“I will grieve however long it takes me.”
I was recently told it was time to “get over it”. This is in regards to the passing of my dog five and a half years ago. I was forced to put him to sleep. (The interesting thing is that I wasn’t even thinking about him at the time ) A beautiful purebred Dalmatian. This Dog would lie on my feet while I did dishes or cooked at the stove. He lay on my feet when I was at the computer. We were always happy to see me…be with me and just snuggle up with me.
I lied on the floor and cried with this dog for 2 hours before I could let them give him the shot. Then I laid there another hour holding him and sobbing. I was anxious for the entire time he was sent to the crematorium. I wasn’t settled until I had him back and in an urn. My directions are when I pass away he is to be put in the casket with me.
I look at the 7 stages of grief and I’m just not sure about it. I seem to be stuck in guilt but also lingering in the final phase of acceptance. 18 months ago I rescued a lovely cat. She’s as awesome as she can be. Still, she can never replace my dog. I love her separately from him. I understand that he was sick and I had to put him to sleep. It still hurts so much just to think of him. I was thinking that I was progressing, though it is slowly. When I was able to put his picture back up on my desk I had felt love and not loss. I can reminisce about the good things now. He loved stealing tomatoes. He could unwrap a piece of candy to get to the inside. He would drop dry dog food into the water dish and reach in to get it out. He blew air out his nose when doing this. He was an escape artist. He was smart, loyal and so much more.
I was very sick and couldn’t be out of bed for several weeks. This dog lay with me the entire time. He ate and went outside and returned immediately to me. He was there every possible moment when I was fearful of dying a painful death. He consoled me. Snuggled me. He made the pain bearable. No one can understand my attachment?
Why I should “get over it” is because every year when this time comes around I resent my job. I am reminded on a yearly basis by an event that they forced me to work the day prior. I pleaded with them and they made unkept promises and said whatever it took to force me to work. This, just a few hours before I had to put him to sleep. I try not to let this show in my work but I know it still does. I become distant and quiet during this time.
I told my best friend and husband both about this comment. They were hesitant but they also think it’s been much too long to grieve over a dog. They tried to be gentle but they just don’t understand.
Now I’m telling them all. “I will grieve however long it takes me.” I wish they could understand but they never will. That seems to be the hardest for thing for me in my grief. I am so very alone.
When I saw this page I cried and even now I am in tears. Other people do feel like me. I’m not a mental case because I loved this dog unconditionally. I may always have guilt…he was with me the entire time I was sick but I had to put him to sleep when he became sick. Understanding the reality doesn’t make it hurt less.
I never wrote any of this down before and I can see the therapy in doing this.
I wanted to share my favorite....
by Jimmy Stewart
He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.
On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.
He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.
But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.
We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile.
And before very long
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.
And there were nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.
And there were nights when I'd feel this stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.
He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.
And now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.
Jimmy Stewart recited this poem on the Johnny Carson show.