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Colleen Conway's blog

"If I could turn back time..."

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Today I got back into the pool. My parents 25 meter pool. Last night I was on the way to go to practice in Toms River, but I told my husband to just keep driving up the Parkway north, and back to my parents house where my Ernie dog was laid to rest two days ago. Being alone in the silence at our new house was just miserable, how empty it was. I didnt even realize how much his presence filled up my life.
My daughter was put down for a nap, and knowing I have a meet this weekend (that I may or may not do), I decided to get in. I walked into the pool room, a large bright room with the sun glistening off the water from the huge French doors all around. Out the French doors is the huge farm-like backyard. I am flooded with memories. Every corner I turn.
I spent so many afternoons, spring, fall winter with him in this pool room or seeing Ernie from it. I had made it my mission that this dog was going to learn to swim seven years ago, god forbid he jumped into a random pool lol. He would jump in to be with me and I would grab his little hind legs and pull at them to make sure he kicked while he paddled with his arms. He eventually got so good he made the whole length and afterwards he would get a hot dogand I never fed him human food.
As Im swimming, I use a bouy and paddles, sometimes pulling sets feels cathartic, the concentration on breathing and it always makes me feel more balanced and strong. After doing a 200 or so I have to stop. Because all Im thinking about are all of the million memories with this dog. How I teased him that one time and jumped into the pool, stood on the bottom looking up to see if he would come after. and in Ernie jumped, swimming circles at the surface trying to save me. Or of all the family parties or holidays when the kids would go in the pool, and in would go Ernie on a raft trying to rescue one of them and they would all laugh hysterically. If he wasnt in the pool, he was at attention at the windows of the French doors like a little stalker, running back and forth while I swam freestyle to make sure I was alive, he always hated when I would actually start swimming and kicking instead of bobbing in the water. Or he was running around the backyard. I just keep feeling like I will see him somewhere. But hes not there. In this place, at my parents is where most of the memories were, where I would take him with me when I was on a break from college, or lawscool, back during the holidays.through moves, and people in my life, he was always there.
I probably did a 1000 today until I had to stop because I was just getting nauseous with all of the thoughts. Later tonight I will get back in when my husband gets home from overtime at work, he can swim with me or sit by the pool and make sure I actually go through a whole practice. Being around people definitely helps and hearing the memories helps as much as it hurts and pulls at the strings in my heart. On facebook, everyone had a memory to post, because Ernie, was in fact a crazzzzy dog with attitude. My brother in law, reminded me of the time (there were three or four) when he had to take me to pick up Ernie and our other family dog from the police station on Christmas because they had run away and escaped from the electric dog fence. (Mind you of course I had dressed my dog up as Elvis that day for some weird reason, so of course the police had to mention that there was a pug dressed up as elvis).or one of my Moms friends who reminded me of all the times she came to visi, he decided that her suitcase was the perfect place for him to leave a little stinky surprise.
I will probably make a memory book for Ernie, and have all of my family members and friends make a contribution. Remembering all of the wonderful happy things, as much as it pulls at my heart, seems to be making losing his physical presence easier to accept.
Thank you for all of the amazing love and memories, friend. RIP

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  1. ekw's Avatar
    Our lives are so much richer because of pets, but it's a double edged sword because their life span is so much shorter than ours. Still, the memories are wonderful, though overwhelming and painful right now, I imagine.

    I think doing the meet would be a good thing - it gets you out and around people, plus has you focusing on a task.
  2. rxleakem's Avatar
    Even though this is a tough time for you, thanks for sharing with us. I agree with others - our pets are special members of our family and often there to keep us company when we'd otherwise be alone. And, as you mention, help to give us great memories.