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I suspect that in this difficult year of 2020, as you say, we're all feeling as if we're "living some sort of twisted nightmare" ~ and we all need something to hold onto as we struggle to find our way.

Have you ever read Viktor Frankl's brilliant book, Man's Search for Meaning? If not, this may be the time to do so.

And in addition to those articles that Kay suggested, I encourage you to read these as well:

Replacing A Pet Who Has Died: When Is It Time? and

Finding Meaning in Your Loss ♥️

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Here is my sweet little girl. 

@Anappa, Thank you for sharing your beautiful reflection. "After months of thought, I’ve come to realize something beautiful I thought I would share.  Tonight is no different from any other

@Connor'sMom I’m very sorry to hear about Connor, what a beautiful puppy he was.  Routine is truly a gigantic source of pain as it relates to coming to terms with losing such a special part of th

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Kayc and MartyT, thank you both for your responses, you have both helped tremendously this year with your replies and articles (I read them all as you suggest them).  I know reading all these posts and responding to them takes quite a bit of time and I think it’s important to both recognize that and thank you for it, it really is very appreciated and has truly been helpful.  
 

I have not read the book you suggested MartyT, but I just purchased it and will begin reading it upon its arrival.  From what I can tell, it was a fantastic and very applicable suggestion and I’m looking forward to it. 
 

Our children are currently 2 and 3 so we have not seriously considered a puppy at this point (beyond my own reservations) simply because of the stress and potential harm the kids would cause to him/her (boys are ruthless at this age).  In fact, Kayc, your suggestion of me making clear it is HER (my wife’s) dog is to the letter the position I have already taken. Also, I do appreciate you elaborating on your position regarding not replacing Arlie - perspective is something I think we all struggle with, heaven knows I do and I’m always on the hunt for other opinions, experiences and points of view to calibrate my own as a result.  At any rate, I would never deny my wife the joy she can have from another companion, even if I myself am conflicted by it.  Also, I am truly happy to hear that you have found happiness with another puppy, that is wonderful and uplifting.  We will have another I have no doubt, I just don’t know if I personally have anything left in the tank to give, so to speak.. I really, truly loved Abby and the way it all ended just ... crushed me.  (I can’t even stop the welling tears from blurring my screen as I type that nearly a year later). 
 

This frame of mind is most likely a result of multiple hard hits in rapid succession and positioning myself (yes, it is my own fault even if I didn’t plan on it) as the “familial rock”, so to speak.  My biggest problem is that I can very easily intellectually sort this, I see all the cause and effect, I can trace the path and trajectory of nearly everything that has happened but emotionally, I’m just feeling helpless.  I suppose if you combine the endless need for resolution and detailed description of an engineer, the typical denial of emotion of a man and the bubbling cauldron of feelings we all have (particularly during bad times) it may somewhat describe the ping pong ride I’ve been on this year.  I just hope the tragedy can hold off long enough for me to get a grip on things.   

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1 hour ago, Anappa said:

I have not read the book you suggested MartyT, but I just purchased it and will begin reading it upon its arrival.  From what I can tell, it was a fantastic and very applicable suggestion and I’m looking forward to it. 
 

Wonderful. Good for you. Another one you might find inspiring is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner ♥️

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1 hour ago, MartyT said:

Wonderful. Good for you. Another one you might find inspiring is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner ♥️

My goodness, I just spent a half hour reading the excerpt of this book in the description on Amazon.  That book too, is on its way - what an excellent suggestion, thank you.  While I am not an unreligious person by any means, I am firmly rooted in a concrete foundation of reality, logic and reason (this is the way god made me, one would say) and it certainly creates a difficult dynamic in which to find comfort or closure particularly, which appears to be both shared by and addressed extremely directly by Kushner. 

I’m very much looking forward to reading these books.  If there are any others you might suggest, I’d love to hear about them.  

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19 hours ago, MartyT said:

I have that book and read it years ago, before I lost my husband.  I've been through a lot of very hard places in my life and it was very helpful.

Thank you, also, for sharing the article 

22 hours ago, MartyT said:

I have that one save too now. ;)  It's a short but very good article, I think the message is so true.

@Anappa Your response is very thoughtful and rich.  I can tell you're someone who gives careful thought to things.  Take your time with this and do listen to your inner thoughts and gut.

You know, in the beginning of my journey with Kodie, I didn't think I could love him like Arlie...and I can't.  He's not Arlie, there will never be another Arlie.  There are no words full enough to describe my love for Arlie.  He is my soul dog, for sure.  I've heard others refer to this once in a lifetime connection as a heart dog. https://www.dogmomdays.com/what-is-a-heart-dog/

But Arlie goes even deeper than my heart, he is my soul, we understood each other so perfectly.  He felt what I felt and vice versa.  We connected on an amazing level.  I truly loved him with all my being.  

My love with Kodie is different, I feel like a protector, like mom of a newborn baby, only now he is that of a toddler.  Teaching him what's allowable, what isn't.  But very much a protector of him, if anything happened to him my heart, which I've discovered has regenerated...not as it was, but something new, would be ripped out of me.  But such is the price of love.  I do not want to give in to FEAR.  To do that would be to let something tragic and horrible govern me, my life, my responses.  Courage is to proceed in the FACE OF FEAR.  I do not see man's role as not ever being afraid, but proceeding in the face of it.  We all face fear.  We all face tragedy.  This year being the prime example.  I can't bubble-wrap myself and avoid all of the bad in life, it comes to us unbidden.  Right now I have severe pain in both hands for 7 1/2 months now and am in need of surgery...the first one being my right (dominant) hand November 9...I have no one to help Kodie and I through recovery.  I have to load a wood stove for heat, get the wood up on deck from about 100 ft. away, get groceries, cook, dishes, etc. like everyone.  Kodie seems to think he can't do his business in his pen or yard, so I've been walking him twice a day and taking him out on leash the other times.  Can I do this left handed?  I will have to.  But I remind myself of all of the hard places I've faced alone before...surgery two days before Christmas 2014.  I made it through.  I am missing my Arlie.  If my husband were still alive he would take such good care of us, but it's up to me to survive on my own now.  I will have to call on neighbors to help me as needed and frankly, I'd rather anything than have to ASK for help!  I'm independent, self-sufficient.  I've been on my own for many years now.  Kodie is like a lifeline for me, not able to help me, but my emotional support, he's been with me through this pandemic, he is my incentive to keep going.  I do this for us.

This morning I saw in the video section this video, it resonated with me...the lessons I've learned through my grief journey in these last 15 years have been rich...and revealing.  I've no doubt, as painful as it is, it will be that for you too.

 

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You asked about other books, this is a favorite since beginning my grief journey, and that of many others, whether religious or not...he is authentic and knows grief as one who has known love.

https://www.amazon.com/Grief-Observed-C-Lewis-Paperback/dp/B00OHX6N8O

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