This is going to be a little different from my usual post. I don’t normally share deeply personal stuff, but I’ve had a tough couple of weeks and they’ve really taught me how to practice self care. Specifically that part about “put on your own mask before helping others.”
I hope that by sharing this, you will find some ways to be gentle and take good care of yourself.
You may know that I love animals. I don’t have kids. I have pets and they mean the world to me. On Saturday, my dog Kimse had a stroke. Through the vet exam at the emergency vet hospital, we discovered that she has widespread lung cancer.
This dog has been perfectly healthy for 11 years. Saturday morning, she couldn’t even walk.
(My husband was out of town Saturday, not returning until Sunday night. I can’t imagine how helpless he felt.)
But I was left with a 72-pound dog that I had to carry around.
Let’s be clear, she has carried me, emotionally, through the loss of two cats. She has protected me for 11 years, and she has made me laugh every day. She teaches me how to be strong, yet loving, patient, and gentle, every day.
It’s about time I carry her around.
So I set up a nice new comfy bed for her in the living room. Saturday night, I wanted to sleep on the couch so I could be near her in case she needed me, but after about 45 minutes on the couch, I was done.
I had to take care of myself. I needed to sleep in my own bed.
This was when I put on my own mask first, in order to help her. I needed to get a good night’s sleep so I could lift her physically, and so I could support her emotionally in the coming days.
I went upstairs and turned on my super-powered “mom ears” so I could run downstairs in the middle of the night if she needed me.
We both slept through the night. Sunday morning, she was walking on her own! I was overjoyed.
Now, we’re not in the clear. She had another stroke Tuesday morning, but she’s still walking and she’s not in any pain. She recovered quickly on Tuesday and she continues to make us proud.
Kimse is a sweet rottweiler mix. She loves people more than anything, so we’ve invited friends over to come see her. So far, she has had 7 visitors! We have some incredible friends and I never cease to be amazed at what happens when I ask for help. People show up. They show up in droves and I’m so grateful.
Perhaps those are the two lessons I’ve learned this week. Take care of yourself and ask for help when you need it.
I have more business-related lessons from the past 3 weeks and I’ll tell you about them next week. For now, I hope you’ll take some time to say no to something that doesn’t serve you, take a nice bath, get a massage, order in (or cook) a nice healthy meal, go to a yoga class, or take a walk. Just do something for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as they say, so take good care of you.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. We could still use some prayers for strength and comfort as we say goodbye to our sweet girl.
Next week, back to business.
P.S. I must add that my neighbors have been incredible too. They came over Saturday morning and not only helped me carry Kimse to the car, but they drove with me to the vet hospital and got us checked in. Then, they cooked up some chicken because the vet recommended chicken & rice for Kimse’s tummy. (I have literally never cooked meat before, so it would have been dangerous for me to try it now.) I am so grateful to be surrounded by a loving community.