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Miss Akasha


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Our sweet beautiful girl passed on yesterday.. She had a cancerous spleen removed back in April, and a biopsy revealed that it had not spread to her liver. With acupuncture and Chinese medicine she had a high quality of life for 8 more months.....and then a couple of weeks ago she started to decline. The ultrasound revealed that her liver was full of cancer.

I have been dreading this for almost the past twelve years... I knew that she would not stay with me forever, and I drank in every sweet smile, every loving look, every silly, joyful moment of her life. I got her when I was 19, and I'm now 32, and pregnant with my first baby. She has driven cross country with me numerous times, been there through my worst heart aches, countless moves...she and her sister, Jellybean, wore periwinkle fairy wings at our wedding... She loved, and watched over me, and forgave me for all of the ways I love imperfectly...and she trusted me whenever she needed help...whenever she was hurt.

My girls (Jellybean and Akasha) go absolutely everywhere with us, and they're both widely known, and deeply loved.. They are both incredibly sweet and loving golden retrievers, and where Jelly is childish and playful, Akasha is mature and maternal... They balanced each other out. They were a matched set, and together with my husband we were all a team.

On Sunday Akasha had finally quit eating and drinking altogether, and we knew it was time....but she kept perking her ears up at us every time we walked into the room...even though she was starving and dehydrated, and her body was shutting down, she still expressed excitement at our being near... I talked to our vet, and she thought we could give her one more day to see if she would pass on her own. I came downstairs at four in the morning to lay with her...her breathing was so weak, but she moved her body in close to mine... I laid there spooning her until 6:00 am, and then I left to give her space in case she wanted to go on her own... When we came back down at 7:30 she was convulsing, and her lungs sounded full of fluid... We knew we had to act right away, because she was suffering so much... Our wonderful, kind vet came over to help her transition... Our sweet, gorgeous baby died in our arms, looking into my husband's eyes.. I grieve because I thought when she was done she'd be so ready to get out of here...but she still wanted to be with us so much... she laid in my arms as I watched her labor breathing cease, and her little nose stop moving... and then she was gone.

This dog has taught me so much about unconditional love - how to give it, and how to receive it... that's what our pets do for us, and that's why they rip our hearts out when they leave.... Like I said, I've been dreading this almost her whole life, and in some ways I'm glad because I don't think I took one moment for granted....but I guess I couldn't truly fathom a world without her... I still can't wrap my head around the fact that she went some place that I couldn't follow (though at the moment I wanted to). I would do anything, spend any amount of money to ensure her well-being and safety....but I couldn't do thing about her body giving up on her.

It feels so unreal....like it's somehow going against the rules of nature...something is terribly wrong. How can the world exist without her? There is still so much we had to do together...

Finding this online forum, and connecting with the fact that other people are living in this twilight zone of grief, loss, and bewildered despair.....it helps me immeasurably... I feel so frightened now that I'm living in the world where such a thing could happen to me, to us...and I am so terribly frightened of the fact that this is going to be a long, hard road of healing. All of you sharing your grief helps me to see I am, we are, not alone... that I did not let her down somehow by failing to find a way around her mortality. To hear that your sweet loves were all so desperately precious to you helps me to not take this personally... This is just life... I am not being punished.

I am so grateful that I have my other sweet darling Jelly, my unborn child growing inside, and my loving, dear, wonderful husband.....and I am also grateful that I have a support network of friends and family that truly understand what a devastating loss this is. I know from past losses that you never 'get over' losing someone you love. You just learn to cope with the loss... It's never 'okay'.. I just know that there will come a day when this grief won't take up all of the sky, and all of the earth... when i will no longer feel this horror slithering through my body. I know some day that acceptance will come....but for now I just need the universe to know that it's not okay. I want my girl back. This loss is too painful, too unfathomable to bear...

Thanks for listening...

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Your words are so eloquent, I can hardly match them in a reply...also because your story has my eyes crying and my heart renching with sympathy and kinship. I'm so satisfied to hear that you spared no expense for your dear girl, Akasha, as that's so rare, but we've done it, too, for our kidlets. It is a wonderful thing though, that you made the most of every moment with her, something I didn't do as consistently as I should have, until we lost our furboy. I learned very quickly then to practise this as much as possible with our girl, and yes, it is a blessing.

