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Still miss my Allie


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Today is 4 years since I lost my heart dog, Allie.  It seems like she's been gone forever.  I came to this forum 5 years ago, after the sudden loss of one of my other Cavaliers, Lucy.  Since then, I have lost all 4 of my Cavaliers and also recently, my husband.  I haven't even been able to post about his loss.  It's all just overwhelming to me.

I do have other dogs that I love dearly, but they don't bring the joy those 4 Cavaliers did.  Some days, since my husband passed away, they are more stress than anything - as much as I hate to admit that.  My Cavaliers, especially Allie, were very intuned to us, as well as close to each other.  My current dogs are more to themselves.

I so wish Allie was here now to help me get thru the loss of my husband.  She was such a joy to me - so loving and gentle.  Even after 4 years, I can't think about her without feeling sad.  I know others say they reach a point that they can look back and smile at the memories, but I don't think I will ever feel that way.  She was relatively young (9 years old) when she died, and I feel like we were cheated out of time together.  I know others have said they just appreciate the time together, but I guess I don't look at it that way.  I do try though to not let the resentment control my life, but it is a struggle some days.

I've read some other posts here about how Spring can be such a hard season when you've had a loss.  I feel that way, too.  As much as I hate winter, Spring has brought so many conflicting feelings.  If I block everything else out, it's so nice to see the flowers and trees starting to bloom and the sun shining.  But then, it seems like that shouldn't be happening because my little dogs aren't here running out in the yard or my husband out cutting the grass.  It all seems so wrong.

I would like to thank Marty for this wonderful forum.  Even though I don't post often, I do come here almost daily.  It is the one place where people truly understand.

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Oh Kacy, I'm sorry to hear you lost your husband too!  Mine has been gone nearly 14 years and it seems both like yesterday and forever at the same time.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

I remember your thread from so long ago...I'd had to look up Cavalier because I wasn't familiar with it...they are BEAUTIFUL SWEET DOGS!  Unfortunately  they don't seem to live long lives.  So unfair!  Same with Golden Retrievers, which my current dog is half.  Arlie is my soul mate dog and 11...his breed lives to 9 (Golden Retriever) and 10-12 (Siberian Husky).  I love the Huskies but know I can't ever have another because that would take me into my 80s and I frankly wouldn't be able to handle one at that age, they're mighty powerful strong, large, and require a lot of exercise.  It saddens me but my next dog will have to be smaller and I know it'll never be my Arlie.

I do want to add that when I lost my husband George, Lucky (dog) started acting out, which was very unlike her.  It took my daughter pointing out to me that she was grieving.  I made a point of giving her extra attention to help her through it and realized we were in this together.  https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2018/06/pet-loss-supporting-your-grieving-pet.html

I hope you will eventually see your way to the loss of spouse section, it might help to know there are others that get it and understand.  You would not be alone here.  I want to share with you this article I wrote about ten years after losing my husband, things that I've learned along the way, hoping something will be of help to you.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.





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Kacy, my dear, let me add my voice to Kay's in saying how sorry I am to learn of the death of your husband. You are bearing a very heavy burden indeed, and my heart reaches out to you in your pain.

I understand your not being able to recall all the good memories you've shared with your Allie, especially at a time when everything is being filtered through the lens of overwhelming loss. If and when you feel able to do so, might you try recalling and then writing down some things you loved about her? You might begin with just a list ~ for example, a list of some of the nicknames /  terms of endearment you had for her? Or a line or two describing some of the funny or silly things she used to do? Or the traits that set her apart from all the other dogs you've known? The best part of writing these things down is that it's a way to preserve those memories while they're still fresh in your mind ~ and you can come back to them any time in the future because you have them in writing. (I did this after my precious Beringer died, listing my favorite memories along with all the silly pet names we had for him: Beri Boo, Boo Bear, Biggs, CC Biggs, Beshus One, Pancake, Seedheart, Doober, Dooby Dooby Doo, Tankus, Fuzz Face, Butter Butt, Baby Doll Face, Pillow Dog, and Buppy Drawers.) Total nonsense to anyone else, but they carry so much meaning for me, and remembering them warms my heart. ❤️

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KacyC - Thank you for the thoughtful tips.  The one that hits home the most is to take one day at a time.  If I try to think beyond that, it is very depressing right now.  BTW, I've read many of your posts and every time I do, I can't help but notice the love and joy in the picture of you and your husband.  It is so obvious how happy you both were together.  I'm so sorry for your loss.

