My Day in the Arena

Yesterday was a day. In fact, I’d say it was hands down one of the hardest days of my life. Maybe even more so than the day X told me he didn’t love me any more. Who knows. I’ve had a lot of face-down-in-the-mud days lately.

My best bud.

My puppers had been lethargic the day before. I took him to see the vet because something wasn’t right. She thought it was a UTI. We came home. But yesterday morning he was worse. Threw up, went outside, pooped on the deck, then laid down in it. Was panting and drooling severely. I sort of carried/ walked him to the car – he could barely walk. Lifted him in and drove him to the vet instead of to work. As we were walking in, he kind of fell over and hit his head on the wall, then lost control of his bladder. We got in to see our vet right away. He was very concerned and said this was not from the UTI. Cancer or neurological. He took him back to run tests and immediately found the mass in his abdomen under x-ray. They couldn’t tell what the mass was attached to, so he needed surgery to see if it was even possible to remove.

I spent the morning lying on the floor with him while we waited for his surgery. I also called X. He was his dog also, after all, and I was pretty sure, based on the way my vet was prepping me for making end of life decisions, that he wasn’t going to survive this. The call to X didn’t go very well. I haven’t talked to him since he left. And it was incredibly difficult to speak to him.

I discovered that not only is he with B, but they are already living together. It has only been 3 months since he left. I’m pretty sure they’ve lived together for at least a month. What the actual fuck.

The weird thing was, he didn’t really sound like the X I knew. He sounded like a dickhead version of himself. The same cocky swagger in his voice as the last time he was here, gathering his shit and leaving me in the dust. And he still doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong.

The whole situation was surreal and my head felt so foggy. Here I was, on the floor with my dying dog, on the phone with X having the conversation I hadn’t been able to have with him. I felt like I was betraying my dog. So I got off the phone. And just laid with my sweet, sick, scared puppy. I held him, and talked quietly to him and pet him gently for hours. It was super hard for my mind to stay present. I kept thinking of all the worst case scenarios. But I kept telling myself to shift back to him. I smelled the top of his head as I kissed him. And felt his soft fur. I talked to him about all our wonderful memories together. He was totally unresponsive to me. But I have to believe it still comforted him.

He made it out of surgery. The mass was attached to his spleen, which was the best scenario (as opposed to the liver). I hung up the phone with the vet and wept. I called my mom to update her. Then I called X. I told him the update. I also asked if I could tell him something else. I told him I thought it was insane the way he left me without talking to me about his concerns. Without working on things with me. Of all the people in his life, he should have come to me. I said that it’s also insane that he was able to walk away from me and immediately into the arms of another woman. A woman he is already living with. That something is really wrong if he’s okay having caused me the pain he did and is okay diving so quickly into another relationship. I told him I think he needs help and I hope he gets it. He asked me to keep him posted on the dog.

I don’t know what his deal is. But after the conversations I had with him yesterday, I know now, more than ever, that he’s not the man I married. The man I married had more integrity than this. He had empathy and considered his actions and how they affected others. The fact that he’s already living with someone else, a woman who actively pursued him while we were still married, so soon after he left me, shows that he left me a lot longer ago. I can’t tell you how hurtful I find the whole thing. I feel so devastated and alone. And the thought that I might not have Moose with me to get through the next step of this hellish process, I just don’t know if I can do it.

After all of this, I had therapy at 3:00. I hadn’t eaten a thing all day and walked in feeling a bit like a crazy person. I recounted my day, shared all the ways I messed up and said stupid things to X on the phone. I talked about my regrets in the way I responded to the verification that he was really with this woman. I shared how I felt crazy, and I am so fucking tired, and I don’t want to think about this man any more! I cried at the idea that he left me a long time ago.

My therapist, who is awesome, said, “You spent the day in the arena.” She was referencing my hero, Brene Brown, who writes and speaks a lot about this idea of showing up in the arena and struggling our way through. The image comes from a Teddy Roosevelt quote. And man, did I ever feel like the arena kicked my ass yesterday. But here I am today. Alive, all over the place in my thoughts, grateful for the news that Moose ate breakfast at the vet, covered in bruises, but still going. Moose isn’t out of the woods yet, but I keep praying we still have more time together. I need my buddy.

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