As I've mentioned, I'm leading a "Healing Through Journaling" course at the prison. Tonight's lesson is intended to reveal how we gain insight as we write, as we journal. I end each class with a piece from my own journals. This one illustrates quite well, I think, how I gained new insight and understanding as I wrote it. Not the cheeriest piece, consider yourself warned. I've been crying for hours now having reread it for the first time since 2006. I wrote this in February 2006. The event itself happened in April 1993, thirteen years prior to me writing this.
Yes indeed, I gain insight from journaling.
We got Booper on October 31, 1992. Oh how cute she was – a full-blood Boxer, but without the papers. It was Halloween night and we had a party at church. Stephanie was Pharoah’s daughter all dolled up in costume jewelry and make-up carrying Baby Moses in a willow basket. Christopher was David, complete with a sling-shot. Funny, but I don’t remember if we got Booper before the party of after.
Right after the litter of puppies arrived I chose Booper. She had a smushed nose. Of course all her sibs did, but her snout was black setting her apart from her brothers and sisters. I loved her black face, – a feature I later learned eliminated her from being a show-dog. Not that Booper was ever headed to a show ring, but interesting how the feature that first attracted me to her was also the feature that proved she wasn’t perfect.
A rich couple (or maybe they were just generous) from Austin, I can’t even remember their names knew I wanted a Boxer and bought her for us. All I had to do was go and pick her out. Christopher and Stephanie wanted a dog and we haphazardly prayed for one when we remembered. Once I learned we were indeed getting a puppy, I kept it a secret from the kids, but encouraged them to really pick up the praying for a dog. I was trying to rig a situation where they knew God answered their prayer. I thought it was my duty as a mom to teach them that God answers prayer. Now I realize God can teach my children those lessons without my manipulating things to “help Him out”.
We brought her home that special Halloween evening and began to smother her with our love and affection. I had no sense regarding training a dog to be a good house dog. I loved her so much, but looking back, I realize she had a crappy life. Just this very moment I realized that. Boxers have lots of energy. I didn’t give her opportunity to work off that abundant energy. I loved her, I held her, patted her, talked to her, let her sleep with me, but I can’t remember every walking her. I hope I did, but I can’t remember it.
I traveled some during those days. I guess it was Mama that went and fed her on those days. Oh, I wish I weren’t realizing how lonely poor Booper felt. I’m learning it right now. I worked, I traveled, oh my goodness. Why has this not haunted me before? I loved her, honestly I did. What a fool I was! How could I be so stupid and never realize her needs? Poor Booper. Poor, poor Booper. I thought her hardship began in April, but right now I’m seeing it began the day I got her. Oh God, how has this realization escaped me all these years?
In April as things were seriously heating up in our custody battle, my nerves were shot and getting more shot by the day. I was a class-act basket-case. The day I left CMA for good, on poor terms, it was a terrible terrible day. My kids, the Roses, K & J, Gordon and Becky, everyone it seemed, was against me. My world was crumbling all around me.
On a misty night I was overwhelmed with life. I didn’t think I could handle one more stress. Booper had a dog house outside. She had never used it, she’d always slept with me. My yard wasn’t fenced so she had to be on a chain. I had never put her out for the night, but I was crumbling and was in “no space” for her.
As I lay in bed, she whined and barked and begged and pleaded to come inside. I laid there thinking, “It’s time you learn to use your dog house, Booper.”
After breakfast the next morning, Stephanie went to feed Booper. Booper didn’t move when Stephanie called. Steph in a near-panic told me Booper wasn’t moving. I went to see. She was dead. She strangled in her chain. It was all my fault! I left her outside and I left her on a chain. The blanket I had put in her doghouse got twisted in the chain and eventually strangled her. This would have been when she was begging, pleading, whining, and barking for me.
I collapsed into a crazy crying breakdown. I scared Stephanie and Christopher worse than Booper’s death did. It all hurt so much. It was all my fault. My selfishness, not wanting to deal with her that night, killed her.
God, I’m so sorry. Booper, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Please know I wouldn’t do it again.
I would walk you. I wouldn’t leave you in the rain. I wouldn’t make you stay outside that night. You died young Booper, but today for the first time, I realize that I gave you a poor life. I’m so sorry. Maybe dying young saved you a long, poor-quality life. I loved you Booper. I was too stupid to know how to love.
God, are there areas in my today that I’m so very stupid in and don’t even know? God help me.