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Living with Loss

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I have been care-giving Arlie for so long, I feel at a loss now, like empty.  I'm used to getting up early and cooking for him, taking care of his needs, and in return he gave me so much joy and love!  I am getting choked up even now.

I've ordered a memorial stone for him and can't wait for it to come.  I called my go-to guy and left a message, I need some elderberry branches cleaned out around the grave and my arthritis isn't cooperating with my doing that kind of work anymore.  Waiting for a call back.  I need to nudge the roofer again about the pen roof, it needs flashing and I've been trying to get him out here for two years!. 

Spent hours washing Arlie's bed & furniture covers, trying to air the house out of the cancer smell.  I'm missing my baby, I don't know what to do, I took my first "alone walk" last night, I hate it.

Mary you are so right...he is that perfect one for me just like my husband was...there's no replacing that, but I hope I find a dog that resonates with me someday that I can have...it'd never replace Arlie, not looking for that, it doesn't exist.

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On 8/15/2019 at 8:00 AM, kayc said:

Actually, they told me it's to determine if he NEEDS euthanasia because they can't kill animals that still have quality of life.  For every law there is a reason and I shudder to think someone would put down an animal that is in good health (my mom did). 

I just  hope it goes well...when we had Lucky euthanized, she fought it.  That was a horrible memory, I've never seen an animal do that before.

My sincere apologies for the lateness of my condolences - we've had a major, days-long email outage going on, hugely disrupting service across 2 provinces. So firstly, let me say how sorry I am for your loss of Arlie, Kay. I know he was such a huge part of your world and heart.

To catch up, just a brief response to the above, past post that I missed getting...it's called "killing for convenience" and shamefully it happens an awful lot, in both the US and Canada. So it's good this clinic was taking that precaution. I'm also quite familiar with why some animals fight it, but now is not the proper time...

"I have been care-giving Arlie for so long, I feel at a loss now, like empty.  I'm used to getting up early and cooking for him, taking care of his needs, and in return he gave me so much joy and love!  I am getting choked up even now. "

I remember that massive emptiness very well, and believe I'd detailed much of that here when I lost my Nissa-girl, who, if you remember, I loved and cared for for close to 20 years. To me, it's one of the most sickening, jarring and most difficult feelings in the world to have to deal with afterwards. I was a total basket-case after each of my furkids' transitions, but especially Nissa's, mainly because she was the last to go. It can take a long time to gradually develop a new (albeit unwelcome) routine each day, but it does eventually happen. You might get there sooner than I did. 

You're right, there is no such thing as "replacing" anyone (at least, not if they were actually loved; those who didn't care, really do just indifferently "replace" animals), but having others later, when the time is right, can help in certain ways. But nothing and nobody else ever truly fills that void of the one/s you loved so deeply, fully and best. (it's vital though to carefully plan well ahead for any other animal's continuing care should we predecease them, particularly as we age) 

There really aren't enough words to describe the anguish of loss, but as a fellow (and current) griever, know that I "get it." And sweet Arlie-boy...please send your mom an unmistakable sign she can't possibly miss, to let her know you're fine now and ever with her in spirit. 💞🐕

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4 hours ago, kayc said:

I hope I find a dog that resonates with me someday that I can have...it'd never replace Arlie, not looking for that, it doesn't exist.

Kayc,

I too hope that one day, in the not too distant future, that you can find another dog to love and be part of your life.

Never to replace Arlie, but to be a devoted and loving companion, and to know the joy of the wonderful home and boundless love you would bestow upon him/her.

 

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Kay,

It's so hard when we've put everything we have into caring for someone, and then they are gone.  I've spent hours and hours researching whatever disease or illness my husband had or my dogs had.  And then when they passed away, I didn't know what to do with myself.  Our lives revolved around them, and now there is nothing for us to do.  There is no purpose any more.  Somehow, I guess we need to find something to fill that void, but I'm not sure how to do that.  Nothing else seems important.

In time, you will bring another dog into your life.  I think you're like me - you need a dog in your life.  I hate to admit that I kind of rushed into getting another dog after we lost our last female Cavalier, Molly.  She is probably part Cavalier and while she is a great dog, she doesn't have the personality of my other dogs.  But she was very close to my husband, so that was a good thing.  With Allie, it was just like you - love at first site.  You'll find the right one when you're ready. 

I think I may have posted this years ago when I lost my little Allie, my heart dog, but wanted to post again.  I think it says it all.DSC01079.thumb.JPG.064539ada685a24645e6ca8513cf9446.JPG

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Mary,

Your tombstone is beautiful!  I will be glad when mine arrives.  My son had the forethought to mark the edges of the grave so I could know where to place it.  My beautiful boy, my heart cries for him!  My walks will never be the same, I used to enjoy walking alone before I met Arlie, but now, they are empty and void of meaning, just something to be done.  My heart hurts and I cry out for my little boy!

