was from the only litter I will ever get to breed.  He was a rare, unique dog for me, one I will love forever and always grieve for.  Sadly, their time with us is brief so when they go they take our broken hearts with them.  Let’s try to find joy in the borzoi they have left behind.
                                 ******************************************************
A few weeks ago, I sent a note to a very prominent man in the breed, the former Governor of Region I, Borzoi Club of America, and told him I had lost Tresor.  He is now the new President of the Borzoi Club of America.  He took the time out to write back to me.  The correspondence follows.

12/14/2017

To R—-,

Dear R—, I just thought, as a friend, I wanted to let you know I had to let my boy, Tresor, go the other day. He presented with an abdominal hematoma and at nine years of age the vet felt he would not do well with surgical intervention & would not be buying very much time if he survived an operation.

Of course I feel horrible since we only got to breed one litter & he was our only dog from it. Sometimes I wonder how we do what we do when the pain of losing them is so great. But we do it for love….at least I do. Bob & I loved him so much and we never doubted his love for us in return. Tresor was a great dog to own & love.

Kind regards

Lorene

 

12/15/17

To me,

I’m sorry to hear your sad news. Yes, it is a wonder we do what we do. That’s why we shower them with love while we have them.

Try and enjoy the holidays and cherish the memories.