I, too, have had to go with smaller dogs because I'm starting to worry about even being able to handle one of my bigger dogs if, in an emergency, I would need to pick them up to put them in the car.  I still have one dog that would be difficult for me to handle by myself.  As for the lifespan, I have had a few dogs that lived beyond the life expectancy for their breed, even with serious long term illnesses.  My one English Setter, Cody, lived to 15 1/2, even though he was dxd with diabetes at 9 yrs old.  His breeding was probably not great either as he came from a puppy store (before I knew where they got their dogs) and actually came from MO, one of the puppy mill capitals of the US.

Marty - thank you so much for your kind words.  When I lost Allie, I truly felt like someone just reached in and ripped my heart out.  She and I were so close.  Having her here now would have been so comforting to me.  I do like your idea of writing down my little nicknames for her and silly things she used to do.  I guess I just don't want to feel the sadness though - which is why I think I just push thoughts of her down so I don't have to deal with them. 

Sunday, the 28th, is our wedding anniversary.  So, it will be a difficult day.  Ironically, 4 years ago on that date, we spent the day picking up Allie's body from the vet's office and taking her to a vet school for an autopsy, due to my concerns about her cause of death.  It is all still so painful to think about.

Just one other thing.  Our Cavalier, Lucy, died in Feb. 2014.  That Mother's Day, I was out in the yard thinking of Lucy and there, along our fence, was one little violet that had grown under the fence from our neighbor's yard.  She had planted the flowers in her flower bed close to the fence about 20 years prior and this was the first time one had ever appeared in our yard.  The day Allie died, the following year, I went out into the yard to walk around when we got home from the vet's.  I was just beside myself.  As I walked around in the yard, I looked down and noticed all of these tiny blue flowers growing in the yard that hadn't been there before.  The day after Logan, another Cavalier, died in October, 2016, I found one little violet right in the middle of the yard.  Violets usually bloom in the Spring, not in October.  Now, a few days ago, I was out in the yard again, and I see that the violets have started growing all over my lawn, just sprouting up everywhere in the grass.  I'd like to think they are a sign from those I miss so much.


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I totally believe they are a sign for you!  I had something similar happen...George and I met through writing (I'd written a letter to the editor and George looked up my contact info and responded to me) and he'd mentioned "the smiling flower" which was a pansy...ever since, pansies were special to us.  When we got married we had pansies in a hanging planter and they did beautifully the year he died.  I live in the mountains where there's harsh cold winters, snow, and none of the flowers survive, I have to plant new ones each year.  One year to his death, I found a pansy growing beneath the corner of my patio (it's on a hill so the patio is on stilts)...it's nigh impossible for that to happen, for it to germinate and survive the winter snows and pop up like that!  I believe it was a sign from George that he is with me still.  I hope those violets bring you comfort and peace.

Last year I'd just purchased a used car and it was costing me right off the bat...as I was walking from the car repair to my office, I saw a pansy growing up through the cement sidewalk!  Again, extremely improbable...I also took it as a sign from George, letting me know the car decision was going to be okay (he knew my anxiety), and it has been!

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I hope you are both right about the flowers being a sign.  It's just so odd that they would start to grow all over the backyard when the neighbor had planted them about 25 years ago and they never did that before.  This year is the most ever - just big patches of them all over the grass.

Kay, I remember you posting about the pansies growing under the patio.  The one growing in the sidewalk is just amazing, especially because you were so anxious about your new car.  Just too much of a coincidence.

I love your story about how you and George met.  What are the chances of that happening?  It was definitely meant to be. 

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Thank you, Kacy.  I feel it was fate.

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