Tag Archives: siblings

The White Dog… Goodnight

Pickle has left us, and our hearts and Augie’s are still missing her. It’s been nearly two months, but I just wasn’t able to write about this until now because it still feels like she’s with us. Many of our friends and family know, and now it’s time to let everyone know—it wouldn’t be right to let Pickle go with no tribute.

The sadness of losing her has been gradually easing a bit the last couple of weeks, and so many memories come up, so much love. There’s so much, too much, not enough to say.

Pickle was nearly 13 and had a lot of health issues: Cushing’s disease, heart problems, high blood pressure, arthritis… and it all seemed to pile up on her the last few months of 2018. She had a stroke on Christmas Eve, and spent the next four days in the ICU. We were able to bring her home on Friday the 28th, and she got to sleep in her own bed one last time. But on the morning of December 29th, she let us know she was done.
She went so quickly and easily, and seemed so very relieved that she didn’t have to fight anymore.

Pickle was a skittish little oddball when we brought her home in April of 2011. She hadn’t been abused, but had been neglected and then surrendered when her parents had a human baby, and for her first couple of weeks with us, she seemed to find it hard to believe that she could pretty much do whatever she wanted now.

It didn’t take her long to warm up, though, and claim her place as princess of the household… and the universe.

And she took a page right out of The Princess and the Pea: If she wasn’t given a cushion on top of a cushion to recline on, she’d arrange her own (often with Augie’s assistance). She required many, many blankies to be piled upon her, and taught Augie about how good that was.

Before Augie arrived, Pickle would curl up in a ball between us in bed, not much bigger than a dinner plate, but would somehow expand during the night until we were clinging to the edges of the mattress. Then she’d move down to the foot of the bed, grunting like a little pig the whole time until she got comfortable there. She’d then wake up in the wee hours, stand up under the covers, and plow her way out, hot and panting. And it would start all over again. And when it was all of us in the bed, the dogs got the lion’s share.

As befits a princess, her preference was to lie abed until about 1 PM. She’d deign to come downstairs late in the morning to be served breakfast and then go out in the yard, but after that it was straight back upstairs for the remainder of her beauty sleep.
When Augie came home about 18 months later, Pickle’s princess status was disrupted by a spunky Orange Dog who seemed to want to always be touching her (gasp!) and attempting to play with her constantly. For about a week, Pickle was not having it. Then suddenly they were best buds, and Pickle started getting a lot more exercise and really came out of her shell.
She learned that binkies were to be played with instead of stared at, the yard was great for romping and wasn’t just a giant bathroom…

…and that there was definitely something to be said for sleeping in a pile of dogs and humans.

The best part was watching her always win at tug-of-war by virtue of being the bossiest, and running around the yard with Augie in the pattern they’d developed, part of which was pretending that the row of trees and plants on the hilly side was an actual barrier that guaranteed immunity from being tagged, even though it was easily crossed.

Pickle gradually slowed down as she got older and some health issues began to appear, and she moved herself to her own bed next to ours and claimed it for her throne. She let Augie share it often, but preferred her own space and would grunt and poke her legs out until Augie gave up and got in bed with us.

But then we’d often wake up in the morning with both of them in our bed, staring us in the face. Best mornings ever.

The last year or so, Pickle didn’t play much anymore, but would still occasionally chew a new binky, remove its guts, and then lose interest once the job was done. But she never lost interest in the Friday Night Treat Ball, and was better than Augie at figuring out how to get the treats out of the ball quickly enough to go “help” Augie get the rest of her treats out, too. And whenever the Scottish binkies from Linda arrived, Pickle reverted to puppyhood and perked right up.
Pickle didn’t love everyone like Augie does, but aside from us, she had a few favorite people and would climb onto their laps when they’d visit, then sit there staring and gently poking them with a paw to indicate that yes, it was recommended to keep petting her… or else. And of course, Dad was always Most Beloved, even when he wasn’t awake enough to realize it.
She wasn’t always the best-behaved dog. But she definitely knew she was special and easily took advantage of us in that… and she deserved pretty much everything she got away with anyway.
Our little White Dog with the orange freckles, the twinkle toes, the pink nose and gumdrop eyes, the beastly breath, the bad habits and stanky face. The snoring princess. The Orange Dog’s and Daddy’s best girl. The spoiled-rotten little alien with the stick legs, chicken thighs, and constantly wagging tail. Pickle Pie, Chicken Leggy, Gigi, Piculier, Twinkletoes, Jickle, The White Dog, Princess. We love you and always will, and we miss you so very much. Our baby girl.


