Sunday, July 31, 2016

Grief

We put our dog down on Friday.  Our beloved Bailey Lou.  She was 15, a chocolate lab we'd had since she was 2 months old.  Today is 15 years to the day we brought that round little puppy home.


July 31, 2001.  Little 2 month old Bailey

Friday was literally the absolute worst day of our lives.  I knew it would be incredibly sad and painful, but I had no idea. I'm almost embarrassed by how hard I'm taking it.  We were able to have a vet come to our home so that she would not be stressed in her last moments.  It couldn't have gone better.  We believe it was the perfect timing.  Her life had recently crossed over to having more discomfort than joy.   We saw a rainbow.  All signs and experience pointed to it being the right decision on the right day.

But despite all of this, I am hit by grief harder and darker than I've ever known.   Harder than losing my favorite grandpa.  Harder than my parents' divorce.  I'm so sad, I feel like I can't breathe.   There's a constant lump in my throat and knot in my stomach.  All I can do is think about her life and death.  It's similar to when you finish a really engrossing book  - you're not ready to stop reading, but there's no more.  My mind and heart are still living in a story that's over.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Yesterday (Saturday) I was walking our other dog, Jodie (a 12 year old Alaskan Malamute) and we passed by a retired couple's home that I talk to frequently.  The woman asked how Jodie was.  I said pretty good, but slowing down with age. The woman unexpectedly said something about how hard it was to let pets go at the end.  I started bawling. Very ugly crying.  When I told them about Bailey, they were so kind and said they thought it was harder to let a dog go than to let people go.

Other friends have said that, too.  A dear friend said it was harder to lose her beloved pet than her dad.  Who, by the way,  was a wonderful man who she loved very very much.  This is really comforting to me because I am so sad, I keep thinking I must be crazy.  But maybe not.  Why is losing a pet, an animal, so so SO hard?


Now my days stretch out ahead of me, and I don't know what to do with myself.  Taking care of Bailey had crept in to be a big part of my daily life.  Only now do I realize how much my routine revolved around being there for her.  I feel pathetic and grieved and lost and relieved.  
Bailey's last day.  A belly full of cheese and beef snacks.


I miss Bailey so much.  I hope I can stop bursting into tears soon.
I guess my mental energy and my time will open back up now. Maybe I'll start painting more again.

10" x 10" x .5" acrylic on canvas


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