Be Here Then

why and how to write & create an ethical will, hospice card, or other legacy

Grief and the first day without…

Grief is universal, but it feels intensely lonely and personal, and if you are not an animal lover, read no further.  This is not about ethical wills or hospice cards, although that might come later.

While we all have read the incredible stories of dogs and what they are capable of, this is not to tell you mine — it is to help me get through my first day without him, a day I have never wanted to see, a day that I cognitively understand is normal but to which my gut screams No!

Jackson on bench MDYesterday, I had to put to sleep my first dog, my dearest companion, a golden retriever/collie mix named Jackson who just appeared on our doorstep one June 12 years ago.  He was about 1-1.5 years old, had been abused and abandoned, and had been seen running around for several days in our neighborhood in a rural part of Maryland.  Skinny, matted, he would not go to anyone.  He wound up on our doorstep early one morning, whining, and when the door was opened, up he looked with a sweet, tentative look, and a thumping tail, with “please?  I need somebody…” radiating from his entire body.

He’s a rescue dog, and I’m the one he rescued.  I mis-read his body language: what he was really saying was, “please? you know you need me…”  He was, of course, absolutely right.  It just took me a few years to realize it.

This post is to give an answer to the first of my two questions below.

First question:  How do you get up, this first morning without your best friend, and face this day?

First answer:  We were given bladders for just this reason.

Jackson kiss at GA lake cropSecond question, parts A & B:  And DO you still go for that morning walk, and if so, HOW do you go for a walk — without him?

Second answer — Part A: yes, of course, why do you think you were given a dog in the first place and not a cat?  Partly, to get you outside.  Part B: see the previous post.

So I hope you read that post, and I hope it gets to someone else who needs to know it, too.

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2 thoughts on “Grief and the first day without…

  1. I wish I could remember how I got up and out of bed that next day after mom was killed. Turns out, I have no memory of my aunt staying with us for the 3 weeks after her death. I remember parts of the wake, people coming over to our apt after the service, some parts of the service, but that’s about it. I don’t know how long it was before I returned to school, had friends over, went over to friends’ houses to play. I don’t remember being interviewed at the FBI building in Boston, yet I do remember being interviewed by the MA State Police…and the fact they kept asking “what time was that?”…like a 9 year old wears a watch (in 1977).

    I am so glad you posted about your first day. If it helps, post daily. It will be here to look back at when you wonder how, exactly, did you survive his loss. It allows you to be mindful of your grief – and hopefully that will help you to have a healthy grief process (what ever that is).

    Back in 1977 there was no internet. I did have a diary. I did write in it the day we found her dead – both for that day and the day before when she was missing. But never used them again. Later as a teen I had a journal, but rarely used it. If this blog is a tool that you can use to express and cope with your grief – I hope you will continue to post. As you’ve said, you’ve already met several people in the past 3 days that have experienced what you are going thru – but there will be many more who will have the opportunity to stumble upon your blog at just the right time when they too are contemplating euthanizing their pet. And your love for Jackson expressed here will help their journey thru this process.

    Mainly, any writing you do is good for you. It is your talent. And I know it will serve you well.

    • Thank you so very much for sharing that, Pam. I am at present absorbing lessons and will write something else, but right now it’s step-back-and-steep-awhile time. The kindness I have received from utter strangers has come only because I was willing (or completely unable to refuse to) to ask to pet their dogs, to nod dumbly when they ask if I had just lost mine, and two dogs have kissed every tear that has run down my face, including a golden retriever I met yesterday who reminded me so much of Jackson, right down to the “scratch my chest” paw batting exactly like Jackson used to do. He looked at me and gave me three big kisses. There have been more…

      Ideaistas (*n*): free-ranging minds at play

      On Sun, May 19, 2013 at 11:43 PM, Be Here Then

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