I honestly can't write anything more at present, as it still tears me apart to read about each and every treasured furchild that is lost. I do hope, though, that you'll keep coming back to receive support and understanding for your loss...and maybe I can do better for a response next time. sad.gif

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Dear Skyebean,

Your post touched me so deeply that I had to reply. I agree with Maylissa that you express what you (what we all) are feeling so very eloquently. I can feel the pain coming through so clearly, but also the gratitude for a life so full of love! Thank you for introducing us to your wonderful girls. Akasha and Jellybean sound like exceptionally sweet puppies! They certainly brought a host of wonders to your lives and you to theirs! How lucky you've all been to have each other! I'm so glad for you that you're surrounded by loving family and friends who understand the depth of your loss. That is of critical importance to our healing and one of the reasons that I'm so grateful to have found this site.

I, too, know the intense pain and bewilderment that you're feeling. My beloved Winnie girl (nearly 17-year-old calico kitty) passed two months ago, and the first few days (weeks) were nearly unbearable. Life seemed completely pointless and I felt utterly lost. Everything that made sense about my life seemed to leave with her, and all I wanted in the world was to have her sweet, warm, fuzzy body back in my arms again. There is something so intensely personal and hard to accept about losing a furbaby, in part because of they are so wise and teach us so much and offer such devoted, unconditional love, and in part because they are so dependent upon us to care for them. Their very health and well being is in our hands, and it can feel like a failure when, despite our best efforts to care for them, they leave us anyway!

I know exactly how you feel about doing everything you can to keep your furbabies happy, healthy and safe. I also will go to any length to ensure these things for my little furry ones. But, sometimes we just have to accept that their little bodies just aren't designed to live as long as ours. My Winnie girl held out for me for a long time, despite the fact that her poor little body was giving out on her (she passed from complications from cancer). Since her passing, it has given me such comfort to think of her healthy and happy and completely safe in Heaven! I know she's there, watching over me, and glad to be free of a body that was letting her down.

You are such a wonderfully compassionate person to have done all you could to help Akasha pass in the most comfortable way possible for her, at home, surrounded by love! Jellybean and your new little bundle of joy are so fortunate to be in such loving hands!

I'm still in the first stages of my grief journey, so I'm not sure how much comfort I can give regarding the healing powers of time, but I have found that I'm making small measures of progress every day, and that I've come to understand things about love, life and the afterlife that I apparently wasn't ready to understand before the loss of my beloved girl. Now, I feel a complete acceptance of the reality of Heaven and I believe totally that I will see all of my loved ones again when the time is right.

I wish you and yours peace and comfort at this terribly difficult time.

Hugs to you all,


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Skyebean, Maylissa, Eliza - I've written a couple of you before, and you have so lovingly replied to me with words of love, compassion, understanding, encouragement. We are all in this together. As you know, my beloved Meow-Meow left me last Tuesday, 10/25/05, after 16 years of a wonderful, loving, life together, and she too, went to sleep in my arms, I held her very close the last 45 minutes of her life here on earth, and I miss her so much, the pain at times has been so unbearable, as you all write.

I also am not at a place where I can reply back as eloquently as you all have done, but I just offer my heart and my sorrow.

When my dad died in 1989 at the age of 48, for a couple of years, I would have these wonderful dreams about him, I'm convinced that God gave me those dreams to bring me comfort and peace. I've been praying I would have dreams like that about Meow-Meow, but so far I haven't, but, this morning, my husband, her daddy, told me he had a wonderful dream about her last night (we're still sleeping in the living room with her ashes), that she came to him all perky and happy and healthy, she came to him as a ghost in his dream, and that he was petting her and was confused that he could "feel" her knowing she was a ghost/spirit, and I told him, that was your comfort dream from the Lord, that she is happy and healthy and perky, she wants her daddy to know it's okay, and that she loves him and will wait for both of us in Heaven.

I too completely believe our furbabies will wait for us in Heaven, 100%!

Everything you have written on this post is everything I have been feeling and experiencing, so, as you all mention, we are not alone, we are in this together.

