Thirty Little Kaylee & Jayne Things

September 30th, 2016 12:00 pm by Kelly Garbato

2009-10-24 - Kaylee - 0013

Dear Kaylee –

Remember how last year I said that writing these annual posts had finally begun to feel more sweet than bitter? Well, this year was a bit of a struggle. Maybe because it’s just so soon after Jayne’s passing, but the prospect of penning this letter to you was daunting; a tangible thing that made my shoulders slump and my stomach sink.

You see, I worry that you’re slipping away from me. That every passing day takes with it a piece of you: a memory, an image, a smell, a fragment of thought. And no matter how small, it’s still you; all I have left of you, in point o’ facts. It hurts so much, this feeling that you’re like sand seeping through my fingers, no matter how tight and steady I squeeze them shut.

Some days I feel like Mags is overwriting you. Like I’ve so completely adopted her as your doppelgänger (but never your substitute! never that.) that her picture’s begun to ghost over yours.

Days like these, I wish I was an android with playback memory. Okay, I always wish I was an android; androids are awesome. But still. You know what I mean.

Anyway, I was feeling down – in general, because things have been the worst lately; and about this birthday letter, specifically – and then I read something rather lovely. Something that made me reevaluate all the Kaylee-based angst I’ve been grappling with.

“Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can’t even remember what she looks like. You know? Not really. I miss her, Subhi.” […]

I give Jimmie’s hand a squeeze. “It doesn’t matter what you see. I think it just matters what you feel.”

(from The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon)

You made me feel warm. Happy. Loved. Overcome. Content. Heroic. Awed. Grateful. Mothered.

You were home and light and joy. You were the best girl I ever had; my daemon; my soul mate. My wonder doggie. My avatar.

You’re still all of those things, of course, just more internalized than before. Those little lawn dances you used to do? Now they rock my heart.

I love you so much, sweet babygirl. And as long as I hold tight to that, a part of you will live on.

I am forever yours.

– Mom

 

2011-12-05 - Kaylee & Jayne - 0007

Sweet Jayne –

I’m so sorry. Sorry that we weren’t able to save you. Sorry that we put you through surgery and chemo, all for nothing. Sorry that you aren’t here with us to celebrate your twelfth birthday in person. Sorry that I didn’t make you my special project ten years sooner.

All those years, I thought I was doing the right thing: giving you your space, letting you come to us in your own time and way. And maybe I was. Doing the right thing, that is. Or maybe I could have pushed just a little harder.

I always worried, what the end would be like for you, our little outsider. If we’d be able to offer comfort and support, the way we did with Ozzy and Ralphie and Kaylee and Peedee. I think we did, though. I think you opened up to us, just a wee bit, in those last few months. You dug the drive-in, and sitting close to us while you napped, and even laying out in the sun with me. You even liked being pushed around in the stroller, though I’m beyond sad that we only got to use it twice.

It’s been two months and I still can’t bring myself to write about your death. I’m going through some hard-core avoidance. We got two new fosters the week after you died, and they’ve been keeping us busy. I thought they’d be a nice distraction, and they are both nice and a distraction…but I think maybe it was a bit too soon. Like maybe I should have given myself (and the other dogs) more time to process and grieve first. Because now I feel crazy stuck. The past six months just feels like one bad dream.

Anyway, I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this. Even though I haven’t been handling your passing terribly well, I want you to know that I love you and think about you all the time. It’s true, I never bonded with you the same way I did my other babies, and for that I’m sorry. But I do miss you, so, so much.

When I look at your little cave-bed in the corner of the office, I still half-expect to see you snoozing there. I catch myself leaving a book lying around, and then remember: with you gone, there’s no other dog who will steal it as a chew toy. Dad kept getting your bottle of Proin out of the cabinet for peanut butter time, until I removed it to your memory box (minus all but one of the pills, which we’ll donate to RBC). And every mealtime, I found myself setting a fourth bowl for you. Now, with Daisy and Brutus, we’re back to five bowls, which is hella weird.

It’s funny; when you were alive, it sometimes felt like you weren’t there: you existed on the periphery. But now that you’re gone, it’s like we feel your absence even more than we did your presence. Is that awful? I don’t know; I suspect it just is. Neither good nor bad, just how – who – you were. And I love you no matter what, with no preconditions. You’ll always be one of my girls.

That picture of Kaylee in the leopard getup may be my avatar, but the one of you wearing a Jayne hat? That’s my background. I glance at your sad Eeyore face roughly two hundred and eleven times a day.

