I was recently having a conversation with a friend about how the blog has changed since Bud died in February.
It hasn’t been conscious on my part, but I am aware that it’s different.
As am I.
I’ve been more worried about Pepper. Is she okay in the herd without her protector of twenty-one years? I’ve worried about Bud’s friend Amigo, who tried to make new friends after Bud died, only to get pushed around and beat up. He now provides the male protection to Pepper and Chickadee.
The Herd of Oldsters has dwindled to three.
I’ve worried about my husband who sometimes thinks himself less of a horseman now that he no longer has a horse of his own. Pepper’s reply is, “What am I, chopped liver?” And she’s right, of course. Being a horseman is more a state of mind anyway. But what I think he’s really saying is that with Bud gone, his role has changed. Funny how that big lovable Appaloosa defined him.
In earlier versions of the blog, my writing tended to be funnier. At least I think it was! Grief has a way of blunting everything. These days, I feel almost disrespectful if I write something humorous. It’s as if there is a haze over the animals and the pasture experiences; a haze that diminishes the light and lightheartedness.
It’s true that when you lose someone (animal or human) you dearly love, every aspect of your life is different. Things change. People change. Feelings change.
Change, change, change. And most of us humans aren’t so good with change. It’s unsettling. We like predictable and familiar and comfortable.
We don’t like change.
I’m calling this grief 2.0 – the next generation of grief.
The darned experience has numerous stages. And as I’ve said before, it’s sneaky. One minute you think you’re doing fine; over it even. And then WHAM, something triggers a thought or feeling and you are right back in it. Overwhelmed with feelings of sadness. You walk around disconnected from the real world.
Another thing about grief is that it’s cumulative, like a layer cake of loss.
Each new experience activates feelings from earlier losses. It’s how our brains work, thank you very much.
Some of you may wonder why I’m still affected by the death of a horse. But you see, with Bud’s death, I began to remember my parents’ deaths, and my grandparents. Other family and friends I’ve lost. I’ve revisited disappointments and jobs that didn’t work out as I’d hoped. I’ve remembered hopes and dreams that didn’t materialize. Losses every one, all tucked away in memory just waiting to be called forth.
This Grief 2.0 is kicking my butt and I’m not happy about it. But the truth is, I’m floundering. I don’t know where to take the blog.
What have our two old horses taught me about aging? Well for one thing, grief sucks. And as we age, the losses come more quickly, giving us ample opportunity to get good at grieving.
As if that were possible.
So here’s my plan.
At least for the short run.
I’m going to reduce the number of posts I write from five days a week to three.
Look for me on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
I hope you won’t stop reading. The blogging gurus warn against changing your schedule. They terrorize you with stories that you’ll lose your following. Well, I’m not in the mood to be terrorized. I hope you aren’t either.
My goal has always been to be transparent and honest with you. We’re in this aging journey together. Thank you for reading and continuing to support Pepper, the Herd of Oldsters, Mija and me.
And Grief 2.0 – I’m getting ready to kick your butt.