Maylissa,

Thank you for your kind words, I'm sorry you've been through the email problems, that's the issue I have with texting, I never did get my son's texts from during the February storm!  Lost in cyber-space.  You've been a valued member here for so long, an animal advocate and expert that we all treasure.

 I think I'll be waiting a long while for the "easier part" to begin, this is so painful!  I haven't stopped missing Skye from six years ago, I don't know how to do this, no matter how many times I've been through grief, it takes you and slams you with a fervor nothing can equal!

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This morning I am having a hard time even breathing...I keep holding my breath...then have to remember to let it out.  This home is a shadow without him in it.  I don't know how to eat without giving him the last bite.  The cat is ill replacement, she's just not Arlie.  

I had no part in creating him, this wonderful funny loving beautiful creature!  God took him home...I thought this was his home...this place with his bed, his bones, this place he shared with me, but I guess his home is in heaven, he was just loaned to me.  I hoped it'd be forever, any thoughts of losing him someday and I'd push them away...now I'm left to face them starkly and cannot push them away.  i wallow in them, they are the pains of grief, of tremendous loss!  The knowing he was the most wonderful dog anyone could have and he shared his life with me!  

I've lost weight.  Food is tasteless.  I put it in my mouth and try to swallow, but it's lost it's allure.  Walks are no longer an experience to share, they have lost their luster, they are just something to do, something the doctor says I must.  How do you wake up each day knowing it will be filled with pain!  The agony of sorrow!  It is my companion, sleep is a relief! A brief respite before facing this pain again.

Why must love carry such anguish!  Am I doomed to lose everyone dear to me, everyone I love?!  Why do others get to have more years than I?  Am I not worthy to have and hold one I love, one more day, one more year?!

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You are more than worthy, dear Kay. You know better than anyone that grief is the price we pay for love, and the greater the love, the deeper the pain. I am so very sorry that you are in such pain, but we both understand why. Your love for Arlie knows no bounds, and neither will your pain. Lean into it, feel every bit of it, and know that you are not alone. We are right here with you, hurting with you, loving you . . .  

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4 hours ago, kayc said:

 

Why must love carry such anguish!  Am I doomed to lose everyone dear to me, everyone I love?!  Why do others get to have more years than I?  Am I not worthy to have and hold one I love, one more day, one more year?!

kayc: You are going through something right now that I can not say I know how you feel.  The pain sounds unbearable.  In my past I have lost fur babies and know how difficult it is to make that decision that it is their time but those times I have my beloved husband to help me through the grief.   Living alone now I get nauseated when I let my mind take me to that time when I will have to let my Maddie go as you were with your Arlie. 

Your question, "Why must love carry such anguish!" is a question I ask myself daily.  Unfortunately we will lose everyone dear to us eventually unless God decides we go first.  

You must know you are worthy to all of us here.  Keep breathing.  Dee

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Kayc...

...I feel your pain..quoting: " Am i doomed to lose everyone dear to me, everyone I love? "

I feel exactly the same as one by one my loves have been taken from me..i too feel as if i am being punished...but i know there is a reason why you and me are the only ones left, there just has to be...our God still has a plan, a use for us, well i cant think of any other reason that makes sense..

Jackie..

 

 

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Kay, the only thought that ever truly helped me feel a wee less soul-shattered about my furchildren going, was that at least it was me drowning in sorrow, and not them. Had I predeceased them, I absolutely know deep down in my soul that they would have suffered horribly, and probably would have died (at core) from broken hearts. I couldn't have abided THAT thought at ALL. At least they are free of troublesome bodies now and always send signs of support to their dear ol' Meowm when I'm going through rough times.  😻😍😻 Still, I wish I could just shed this physical shell, to fully and forever be with them, instead of being stuck here experiencing physical loss after loss after loss. Despite everything I've learned and experienced about Continuing Life (or the Afterlife, as some call it), nothing much helps with the missing of daily, physical presence and interactions of loved ones.

It's good you're actually sleeping, though. I never got any respite there in the first several months. Without my girl snuggled into to my chest and arms as close as she could possibly get without blending right into my body (as we had always gone to sleep every single night after her brother's passing), I would awake at night and have to get out of bed, collapsing beside it while heaving and gushing tears, moaning in anguish, and unable to even catch my breath...with little to no comfort provided by my H, so was basically alone with it. (my H has Mindblindness, among other undeveloped brain wiring) My heart would be physically squeezing and stabbing me so badly, I thought -- and then truly HOPED every time! -- I might die right then and there from a heart attack. (turns out, the ~20% of the population that are Sensitives/HSP's, like me -- scientifically, it's called "Sensory Processing Sensitivity" -- commonly feel emotional pain this strongly in the heart) Although I didn't learn about this trait of mine until years later, the Communicator I later hired to connect with my Nissakins directly received this observation from her during our session, as a very personal validation of my girl being aware of what I'd been experiencing because of her passing. This became yet another confirmation that even the most painful things can end up holding blessings in disguise...in this case, confirmation that Nissa was STILL WITH ME, just not physically as we normally experience it.

