It’s been a month of change, sadness, and tears.

In way, losing Monty has been easier than losing Winger and Surf, but only because I know what to expect this time. When they died, I had no idea how life was ever going to continue without them, and I think half the grief was the fear of the unknown. I held on way too long last time, trying so hard to remember every single detail of them, terrified to forget a thing, until I realized that not letting go was preventing me from living.

This time I had all of his toys and stuff put away within 24 hours, and gave the house a good cleaning. This prevented all the “look at that toy, he loves that toy, it is sitting right here because  Monty dropped it here, and now he is gone, and why is he gone, how can he have just been right here playing with this toy, and now he is gone, but his toy is still here” thoughts.

Both of us still hear him at times, a whine at the door, a bark from the yard. The snow packed paths he made around the yard are filling in with snow. I no longer find dog hair in my dinner. No one pounces on food bits when they fall on the floor. I have no reason to go outside before bed, and to look at the sky, and the stars, and the northern lights.

The long list of reasons why I didn’t want a dog after this one have been overshadowed by our grief and loneliness. When his breeders mentioned they’ll be having puppies in the next year or so, Jeff immediately said yes and seemingly thinks about it non-stop.

I realized I’ve been trying to busy my brain since Monty was diagnosed. I haven’t had games on my phone in years, but after he was diagnosed I installed a couple seemingly brainless matching puzzles, Candy Crush like, games that keep me occupied enough while tv is on that I don’t have any extra brain capacity to think too much about our loss. Sometimes the darkness of the night between going to bed and falling asleep, when my phone is away, and Jeff is asleep, holds too much sadness, and I would do anything to have him back for just one more night, curled up at the end of our bed.

But there are things to look forward to, and life has to on. In a little over a week we’re both volunteering for the Yukon Quest, the 1,000 mile dog sled race that has a 36 hour lay over here. We’ve got a couple overnight shifts at the check-in point, a couple shifts at the vet shack, and even a shift serving up food. It’s going to be a fun few days!

I’ve also just booked my next trip for work. At the beginning of April, I’m going to Ireland!! My job has been full of change lately too. I’ve switched teams and roles, and will be going to meet with my new team in Dublin, Ireland for a week. I’m now doing support for people using the Jetpack plugin on their self-hosted WordPress sites. It is really challenging, with a steep learning curve. I’m really enjoying the new challenge, and I’m using many of my hosting, programming, troubleshooting skills that were getting dusty. I’m leaving behind my work enforcing Terms of Service for for the 16 months or so. It was a role I enjoyed, defending free speech, pushing back on lawyers and governments from around the world who wanted to sensor material we host, while also eliminating spam and illegal material. That meant I spent time every day looking and reading the worst the internet has to offer: crime scene photos, porn of all kinds (including child), text full of hatred and abuse, photos and videos of beheadings, terrorist threats in all sorts of languages, animal abuse, images of dead and mutilated adults, children, and babies, death threats, and other gore. I feel like I had some sort of defense mechanism built in to deal with it, and once I switched to my new team and was away from it, I was suddenly overly sensitive to violence and violent imagery for a couple weeks, no doubt some sort of delayed reaction to the horror.

That is the wonderful thing about my job, we can change it up from time to time, and carve out a new role for ourselves and our skills, finding new ways to support our users. We’re all different. Some people prefer the comfort of continuing to work at a role they’ve mastered, while I always prefer to have a challenge so I’m constantly learning new things.

And I’m going to Ireland 🙂