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My best friend all along

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I scramble for words to say.. I have never dealt with much death in my life until last night. I had to let go of my 15 year old golden retriever, Jasper, who I was fortunate enough to spend 13 years with. The difficult decision to euthanise him came due to natural cause.. my boy was old, he couldn’t stand, his back legs were no longer working and his body was shutting down.. he was ready. It was so painful to see you still smiling, you never showed any emotion other than overly happy.. you made my day, every day.
 

My bubbly boy.. I was 11 years old when we picked you up..  I won’t ever forget that day.. it is embedded in my brain. Your years saw me through the end of primary school, all of secondary school, university, you shared me with my first love, who you also fell deep in love with, my mental health battles, everything. Only on Saturday, the day before you passed, I was telling you that I bought a house that day! You were deaf and couldn’t hear me but my excitement made you smile and dance!

 I never stopped to realise that you were always waiting for me.. always.. for 13 years all you did was wait to see us to make us smile.. then patiently wait for us to come home again and do the same.. you were so selfless. There was never a day that I came home and you weren’t waiting for me. We have been overseas for 3 weeks and you waited until the day we came home to say goodbye.. thankyou for waiting.. 

I have never felt pain like this. My chest hurts and my stomach and legs are so tense, even after 24 hours. I can’t eat.. I can’t sleep. I want to lay out in the garden where we buried you and sleep and talk to you.

I can’t smell you anymore, I can’t sleep again tonight, I can still hear you walking around and panting. I ran out before at 11pm and scrimmaged through your drawer to find your leash, covered in your hair.. holding it close to me for the night. I want to hug you, I want to smell you.. I want to physically feel you again

I miss you so much it hurts. My heart is so full of the memories, but so broken. Thank you for loving me unconditionally.. you have changed my life. I love you so much.

I know it is natural, but if anyone has any helpful ideas to help the grieving please let me know. I am terrible at coping with physical loss.

 

RIP my baby boy 

01.03.05 - 15.03.20

 


 

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I am so sorry.  I know Golden Retrievers to be some of the best dogs in the world, sweet, gentle, loyal.  My Arlie was Husky/Golden Retriever, the best dog I ever had, perfect.  I laid him to rest seven months ago today.  I understand your wanting to lay down by his grave and talk to him...I talk to my Arlie a lot, he's buried in my back yard where I can look out the patio door and see it.  My 25 year old cat, Kitty, has been gone 2 1/2 months, she is buried next to him.  

I have lost so many:  My husband, grandparents, aunts, uncles, niece, nephew, parents, cousin, sister, friends, and many animals.  Losing my husband and Arlie were the hardest.  I coexist with my grief.  I wrote this article about ten years after my husband passed, of the things I've learned on my grief journey.  I hope something in it is of help to you either now or sometime down the road.  I do know we experience a lot of pain and it must be felt and expressed to process our grief.  It helps to keep a journal or some write here.  I wrote about Arlie and my journey with his cancer and subsequent euthanasia in Living with Loss, Pet section.  

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

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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Here are some photos of my boy Marty ☺️

Thankyou for your kind words.

 

 

Kay my heart aches for you - I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to send me all of the information you have. It is overwhelming knowing that there are complete strangers who do know what you are going through and can let you know it’s okay to be devastated.

I think things have been a little harder considering all that is going on in the world at the moment I am confined to my home for 14 days since recently being overseas and must work from home too. It’s hard not initially being able to get away and have a breather.. I see his hair everywhere and I keep seeing things in the back yard that I think are him.

I know I will get through this eventually but had never grasped how hard it would be to lose a pet.. I guess you really don’t know how significant they are to you until you don’t see them all the time.

 

I think I will start to talk to him.. I went out tonight and just told him I missed him. It was a little too hard to do at the moment. Maybe after some time I will feel more comfortable going over to him.

 

Thankyou for your kind words and thoughtfulness.. You have really helped me feel like I am going through something but not alone.

 

 

A28939DB-DF0E-41A7-9D35-A6E86DB9D582.jpeg

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Oh, your sweet baby is beautiful!  My Arlie got some wavy fur from the Golden side too.  And I loved his smile.  I called him my soulmate in a dog, he was everything to me.  I used to just sit and gaze at him, he was so beautiful and always smiling.  Yours reminds me of him.  IMO, loss of a beloved pet can be one of the hardest losses there are, and all the more so because they're part of our everyday lives, routines, interactions.  Yes, we get through this, but never to be the same afterwards.  Grief changes us.  I've heard it said by many that they don't sweat the small stuff now, it's all relative and now they know what's important.  To me, dogs are the best creature there is, we can learn much from them, how to live in the moment, and accepting things as they come.  They give and love wholeheartedly and forgive without reservation.

Yes other things going on only add to our overall feelings, these are tough times.  Wishing you comfort and peace.

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Thank you for sharing that lovely picture of your boy. Such a sweet face ~ and he is being so patient with you as he sits in that bathtub!

I know it seems as if you're all alone in your pain, especially during this time of self-quarantine ~ but I assure you that here, even if it's only in a virtual way, you are surrounded by animal lovers who've been where you are now. (See Saying Goodbye to Beringer.)

You might use some of this time to do some reading about the grief that accompanies the loss of a beloved animal companion. (I became interested in the topic several years ago when my precious cockapoo Muffin died, and I was astounded at my own severe reaction to that loss. I read everything I could get my hands on, which at the time was very little indeed. Much has changed since then, thank goodness.)

Here's a list of all the articles I've written on the topic: Pet Loss  ❤️

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It is so sad to lose a beloved pet, and to lose one with whom you grew up with must be especially hard, because he was always there for you. I feel for you.

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I can’t be more thankful for your kind wishes and helpful words.

Time will certainly heal and I can’t wait for the day I see him again 😊❤️

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