Well, it’s been a rough almost 6 months. The last I left Dave had just died. I should be, but I guess I’m still not over it. As my drunken Thanksgiving ranting illustrated. Well, I need to get over a few things, and I’ll lay them out because I haven’t written since then.
A week after Dave died, I noticed Rocco wasn’t eating. Rocco Taco, my little Rock Steady, was my little deployment dog. I got him after Sammy was killed by other dogs in college. He was my little man. He had put on some weight after having knee surgery a few years ago, but now he wasn’t eating. I watched him, like a good dog mommy and nothing piqued his interest. Not treats, nothing. Finally I decided to take him to the vet. His demeanor hadn’t changed, he was still a little spark, just hadn’t eaten for a week. He was losing weight. The vet didn’t know what was wrong with him the Friday I brought him in, she gave me some special food and said to water it down and give it to him and that if he didn’t improve by the next morning to call and bring him in. The next morning he still hadn’t eaten and the shots of antibiotics and B12 she had given didn’t really seem to help. I called them up and decided to bring him in and have him admitted so they could figure out what was wrong with him. All I could think was cancer. All through the day, I kept preparing myself for what she would say. She called at noon and said that he was in preliminary renal failure, but was okay. She said she thought it was cancer, but wouldn’t know until they could run more tests. She said she would call me with an update at 5pm. At 5pm she called. And Rocco was gone. She said she wanted to do an autopsy to find out what happened to him, so I let her. Then told her to send him to the local pet crematorium to have him taken care of. Mike and I couldn’t really believe that he was gone. We both kept seeing him around the house. But he was gone. When the vet had completed the autopsy she wanted me to come to see what she had found. She had found a half of a tee-shirt in his stomach and intestines. About the size of a fist. We couldn’t believe it. He must have eaten it like a snake. I couldn’t help but laugh, because Rocco was always that dog that ate EVERYTHING. Anything and everything he thought could be eaten, he would eat. He is now sitting in a nice little box on our dining room table.
BFF was more concerned for me and Rocco than she was for herself. She’s too much.
That month was kind of a blur, I had told people at work that at some point I would have to go down to TX and it might be short notice, they understood. I had talked about BFF the entire time I had been there and they might have felt like they knew her a little bit. It was really close to home for everyone; I work with two guys who lost their wives about 5 years ago, so they knew. I was to go to TX for the memorial service at Fort Hood on July 21st. I planned to stay down there for 6 or seven days to help her get her new place situated; she hadn’t been alone even one night since it happened.
The night before I left work early and packed up the car and headed down. I got there, met Dave’s parents and we sat down to talk and drink. Dave’s parents sat in the living room drinking Shiner because that was what Dave drank. BFF and I smoked and drank and talked about life. The next day we got up for the service. I put on something nice and she gave me a sweater. The CAO (casualty assistance officer) drove us to the service and I met with her friend to sit together because there are different things that the wives had to do. We sat in the first row, not knowing it was reserved for family members. His photo was right in front of us, and the boots of three other soldiers were next to his. I knew if I looked at anyone else I would cry, so I stared at the photo, the boots, the helmet, the dog tags, the gun. Other wounded soldiers, wounded in the same attack, sat next to us. People cried. Bagpipes played, which was difficult to bear. After, each person in the front row stood for a second in front of the memorials, some touched the tags, some the boots. Colleen and I stood for what seemed to be a respectable amount of time, choking back our feelings, and turned to leave. We went to the back room for the reception and met BFF when she came in. I said we could go sneak a smoke. We did. They presented sketchings of the soldiers who had died. Framed photos. Fucking gift bags. We left as soon as we could. As soon as we got into the van I turned my phone back on. It came to life with vibrations and noises. New voice mails and someone was calling me right then. It was Mike.
Where they hell have you been? He practically screamed into the phone. I was at the fucking funeral, I growled into the phone, trying not to be heard by everyone in the van. We got fucking robbed, Mike said. They took everything, which is probably why all my photos on my other posts are gone. They took my computer, my camera, my entire jewelry box. They touched everything in the house, went through every drawer, flipped our mattress. It makes me cringe. I had to leave the next morning, because I couldn’t leave my husband alone. I couldn’t leave BFF alone. She was alone. On the way home I got a 200$ speeding ticket. Thanks life.
I got home, I inventoried. I submitted to insurance. You can’t really inventory original wedding rings or the pearl necklace my grandmother gave me before she died. Or every photo of the past 4 years that was on your computer. The first piece of jewelry Mike got me, the necklace that had my name stamped on it in Arabic that my friend got me from one of his tours in Iraq. Fuck. it makes me mad just thinking about it again. They took it all. Even now, 5 months later, there are still things I look for and wonder if they were stolen. Of course they took the 50″ plasma, so we don’t even use the living room now. I still have nightmares. And two weeks ago, someone broke in again. Broke our kitchen window, climbed through it and when the motion detectors went off (of course we have an alarm now) tried to deactivate it by pressing all the buttons on the key pad, setting off the panic alarm. We’ve got a set of surveillance cameras on the way now, half paid for by our landlord.
After the first break in Mike and I had a minor melt down and decided to move home to New England. I actually quit my job and called the landlord and told him we were out of there. The next day he had a change of heart and realized that we couldn’t just move home without jobs or savings or any plan. So we are still here.
I am dying inside, to tell you the truth. I feel like it must feel to be in Iraq; constantly stressed that something is going to happen, constantly thinking that around every corner is someone trying to hurt you. I have nightmares all the time and it’s basically a panic attack when I go to my car in the mornings to go to work because it is so early it is still dark out. A few times I have gone out and literally found someone in our back yard. Our neighbors got their cars broken into after our robbery happened and I was and am, so terrified that someone is going to hurt our dogs. I can’t lose the other two, they have been traumatized enough. I can’t imagine how they felt when the house was robbed- Luca was in the kennel, as we kenneled her during the day and they just took Taz and put him in the back yard. I don’t know if they hit him, kicked him, whatever, but he was in the backyard when Mike got home.
Blah! It feels good to get all of that out. I am still here. Afraid that every chest pain I get is a heart attack or a stroke. I need to get out of here. Mike is so desensitized that I don’t know if he will ever get us out. I guess it is up to me.
Thank you to everyone that reads and that has subscribed. It really is time for me to move on from these events as they don’t define me or my life. Sometimes it’s hard, though.