A Sad Goodbye
Bryan mourns the loss of his dog this week but has the strength not to resort to binge eating.
My blog today won't be me trying to be clever, witty, or even funny. Instead my blog is being written from a very raw and extremely broken heart. On Tuesday Oct 12th at 6pm, a giant piece of Miguel and I died, as our beautiful baby boy, Moose, was tragically hit by a car and died in my arms. The heartache and pain is almost too unbearable to think about or to write. Moose was days away from his 7th birthday and he was the most wonderful, gentle and loyal best friend a man could ever ask for. Moose left an indelible handprint on everyone's heart that he had the pleasure to meet. As many friends have pointed out in the past few days, Moose wasn't just a dog, he was a person.
Miguel was away on business in San Francisco the night of the accident and having to make that phone call and tell him that our boy had been killed was the hardest thing I've ever done. The shame and guilt I carry is immense. The first night I was just numb to everything. The second night I ate my pain by swallowing anything and everything I could. On the third night, Miguel, the best partner in the world, said to me, "Life has to go on, mi amore. Moose is gone, and while it's okay to grieve, we have to carry on." The next morning I did some serious soul searching. With my stomach in knots and feeling like the world could swallow me whole, I sat and reflected on the amazing 7 years that we had with Moose
Moose was incredibly instrumental during my process on the show. He NEVER had issues with going for a workout. He LOVED running and exercising, and if he could have spoken English, I guarantee that he would have been tougher on me then Jackie or Craig. One of his favorite places in Los Angeles was Runyon Canyon, and I can almost hear him now going absolutely bonkers, as we would get closer and closer to the hiking trails at Runyon. It's so funny, I don't think Moose ever looked at hiking as a workout ... instead it was just a fun excuse to run around and be free. I can still picture hiking up the hill and watching Moose disappear ahead of me. Eventually I would see him at the top wagging his tail with an expression on his face saying, "Hey what's taking you so long?" That is a memory I am trying to hold onto in this time of grief and tragedy. Treasure the good times and don't get stuck in the gloom and despair. I literally had to ask myself today, "Do you just retreat to an awful place of pain and heartache and eat everything in sight to fill that void, or do you find a way to cope with the grief by keeping yourself busy?" Relying on comfort foods and slipping back into my old patterns seemed like such an easy and familiar road to turn down. Suffocating my feelings with food was something I knew all to well. I had done it for years on end to cope with pain and discomfort. Yet I know in my heart that repeating those patterns will not fix a thing. Getting fatter and feeling all this guilt will not bring Moose back. Death is a natural progression of life. It doesn't seem fair, but then again life is not always fair. I don't want to sound cold or that I am in denial of my sweet oaf being gone, but the truth of the matter is that he is gone. And just like many people out there I realize there is light at the end of the tunnel, but there are times I can barely see that light through all the tears and heartache.
However this morning, I had an incredible light bulb moment. A few months back, I was blessed enough to gain insight on how I got to be as heavy as I did, by connecting those emotional triggers that made me want to eat my pain, thanks to Jackie and Dr. Ramani. Now several months later, I find myself back in the trenches fighting another war, but this time I will not surrender. I will not give in. I will fight through this sadness and pain by not stuffing food down my throat. I refuse to let Moose's death cripple me. I know that Moose, more then anyone, would not want to see me go back to my old ways. He loved me no matter what, because that is what a dog does, loves unconditionally. Moose didn't care if I was fat or skinny, but he did care about my emotional well being. Moose could sense sorrow and pain, and whenever I got in that state, he would gently put his head upon my lap and look at me with such love in his eyes. As if to say, I wish I could take away the pain. I am positive today that Moose would not want Miguel and I to carry around this sorrow and depression, instead he would want us to be filled with love and joy.
So I say to anyone reading this, that may have suffered a traumatic loss, whether it be animal or human (although I am not sure where to draw that distinction, I think they are one and the same) drowning yourself in sorrow and thinking that food can somehow ease the pain only makes it worse. Trust me on this one. My advice is 1) Talk to someone, whether it be a friend, a partner, or even a professional therapist. 2) Get up, get out and get busy. It is amazing what a short walk or a long run can do. I am not saying don't grieve. That is an important part of the process of death. It seems so much easier to cry and eat and curse God for all the pain and heart ache, and then cry and eat some more. But if that is how you choose to cope, believe me when I say, it just gets harder to face yourself. One day you'll finally look in the mirror and you won't be able to recognize the face staring back at you. If you are truly lonely and feel like no one understands, trust me, I do. When you feel like you cannot get out of bed because the pain is too much, take a few deep breathes then ask yourself, is this what "insert your loved ones name here" would have wanted? The answer will always be NO. Whomever you are grieving about would never want to see you suffer, they would want you to stay strong and carry on. They would want you to remember all the joy and happiness you shared.
Join a club, adopt a pet, take a class, write in a journal, or just go for a walk. Don't become a recluse and continue the pattern of self-abuse and destructive behavior. And it's okay to talk about your pain. The more you say it out loud, the easier it becomes to process.
Miguel and I are now drawing on Moose's unbelievable strength and love and channeling that energy that into our heads and hearts so that we can continue to carry on. We want to think of hiking at Runyon Canyon as Moose did, a beautiful, scenic playground filled with light, love and laughter. We refuse to think of it as a sad place, just because Moose is not there with us physically. We know in our hearts that Moose will always be just a few feet ahead, pushing us as he always did. Moose was an incredible class act and truly one of a kind. On November 20th, at 12:00pm we will be having a memorial for Moose at the top of Runyon Canyon, where Moose use to hold court on the big blue chair that overlooks all of Los Angeles. We will scatter Moose's ashes at Runyon, because that was where he felt the most free and happy (next to snuggling in our bed, but I think that might just be too messy to sleep in, plus we can't fit that many in our bedroom).
Moose, we are sure you are terrorizing everyone in heaven with your loud bark all the while trying to touch everyone with your paw. We love you and miss you, you big sweaty, stinky oaf! May angels watch over you and you over us. Until we meet again sweet boy!