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Feeling Dead Without My Beloved Zeke


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I know my grief is nothing unique but after three months I seem to be feeling more hopeless about the future. I am going through the motions of living, but feel like a fraud because I doubt that I shall ever experience the degree of happiness I experienced in the presence of my magnificent Zeke. He was 16 when I decided to euthanize him and I feel as though I have been utterly traumatized by this experience, even although we were fortunate that it was a"peaceful" death at home. I am alone at home with no family and my friends have had quite enough of my grieving. I was told to "take a pill" by one of them. I know it's im[ossible to comprehend another's grief so I try to forgive them. I worry now that my heart is permanently out of commission...especially relevant because I have a sweet little dog I rescued off the street two years before Zeke left, and now I cry almost every time I touch him and I know this is afffecting his dear sweet soul. He and Zeke were not particularly bonded as Zeke saw him (Masashi is his name) as an interloper and only tolerated his joining our home. Zeke and I werer apart a total of three days for all the years we were together, so he

was used to and expected my undivided attention, although he was incredibly sweet and gentle with Masashi. I wonder

if Masashi woukld be happier with a different, happier and more appreciative human. I treat him really well but am

so sad so much of the time and he knows. Seems unfair to him, he's such a great dog, but I was so in love with and physically attracted to Zeke-he was a wild terrier type gorgeous orange fur TV dog...Masashi looks are not what attracted me...I feel so inadequate for Masashi yet also love him and would probably die now of loneliness, although feel as though this is what is happening anyway without the presence of my beautiful Zeke.

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Dear annezeke,

I'm so terribly sorry your precious Zeke has left, and that you're feeling so "inadequate" for your remaining furbaby, Masashi. I was maybe only one 'shade' off where you are now, after my own beloved boy, Sabin, died and I needed to keep caring for his sister, Nissa, who also became very ill from his death. The difference between our situations is (only) that I also love Nissa just as much, but it was still very difficult simply because she wasn't him, if you know what I mean. I wanted both of my furkids here!

It took me about 5 months for it to finally click in that I had to choose LIFE, for both Nissa, and myself ( less so for myself, though), as she needed my utmost care in order to keep her around as well....and it wasn't easy, as she'd become very anorexic over her brother's death, plus had developed chronic kidney failure, and also respiratory problems for a time. The last thing I wanted to have to be doing in my intense grief was looking at more illness, and possible death right away!

However, I have to say, in retrospect, if not for having to take such good and diligent care of her, I don't know that I would have 'come out of' my grief-induced 'stupor' at all. It turned out that my girl nursed me as much, if not more, than I nursed her. I even remember the day that I made the decision to choose Life for her and myself.

It was a simple day, like many others. She'd finally started dragging me to our old spot across the street ( after 2 months of warm weather where she was simply, uncharacteristically, staying in our back yard rather than exploring the Spring sniffs, nooks and crannies ), even though she wasn't yet playing, but merely sitting in the tall grasses. I was shedding tears, as usual, feeling worse because I was 'ruining' her attempt at bringing us back to life, and it just hit me, while gazing at her, that I couldn't do such a disservice to her...she was trying to recover and I wasn't. I made up my mind in that instant that I had to replace at least some of the images of death with visions of her and I experiencing sparks of life again instead.

And from that day on, she really began to show me what we'd been missing. It wasn't even that I'd just not been able to see any enthusiasm, but that she actually started doing her old things again, and gained energy for play. I realized I had to focus more often on those more joyful moments, for her sake, if not for mine. I still didn't really care if I lived, except for not wanting to ever leave her without me, as my conscience wouldn't allow me to abandon her needs. The pain in my heart was simply overshadowing the love I had for her, even though I knew it was still there.

And while the intense grief still lasted ( for me ) for 2 years, with the 3rd year still being quite difficult, but not quite as debilitating, I finally got to the point where I could feel just as intensely happy with, and for, my Nis'...despite the hole in my heart.