Any of you can write me any time: tracy.herbert@phs.com or tracyeh@deanith.net

In Loving Memory of Meow-Meow,

Tracy (Meow-Meow's Mommy)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Guest_Skyebean_*

to those of you who have replied, and those of you who have read my post about Akasha - thank you so very much... i am so sorry for of you for the profound losses you are also coping with. i am grateful that you are sharing your stories, and being witnesses to my grief. thank you for reading about Akasha, and our family, and for understanding our loss...

i have spent the past three and a half weeks doing all i can to grieve mindfully....to allow it all in, and to allow it all to move through... i am having the most amazing experience of literally feeling her with me - not a yearning sadness - but a real presence... i think of her so much, and smiles actually cross my face. i truly feel joy in those moments...

and in the same breath i am dancing with anxiety... i have experienced loss before, but nothing like this one. i lost my mother two years ago after her lifelong battle with alcoholism, but it did not give me the lessons i am learning from Akasha now....perhaps because i am starting a family of my own.. i feel, in a way i did not grasp before, the fragility of life.... and at the same time the tenacity of life, and love. i guess what that amounts to is heaping amounts of feeling both helpless (hence the anxiety), and grateful (hence the joy).

i have feared for so many years that when Akasha died that i would no longer be able to breathe...or walk... and yet, here i am breathing...walking...working...relating...creating... i thought that i could not function, that in fact life would be meaningless when i was living it with my heart broken wide open. but my wise girl is teaching me what i think the most important lesson of my life is - that living life with your heart broken wide open is the only way to live it fully...

in a poem on Love, by Kahlil Gibran, he talks about how Love is for your growth, so is it for your pruning..and ' if you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure.......then you'll shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.' and it is in the place of accepting the full spectrum of Love that i can be crying all of my tears right now, but feel so sustained by all of the joy that the love we shared contained. when i am feeling like cocooning myself away from all that would cause me to experience further loss i am reminded of the immense power of what it is to love fearlessly.

our pets give us the priceless gift of the space to love fearlessly. we never have to fear shame, or rejection...humiliation or malice. we give them our hearts totally because we are totally safe. what i am learning from Akasha's passing is that that Love is never gained or lost. it is about a choice to be made in how i live my life... if i'm willing to live with my heart broken open, willing to risk loss, willing to risk the inevitable damage to my ego that human relationships bring - then i will never truly love anyone i choose to love like that.

i don't mean to say that i won't experience the pain of loss... my sorrow still takes up all of the sky, and all of the earth. her absence from my life has left the ground under my feet quaking day and night... and at the exact same time she is here with me. not a ghost whispering to me. she IS the love she taught me to open to...and the more i have the courage to open to it, the more present she is with me...

thank you so much for listening to me collect my thoughts, and for witnessing my process through grief....as you all journey with yours.



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I could listen to you all the time. You are an inspiration to me, even after just a short time in your mourning period, as compared to 6 years in mine for my Sabin ( and 2 years for my Mom and brother ). It's funny...an energetic healer had told me, way back, to try as best I could to sink down into the deepest part of my grief and that's how I'd find the most healing. I tried at the time, but just couldn't do it because it hurt so badly. But because of your words and recent experience, now I wonder if I would have had the same feeling of my boy being right there, too, had I been more courageous.

You speak of the wise way of living with a heart broken wide open, and I know inside what you mean, but I haven't been as successful at it as you seem to be. I know the value of living that way, and have experienced some of the wonders of that path, yet my heart still shrinks at times, in fear of more pain. At the same time, I'm still one of those individuals who 'wears their heart on their sleeves'. It's a constant battle between the two forces...fear and love. You're to be commended for being able to live that way, especially in the throes of your grief. Your unborn child is very fortunate, to have a mother like you to pass on Akasha's great lessons to him/her.

Our furkids are truly remarkable in their willingness and ability to love and teach, aren't they? Who could NOT have the utmost respect and love for them? Well, plenty of people - those who have never opened their hearts to all they have to offer, if they would but watch and listen. On this Thanksgiving holiday ( for many of you, though not us in Canada ), may we raise our glasses in a toast to all our wonderous, blessed companions, those in form and those in spirit, those who have blessed our lives by their presence, to those who live free and wild whom we haven't known personally, and those who have been bound to suffer at the hands of man. They are all potential healers and teachers ~ may they all be blessed and continue to teach us. Namaste!


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