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10 months later I feel like I should be doing better

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It's been 10 months since my dog passed away.  He was with me all the time, even at work.  We were the best friends you could imagine.  As close as two beings could be - we just adored being together.  He was very healthy and a month shy of 9 years old  when he passed away. We were on a walk in the woods together and he just sat down, looked at me and was gone.  It was a beautiful day, in his favorite spot, with me and no pain, so in some ways, it is the way you would hope anyone you love passes away. I, and quite a few other people, including paramedics, tried to save him, but he was just gone in a flash.  They think it was a respiratory event (he was a french bulldog so the snub nose can cause complications).  Sometimes I am fine, and then other days or moments, I feel no further along in processing the loss than I did that first day.  I don't know if I am actually processing it at all.  I feel like I should be more ok than I am.  I miss him so much it is still unbearable.  And i feel like my heart doesn't fully believe that he isn't coming back - i just can't wrap my mind around it.  I understand this more in the beginning, but I feel like I should be doing much better processing this, and being ok without him, than i am.  

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I'm so sorry for your loss, my dear ~ so sudden, so unexpected. You say you don't know if you've actually been processing this loss ~ which leads me to ask what you have been doing to help yourself. For example, have you considered finding and joining an in-person pet loss support group in your community, or talking with a grief counselor who specializes in pet loss? Done any reading about what is normal (and therefore to be expected) in the grief that accompanies the death of a cherished animal companion, to help you better understand what you're feeling and why? Done anything to memorialize your dog, to honor and preserve his memory? See, for example:

Pet Loss: Is It a Different Kind of Grief?

Finding Support for Pet Loss

Pet Loss: Why Does It Hurt So Much?

Memorializing Pets We Have Lost

Pet Loss: When Nothing Eases The Pain

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Thanks so much Marty.  I have done some of the above suggestions.  Most especially, the memorial to him.  Which I treasure.  I think sometimes it just surprises me that, 10 months later, it still can hurt some much at times.  Some days I am perfectly fine, and then other days I cry a lot.  Thank you for your support and for this site.

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It can hurt for a long long time.  I lost my husband nearly 14 years ago and it took me years just to process his death (also sudden).  You think it's any different with a beloved pet that you live with, share your everyday life with, have rituals with?  It takes quite a while to get used to the fact that they're not there, the empty bowl on the floor will not be eaten out of again, you'll never hear them scratching at the door again...and going for walks alone just doesn't seem right.  If they slept with you, it can be hard to sleep!  I had to go to sleeping in a recliner, our bed was a reminder of who I was missing.  We do adjust, little by little, our brain finally realizes they're gone and no longer expects them at the door.  But we continue to miss them and naturally can cry years later.  Memorials help, it's a way of putting a positive spin on something so sad, a way of honoring them, showing love to them when we can't in the ways we'd like to.

I don't know your personal beliefs, but it helps me to continue with the faith I'll be with them again, that hope means everything, it's my lifeline!

I want to say I am sorry for your loss.  I am still missing my Skyedoggers...my beautiful sweet granddoggy, Skye, all these 5 1/2 years later.  I no longer cry, but the missing-him-pain is still in my heart.  And my sweet Miss Mocha (cat) who has been gone nearly three years...little things remind me of her and what I am missing...cats are so unique, I know I'll never have another one like her and that makes me sad, she was truly special. But I'm so thankful I was able to have each and every memory with them in my heart and life!

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Thank you so much for your kindness and for sharing with me.  Though I am very sorry for the losses you have had as well, I take a lot of comfort in knowing that this is normal to still feel this way.  You are right, he was with me all the time and was the biggest constant in my life, and to me, animals are no different than people, and feeling his loss 10 months later is normal.  Though I wish we didnt have to feel this pain, how lucky am I (and it sounds like you are too) to have had such wonderful beings in our lives.

Thank you so much for writing to me.  

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Oh this is not only very normal, but common when we have close bonds with our furry family...or anyone we love!

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