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Holiday Hrmph


Oh Internet.

I hosted Dave’s family for Thanksgiving again this year.  Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite holiday – mainly because there are low expectations.  No gifts to give or pack or wrap.  Just delicious food and lots of time snuggled in on the couch visiting with family.  I realize this down-time can be a real stresser for most people, but I genuinely like my in-laws and our time is filled with belly laughs and meaningful stories.  I love it.

I managed to prepare a delicious meal with only one instance of smoke (I wish I was kidding).  Sadly, the smoke did not fill MY house, instead, I stunk up neighbor Susan’s house when I spilled turkey drippings in her oven. Go me! (Sorry neighbors!) (And you are awesome for letting me use your convection oven for my 23lb turkey!).

By Saturday afternoon I was doing a mental fist-pump  because things were going so well.  I’d fed 13 people and no one died!  Not even me!

And then my sweet 14-year-old doggie had a stroke.

He yelped and fell over in the back yard and generally acted as pitiful as an animal can act.  I carried him to his bed and told myself he’d feel better in a bit.  But, after an agonizing afternoon and night spent laying next to him,  I knew it was time.  By 4am he couldn’t even raise his head and he was panting and whimpering.  So I woke Dave and we drove Parker dog to the emergency vet.  I suppose it was good that there were so many other adults sleeping in my house, because we didn’t have to find anyone to watch our sleeping kids.

The vet confirmed that Parker was dying and suggested he be put to sleep.  Bless his heart, that dog couldn’t move any part of his body except for his tail, which he wagged at the vet as he was doing the injection.  And then he just… died. It was quick and quiet and AWFUL.  I held his little limp body and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.  And then we just… drove home without our pup.

As soon as our family was gone on Sunday, I crawled in bed and stayed there.  I could not believe my grief.  Even now, I can hardly type for the tears.  I try telling myself this was an ANIMAL, that actual HUMAN BEINGS are suffering and dying all over the world.  Children and soldiers and beloved HUMANS everywhere.  How can I be so upset about a dog?

But I am.


Spending Sunday afternoon in bed crying about a dog meant that we didn’t do our normal routine of putting up the Christmas decorations.  Which means that I suddenly feel behind.  Christmas is in 19 days and I’m not ready!  My heart isn’t in it. My kids keep asking about the advent calendar and Elfis (our Elf on the Shelf).  I see Christmas lights up and down the street and there are still pumpkins on my front porch.

Next week.  I’ll get it together.  I swear.

Author: Rita Ortloff

highly caffeinated mother of two. part-time homeschooler and marketing manager. full-time wife and mother. lover of books, the ipad, and any animal with fur. hater of spiders and spanx.

6 thoughts on “Holiday Hrmph

  1. Oh, honey. He was such a good doggie. We miss him, too. (And we don’t have our tree up, either. Maybe Santa will bring it this year…)

  2. I was an absolute mess – a MESS – when our chihuahua Mazie died a few years ago. It was two days after we moved into our house here in QC. We’d had her since I was 16 years old and she was like my baby. I couldn’t bear to look at her little toys and dish. Hugs to you, friend — grief is a terrible thing.

  3. Our animals define loyalty and unconditional love. Nothing gives these things to us like our dogs (or cats, I suppose). It is perfectly normal to miss that warm love. You’re totally normal to feel this way! No time is a good time, but before the holidays is particularly a bummer. I’m so sorry! I have a tree decorated. You can make Dave come get it and just plug it in at your house!

  4. You loved him. Even though they’re furry, they’re still our children. You could tell the kids that Elfis has been in Heaven making sure Parker got settled before returning to his shelf.

  5. Oh God. I just cried and cried reading this! And I’ve never met your dog! Or even YOU, in person! Rita, this is so terribly terribly sad. It was sad as soon as I heard last week, but I for some reason assumed it was a slow decline (I knew he was elderly). It was is so much worse as a sudden thing like this. My deepest sympathies. I am thinking of you! Don’t worry about Christmas. It will come whether you’ve got decorations up or not, and it will be OK. (Remember Whoville, in “The Grinch…”?)

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