Love always,

– Mom

 

Eighteen Little Kaylee Things

  • Her silly, happy smile.

    2010-07-09 - Outside with the Dogs - 0039

    2009-09-20 - Kaylee - 0008

    2011-09-08 - Afternoon Sunshine - 0140

  • The Kaylee quick step. (She may look old and slow, but not so much!)

    2007-02-04 - Opening X-Mas Presents - 0143 [1024x768]

    2007-08-19 - Silly Dogs - 0015

    2008-03-12 - Dogs Outside - 0040 [1024x768]

  • That stubby nub of a tail.

    2007-07-17 - Dogs Outside - 0029 [1024x768 film grain]

    2011-04-03 - Kaylee Macro - 0005

    2007-06-25 - Morning Playtime - 0007 [1024x768]

  • Those crazy teefies.

    lol kaylee - mai teef!

    2010-04-11 - Kaylee & O-Ren - 0005

    2007-12-05 - Cpt Kaylee's Booty - 0025 [1024x768]

  • That she insists you look at her the whole time you pet her, otherwise it doesn’t count. (And if you happen to glance at another dog, it’s akin to cheating!)

    2007-02-04 - Harassing the Dogs, PM ed. - 0005 [1024x768]

    2008-05-23 - Flowers & Dogs - 0119

    2007-04-06 - Lazy Dogday Friday - 0012 [1024x768]

  • How she started the trend of licking the humans’ dirty dishes.

    2010-07-03- Kaylee In Wait - 0002

    2008-02-16 - Kaylee & Peedee - 0007

    Thanks to this visionary, all the dogs are now sufficiently spoiled!

  • How she has to lick all the dog bowls at least once (and usually twice or more) before going outside after meals, and again after coming back in.

    2007-11-15 - Lunchtime - 0008

    (Are you detecting a pattern here?)

  • The “It’s almost dinnertime!” dance.

    2006-11-23 - Dogs-n-Popcorn-0007

    (Not it, but close enough!)

  • The way she can spend hours wandering the back yard on summer nights, searching for nomy bugs to eat.

    2012-08-15 - Kaylee, Bug Hunter - 0007

    2012-09-03 - Kaylee's body is a graveyard - 0008

  • How she becomes alternately cuddly and rambunctious while trying to wake me up in the morning.

    2011-06-30 - Kaylee in Bed - 0003

    2006-10-04 - FifthDayHome-0010

  • Her fear of thunderstorms and fireworks (basically all the loud noises).

    2009-07-04 - Dogs No Like BOOM! - 0002

    2009-07-04 - Dogs No Like BOOM! - 0021

    2009-07-04 - Dogs No Like BOOM! - 0014

    Especially that one July 4th she escaped to the bathroom cabinets.

  • How she insists on hanging out in the bathroom while I shower, even if I don’t have any “treats” (read: cardboard rolls) for her. So much so that I put a dog bed in the master bath, just for her!

    2008-07-28 - Kaylee - 0002

  • Ears as soft as velvet.

    2011-04-02 - Kaylee Macro - 0044

    2007-02-04 - Harassing the Dogs, AM ed. - 0112 [1024x768]

    2007-02-04 - Harassing the Dogs, AM ed. - 0128>

  • Every day is Mother’s Day.

    2007-08-30 - Peedee's 5th Birthday - 0033

  • Her capacity to be both demanding and thankful at the same time. Whether it was human attention, a dirty bowl, or a piece of tissue, Kaylee never took us for granted.

    2007-02-20 - Kelly & Dogs - 0004

    2013-04-30 - Kaylee's Reads - 0008

    2009-12-05 - Kelly & Kids - 0003

  • Kaylee + Rennie 4ever!

    2010-06-10 - Kaylee & O-Ren - 0005

    2009-04-13 - Lazy Dogs - 0002

    2008-12-05 - Rennie & Kaylee - 0001

  • Her soft, lumpy, be-speckled belly. She’s what the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s best friend would look like, if he had a dog.

    2006-12-02 - KayleeFestivus-0014

    2006-10-07 - DogsOutside-0038

    2009-12-01 - Kaylee Pirate - 0002

    (Note to Paul Feig: PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN IN THE REBOOT.)

  • Being the first dog to accompany us to the drive-in on a regular basis. You started A REAL THING, sweet babygirl, and we all love you for it.