You also mention the physical attraction aspect. Similarly, while both of our cats really are beauties ( no, not just a Mom's bias - everyone has always said so ), and of course are siblings, they each have their differences, so I recognize the feeling you're talking about. I'd always felt that, between the two of them, I'd gotten every, tiny characteristic that I'd ever wanted in a cat, both physical and otherwise. While Sabin was so classically - beautiful and sleek, Nissa is more a combination of cute and pretty, and more satiny and plush. So I was still missing my 'other half' terribly much...I just PINED for Sabin's own particular characteristics....and still miss them, even 6 years later, but it isn't killing me the way it used to. Similarly, too, like you and Zeke, the 3 of us were a tight team, and to have any one of us gone, was an impossible concept and reality to accept, for a LONG time.

But now, 6 years later, with my Little Nis' having just turned 19, versus Sabin's early departure at 13, I've shared a TON more of Life's ups and downs with her, she really came into her own after she recovered somewhat....and I honestly consider this aspect to be one of those silver linings of bad events. If not for this, I never would have gotten the HEAPS of unabashed LOVE from her ( Sabin could be rather a bully with her, so she'd been holding back her demonstrations of affection until the 'competition' was gone ), never would have seen how much like HIM she could be, given half a chance! THAT part I wouldn't trade the world for, despite how it came about.

She's also been the one to get me through the worst parts of grief over my Mother's and one brother's passing just 2 years ago. Again, if not for her, I never would have made it as far as I have in this newer grief. And while I fully admit I've had more difficulty again in not being able to keep my heart open since my Mother died and have allowed, once again, to let fear and grief dominate in our home, I usually forgive myself as best I can and try once more to NOT close my heart off to my girl. And the fact that I've put her through this pulling-away more than once, yet she responds immediately whenever I lay that aside, just ends up making me love her all the more....again....and you know...it DOES always feel much better than the alternative.

It often strikes me that a.)it might be true what they say, about there being Divine Purpose in events ( even terrible ones ) and timing of same, and b.) there really IS a reason some things happen the way they do. I'm still terrified of losing her, as there will BE no more furry love to rescue me from the grief of her absence and I will feel completely alone then, but still have a bit of hope and trust that in time I will discover some sort of good that comes out of it.

In the final analysis, I truly believe that our beloved, and even not as beloved animal companions, are here to show us 'silly humans' as much about Life as we'll allow them to, given that half - a - chance. Unlike us, their hearts almost always remain open to love and if we're wise enough, we will try our best to emulate them. They are here to teach and to help us heal - of that I have NO doubt. In fact, there's a book I think might be good for you at this time, called "Animals As Teachers and Healers", by Susan Chernak McElroy, where this is illustrated many times over. I read it soon after my Sabin passed, and although it pulled at my heartstrings, it was worth it.

I'm also sorry you've had to be exposed to those who don't understand or respect the depth of our love and grief. I must say, I find that particular comment to "take a pill" one of the harsher ones I've encountered ( though not the worst I got, nor the worst I've heard ). There are simply too many people who demean our experiences and lives with our furbabies, which I almost don't understand, seeing as there are millions of 'pets' in North America and at least a decent percentage of their guardians must love them, else there wouldn't be so many products being sold for them. However, ignorant masses aside, you've come to a good place for understanding here. You'll not hear such indifference from this group!

Please share all you like here, good, bad and ugly, as so many of us have been where you are now and we understand your pain. I found writing here helped me move through the pain easier than not, and this applies to ALL of my losses. There might be a certain empty spot in your heart for Zeke that can never be fully filled by anyone else, but you know, your heart can also expand untold times and amounts to make room for other loves and even joys, around that hole. I will always miss my Sabin, but my love for his sister has grown as much as it has for him all these years, even without him here. Love can't die; it can grow or stay the same, but never leave.

Edited by Maylissa
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