“Come back here, you chicken-leg bastard!”

The Pie, 2005-2018


I Guess I’ll know by August 8th

Or not.

I just walked out to the kitchen before starting this, passed by the photo of my sister on the wall, and said some bad words. Not said some bad words at the photo (or my sister), just said some bad words ‘cos I knew I was coming back here to try to write and that it wasn’t going to go really well.

Blog not going well since sister died, eh?

I keep telling myself that this [writer’s block thing, don’t call it that — okay]… lull is due to… mmmwhat?

To be fair, it’s not just since my sister died. Oh, wait — I was going to say it’s also because I seem to have lost interest in some things (a lot of things) I had mined for blog posts before. Problem is, that seems to be most things at the moment. Other problem is, “at the moment” has lasted almost a year now.

Of course, it helps to remind myself that I have like 2.5 followers, so that’s okay.

Or not.

What’s kind of freaking me out is that it seems pretty easy to blame my lack of blogginess on my sister dying. And on the other hand, it seems like not blaming it on that is denial.

So, like I said… I guess I’ll know by August 8th.

Or not.

Yesterday, Wendy

Dianna, June 26th, 1961 – August 8th, 2011

It is complete now, two ends of time are neatly tied
A one-way street, she’s walking to the end of the line
And there she meets the faces she keeps in her heart and mind
They say, “Goodbye…”
Tomorrow, Wendy is going to die
~Andy Prieboy


It’s been nearly six months since she died, and though I don’t think of it often now, when I do it’s hard to believe she’s gone for good. That’s been my overall feeling: kind of not real — more surreal. Knowing that my sister has died is so strange, but a friend of mine helped it make sense by saying that Dianna had died a long time ago for me, so this disconnect, while strange, isn’t unusual to feel, I guess.

What I don’t know is usual or unusual is the feeling that this only happens to other people, other families — especially those in fiction — but not to us. Because it just hasn’t happened to us, in our immediate or extended family, but for once that I know of. My cousin Leslie died in a fire, in the early ’70s, before she was 16. Though we knew her, she lived across the country and we rarely saw her. It was a remove, to us kids at least — though certainly not to my aunt, or to my cousin’s sister. Other than losing Leslie when she was a child — in a horrible way for her and her family and everyone who knew her — we’ve been lucky. People in our family have died in both normal and bad circumstances, but other than my cousin Leslie, no one has died before their time since my grandparents and before (some of my grandparents and great-grandparents died before age 70, but several lived well beyond that). My maternal grandmother lost a few of her many siblings when they were very young, but unfortunately, that wasn’t uncommon at the time, back in the late 1800s/early 1900s. And to me, now, my sister being gone… that feels like more history than family.

The most difficult part here is that I feel I should have way more grief and guilt than I do now. Dianna spent years killing me on the phone — it was one of her favorite activities. I think I’m still recovering from that — no, wait, I’m pretty sure I never will, really, because you can’t get or keep me on the phone since, without pain for both you and me (see Telephone Thing).

I’ve been trying to write this as some kind of tribute, tried to make it prettier or better than it is or was, and it hasn’t worked. Not going to happen. And it’s fucked me up for blogging, obviously. I got stuck at Dianna and haven’t been able to get past her to get back to writing (it has felt disrespectful to try to blog without getting this in first, or out of the way — I know that sounds bad, but there it is). Which, thinking of it, was what life was like with her until I stopped contact about 2 1/2 years before she died.

She was abusive, manipulative, unhappy, bitchy… and that’s all without the alcoholism. The drinking just made that all worse, and I had to separate.

Problem here in the blog is that it’s about me, not her.

So, for what that’s worth — not much, I think — my poor, delicate, unhappy, funny, freaky, annoying sister drank herself to death just a few short weeks after her 50th birthday. I’m glad that she’s no longer abusing (and taking advantage of) me, my mom, and my youngest brother. I’m so thankful that she died in a lovely morphine haze with her family around her (I was there for the last month or so of her life, and she was able to recognize me a few times before the morphine took over), that she spent her last few days gently inhaling and exhaling, and then just did not inhale again. That it was not painful for her — that’s most important.

I feel bad for my parents, my brothers, my sister. The only reason I feel bad for me is that I don’t feel as bad I should (or as bad as probably a lot of people might think I should). But too, I feel bad for me that I lost my sister who was, at the times she wasn’t horrid to me, witty, clever, pretty… and basically just special in her own way, which to say is in the same way that we all are to the people who love us (even if they don’t always like us).