    2006-10-31 - MovieDay-0009 [1024x768]

    Sadly, I don’t think I ever took any pictures of Kaylee at the drive-in, so this photo from our 2006 Halloween Horror Movie Marathon will have to suffice. (This is why I take at least 50 shots of ALL THE THINGS now. Better to need a terrabyte drive than not.)

  •  

    Twelve Little Jayne Things

  • Ears that are both floppy and upright, all at once.

    2015-07-03 - Smithville Lake - 0008 [flickr]

    2012-04-17 - Jayne - 0007

    2013-07-18 - Jayne - 0005

  • How she still searches for Ozzy, more than a year three years after his passing.

    2007-09-14 - Our First Place - 0083

    2008-07-14 - Dogs on Ralphie's A-Day - 0027

    2008-10-24- Refinishing the Floors - 0013

  • That she wants to be left alone, but not too alone.

    2007-06-17 - the girls get to visit first! (while mommy makes to-do list) - 0002 [1024x768]

    2012-05-27 - Patio Office - 0014

    Always on the periphery, this one.

  • She’s a stalker, but not a killer.

    2007-08-26 - Dogs Outside - 0007 [1024x768]

    2007-04-12 - Peeping Jayne - 0018 [1024x768]

    2010-06-02 - Playing in the Dirt - 0048

  • Her imperviousness to pain.

    2013-03-18 - Jayne & her new cone - 0007

    2012-06-23 - Jayne 0, Woodchuck 1 - 0004

    Like that one time she provoked a woodchuck into biting her – but she played it so cool that we didn’t discover the wound until hours after the fact.

  • Disney Princess eyes, but with a hint of sadness.

    2010-12-04 - Jayne Pirate - 0005

    2009-10-24 - Jayne - 0006 [Original] [flickr]

    2013-07-18 - Jayne - 0028

  • How she used to pee a little when you picked her up – and that she stopped doing that years ago.

    2009-07-19 - Jayne & Peedee - 0001

  • Book thief!

    2012-05-09 - Naughty Jayne - 0001

    Never leave books unattended around Jayne, or she will transform them into papier mache artwork.

    2012-01-24 - While I Was Out - 0004

    Ditto: tp, manilla envelopes, cardboard tubes, and all the paper things. The recycling bin is her brown heaven.

  • Newly narcoleptic.

    2014-03-22 - Jayne Napping - 0004 [flickr]

    In the past year or so – roughly since she started wetting the bed – Jayne’s naps have begun to resemble mini-comas. Whereas the other dogs run for lunch as soon as they hear the dishes clink, not even loud shouts across the house can reliably summon Jayne if she’s sleeping. Nope, you have to shake her awake, and sometimes that doesn’t even work. A few times Shane and I have been able to lift up her head without waking her. Cute, but super-creepy. I’ve mistaken her for dead on more than one occasion.

  • How she is drawn to large bodies of water like a magnet.

    2007-07-15 - Jayne & Peedee - 0011 [1024x768]

    2015-08-12 - Sailboat Cove-Bonebender - 0068 [flickr]

    2015-08-12 - Sailboat Cove-Bonebender - 0083 [flickr]

    Pools and bathtubs, not so much.

    2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0284

  • How she’s become marginally more social over the years.

    2013-11-17 - Kelly & Jayne - 0013

    2015-07-22 - Walking Bonebender Trail - 0042 [flickr]

    2015-07-22 - Walking Bonebender Trail - 0025 [flickr]

    My favorite: As I’m petting her, she acts like it’s borderline abuse; yet when I stop, she looks at me like I’ve hurt her fee fees.

  • How much she loved going to the drive-in with us – when we finally gave her the chance – even though it involved some of her least favorite things: long hours crammed into a small, enclosed space with four other sentient, social creatures. THE HORROR!

    2016-04-17 - Drive-In (Jayne's 1st Time) - 0006 [flickr]

    2016-06-26 - Going to the Drive-In - 0007 [flickr]

    2016-07-14 - Going to the Drive-In - 0060 [flickr]

    2016-04-17 - Drive-In (Jayne's 1st Time) - 0054 [flickr]

    I only regret not trying it sooner. (Precious few pictures to choose from for this one.) Forgive me, sweet Jayne?

  • ###

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    3 Responses to “Thirty Little Kaylee & Jayne Things”

    1. Rosemary Says:

      I came for the zucchini chips recipe – and then saw this (sniff, sniff..) We had a little episode with our soon to be 15 yo golden last night and this hit close to home.

    2. Kelly Garbato Says:

      Oh no! I hope she (or he) is okay. Senior dogs are the best, but boy do they come with a whole lot of worry and heartache.

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