I always wish the same kinds of revelations for anyone experiencing great pain and feelings of loss.

So naturally, I'm thinking that (as happens more than most people become aware of) your cat may actually become a conduit of such a blessing in disguise. While I understand that your heart resided mainly with Arlie -- and that doesn't have to change -- please don't discount what your dear cat may also bring to you. For instance, Arlie may actually come through her in unexpected ways IF you allow for it. Cats are both highly sensitive and, as all animals are, innately in-sync with the unseen realms. As such, they respond very favourably to those who are willing to acknowledge, or at least be openly curious about, their nature and abilities. And she is likely hurting too, and missing Arlie in whatever ways. Since they did live together, there existed a relationship dynamic between them, as well as a household dynamic, both of which would have shifted for her as well now. She may need you about as much as you need Arlie. But if you think of her as "ill replacement," she's going to pick up on that on every invisible level, and may even become ill from it, resulting in your having to deal with added stress, and potentially sooner loss, too...neither of which you need added to your plate right now! Currently unbeknownst to you, she may just end up providing you more evolutionary purpose to your "new normal" than you can even begin to imagine now in the midst of your heavy sorrow.

Just so you know, part of my mentioning this is because it happens to be echoing my own circumstances, due to the close cat friend I'm grieving over right now. He was callously ripped away from both his biological feline mother (they were clearly a BONDED pair, making that alone a Big No-No!) and their canine companion, his entire lifestyle, the home he was finally returned to after being lost for 8 months' time (not that his people searched or even cared 😡), and of course from ME, his nearest and dearest human friend. His feelings were never considered in this matter, and I'm quite sure the relative he now resides with elsewhere is wholly unaware of, nor could care less about, how this has adversely affected him. And he had chronic illness to begin with (developed during his "lost" time, as I knew him before then, as a kitten), despite only being 2-3 yrs old, so I'm afraid he may also suffer an early death from all of the tragedy heaped upon him.

And yet, mere weeks later, another community feline of unknown whereabouts, but in emotional need, has already been sent my way. And she's not taking "no" from me for an answer, so I'm slowly caving into her sweet insistence. So I'm quite sure I and yet another undervalued cat will end up suffering over the loss of our relationship at some point, whether through abandonment, death or relocation. I absolutely dread the future these days, with little resilience left after all these incessant heartbreaks, where I was never allowed to adopt some of these neglected cats.

The Grand Lesson in all this??? At this point, I don't know anymore, as neither have I learned how to love and care deeply, yet not allow internal suffering because of it. Worse, I cannot stand to see any nonhuman being suffer needlessly from lack of love or understanding. And oh my, here comes "Pansy," as I'm calling her, now. Time for some connection....

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I think I've been so sleep deprived leading up to his death, my body is collapsing at night...woke up at 3 am to the sounds of the battery backup beeping and fan stopping...electricity went out.  Called the church and outgoing message was on so I drove down there, only to discover the whole town was out, so that was a wasted 20 miles.  Finally it's back on but the senior site was canceled today so i guess I'm home for the day.  The first thought that hit me was what a problem this could have been if Arlie was alive because I cooked for him.  

Kitty is not a replacement for Arlie, never could be, but that doesn't mean I don't care about her.  She's not affectionate, seems only interested in demanding what she wants (Easy Cheese), but I'm hoping we get a bit closer, she's very different from any cat I've ever known, but I understand her as I know her backstory.  Arlie was very interactive, very in tuned to me.

 

 

 

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Today I walked Joe, a neighbor's new-to-her dog...he is 11 1/2 years old like Arlie, a Chow, he's deaf and going blind.  We did well together but of course I am missing Arlie...Arlie was wild-eyed and curious about everything and of course had to mark everything.  Joe is mellow, a sweet dog, I'll walk him again...she has 3 dogs and two babies, she has her hands full.

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

Today I walked Joe, a neighbor's new-to-her dog...he is 11 1/2 years old like Arlie, a Chow, he's deaf and going blind.  

I'll walk him again...she has 3 dogs and two babies, she has her hands full.

kayc: You are a perfect neighbor.  How kind of you to help this young Mom.  I have hired a dog walker for Maddie cause my knees are giving out on me and I can't keep up with Maddie.  Maddie gets a good 30 minute walk twice a week and loves the dog walker. 

As we have learned on this site, it helps us deal with grief by helping others.  You are special.  Dee

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“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. You’ve nothing to worry about there.” 
― James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small

I'm just now reading this Kay, and like with all the other, no words help.  I am so sorry.  

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I think she knew it'd help not only Joe, but me.  My pain is unbearable.  Everywhere I look, Arlie should be.  I should be walking him, cooking for him, taking him for rides.  I should be looking over at his smile.

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