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kris4956

The Guilt

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My wife and I lost the first pet that we had gotten together as a couple in 2006. She hand picked our Sadie from a litter of newly weaned Bijons. She quickly became our baby, and over the years, became my wife's companion. OMG she was a yapper. Nobody would be able to get close to our home without Sadie hearing them and stayed vocal until she found out who it was.

In 2011, I broke my back and began a life staying home. We had 3 dogs and with my being home all the time, forged a unique friendship with each one. I was so heavily sedated at night, there was times when i would wonder if i would wake up the next day. So began what would become a morning time ritual of snuggling each dog and thanking God for giving us a new day.

We have been blessed to have 3 healthy dogs. In the 12 years we had Sadie, she was never sick. Monday of this week, she was fine. Tuesday night, she started acting different. Very early Wednesday morning, she was panting rapidly, like she was in pain. Our vet opened at 8am. It was only a 20 minute ride to the vet. My wife and I were talking about ways to make her more comfortable when we got back home. She never made it to the vet. She passed away in my wife's arms. My wife told me, she has stopped breathing. I grabbed Sadie's head just in time for her to see me before her eye's rolled.

We've cried and cried. I've looked at my Nest Cam videos, just looking for something I missed. What did I miss? How did she go downhill so rapidly? The vet says she died of congestive heart failure. 

I know time heals all wounds. I know tomorrow will be better. I know I have 2 other dogs who need me to hold it together and not scare them. I'm just consumed with guilt.

Thanks for listening.

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@kris4956,

I am so sorry for your loss.

I just lost my best friend, Greenbean, on Sunday in a tragic sudden accident that fully could have been prevented and I absolutely cannot live with myself. He was there one minute, I turned my back, and the next his innocent, beautiful, precious life was taken from him.. all because of my stupid oversight and negligence. He was so young. I truly cannot live with myself and I don't even know how to be on this earth when he's not here. He is all I want and I can't have him. He died a horrific and brutal death all alone.. terrified and scared.. crying out for me.. me.. his protector.. the only one he trusted and loved and I couldn't save him. We spent every second of the day together and I can't grapple with him not being beside me.

I know there are no words to make anything better but reading other stories has made me not feel so alone. There is absolutely nothing you could have done to prevent her death and you did not miss anything and you did absolutely everything in your power to help her. You took her to the vet as soon as time allowed and there is nothing more you could have done to save her. She not only died in your wife's arms, she died surrounded by love of the two people who gave her the most special life she ever could have had. She knows you loved her and did everything you could for her.

One of my dear friends told me last night that his cousin is in really bad shape with congestive heart failure and there is nothing they can do for him. This same friend also very suddenly lost a very close friend to congestive heart failure last month. These two people are humans who have the ability to say what is wrong and who can do everything in their power to stay alive and even they couldn't be saved. I promise you that you did everything you could and Sadie knows that and she loves you.

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I cannot say it any better than you have, ArM48, and I hope that Kris will take your words to heart. Just because he feels guilty does not mean that he is, in fact, guilty as charged. Feelings are not facts, and they aren't always accurate or rational.

You haven't yet shared the details about your own loss of your best friend Greenbean, but I gather from your post that you're also struggling with the guilt that often stems from a sudden and accidental death. I hope that, as you say, reading stories similar to your own will help, if only to demonstrate that you are not alone. I also invite you to read the following ~ and note the links you'll find at the base of each of these articles:

Grief and The Burden of Guilt

Guilt and Regret in Grief

Guilt In The Wake of A Kitten's Accidental Death

 

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I'm sorry for your loss. So very sorry. I'm crying reading your story. I'm a 6'2", 270lb guy. I'm the tough cookie in our family. I was more at peace with my father passing away than I am with losing Sadie. We knew for a long time that my dad was very ill. Like your loss, it just happened. One day there, the next day gone. 

Out of my 3 dogs, she was the only howler. I could start howling, and she would join is. Thank God for the mobile phone. I have hundreds of pictures and videos of her.

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kris,

I am so sorry for the loss of Sadie.  I know how close we get to our dogs, it's the hardest thing in the world to lose one, I know my own's days are numbered as he is almost 11 and a large breed, and it scares me I will have to go through the loss again, as I lost my husband 13 1/2 years ago and I've lost countless pets over the years.  I try not to think about it too deeply but I know it's coming and my cat is 23 right now.  I try to focus on the present moment and enjoy each moment with them but in the back of my mind it's like I hear time ticking down also.
My close friend, Jim, has CHF, A-Fib, and pre-cardiac arrest, and it scares me that I will lose him...any time.

I love the picture in my mind of you and Sadie howling together.  My son has always had Siberian Huskies, also howlers and we've had great fun getting them going.  My own dog doesn't howl although he takes after the Husky in other respects, he's Siberian Husky/Golden Retriever.  :)

I hope you will read the articles Marty posted, I also like these ones:  

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf 

http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

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@MartyT

Thank you for sharing those two links. I've learned in the last couple of days from strangers on forums that I am suffering from acute trauma and PTSD.. which I never knew even existed after a pet's death. I have laid in the same spot for the last week.. I have been able to occupy my time with YouTube for now, but the very moment I put my phone down, I realize my loss and I realize that life will never again be the same without him. I don't know how to go about seeking help when I know that nothing I do will bring him back..... 

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@kris4956

The fact that you, as the tough cookie in the family, is having such a breakdown over her loss just proves the love that you had for her and that is so special. She undoubtedly knows how much you cared for her and I know that you gave her the best home she ever could have asked for..

While I am no one to send out any advice at the moment,  I do realize that the coping and functioning of daily life as people who lost our beloved best friends completely out of the blue, is much more traumatic than losing a pet at old age or a prolonged illness. As well as you, I have said goodbye to family members, friends, and many pets in my 30 years of life, and never in my life have I felt this type of loss, guilt, sadness, pain, emptiness, and longing. 

I am glad that you and your wife loved Sadie so much and that you both are able to cry together and support each other through this. That is so important. I have seen many stories over the last week where people in marriages and relationships feel hurt and ashamed and alone because their partners (and even family) do not have the same compassion that we do and do not understand why this loss is such a profound one. They tell them to get over it or get a new pet or say that it was just an animal. I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be to have to hide your feelings of anguish. I hope you both are able to heal together. It is what brought the three of you together in the first place.

And if this is any consolation.. I am still on a leave of absence from work because of how traumatized and devastated I am, so I promise that you two are not alone.

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I hope you will reach out and make an appointment with a grief counselor asap.

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