…AND THE MISTAKES I MADE DURING THIS TIME
It’s been just over a month since we said goodbye to Reese, and yet, it seems like only a few days.
The boys (Henry, Jack, and Ricky) seem mostly content, again, and John (hubby) and I are becoming familiar with our new, two-dog routine. I no longer grab three treats at a time, and I don’t dream about Reese every night. Reading posts from other people about their losses, and recent news about puppy mills, and other pet-related tragedies, upsets me more than usual, and the floodgates open. Otherwise, teary outbursts are becoming less frequent.
I am INCREDIBLY grateful for a supportive network comprised of family, friends, and the pet-blogging community. Each of the cards and messages you sent were like hugs. Thank you.
I also received links to podcasts, articles, and books about grieving the loss of a pet.
Reese was almost twelve-years-old, with a grade four heart murmur. Although I knew she would not live forever, I was unprepared for the loss. We left the house one morning to go to the vet, for perhaps, some medication, and she did not come home with me. Animals are intuitive, and although the rest of my pack were aware of the loss, I didn’t give much thought to the consequences my subsequent actions would have on them.
I am an emotional cleaner. After barely sleeping the first night, I got out of bed and sprang into action. I cleaned all the bedding, ours and the dogs, caught up on the rest of the laundry, vacuumed, scrubbed, mopped, and polished the house, from top to bottom. I wasn’t trying to remove all traces of Reese; it is just how I deal with stress. I wish I had left her scent on the beds, for the boys to draw comfort from, a while longer.
My biggest mistake, however, was not taking time for myself. I could not catch my breath. National Cupcake Day, coined by the SPCA, is an event to raise money for rescues. This event had been on my calendar for months, and, I did not want to cancel it. I was determined to raise money for several different rescue organizations I support, in honour of Reese.
I arranged a day AND an evening event on the same day!
Although successful, raising just over $1500 and collecting a car full of much-needed supplies, I was physically, and emotionally exhausted by the end of it.
In addition to planning and organizing cupcake day: running errands to collect baked goods, prizes, supplies, donations, etc., I volunteered myself and a co-worker, to do a presentation on ‘Veganism’ for Diversity Week, at the beginning of that same week.
My distraction plan didn’t work. It merely added more stress, and, if I’m honest, it nearly broke me.
I need to be strong for my boys. To do so, I need to take care of myself
As much as we wish for it, we cannot bring back our beloved companions. In my opinion, those experiencing the loss of a pet need to take whatever time is required to grieve and heal the heart as much as possible. Detaching ourselves only delays the inevitable release of emotions.
If we do not allow ourselves to grieve, we will stunt our ability to attach. We will cheat ourselves of the joy of deeply connecting with another person (companion). We will have difficulty remembering the joy if we hold onto the pain. If we do not grieve effectively, we stunt our own growth and will find it difficult to attach again. And we may find it difficult to remember the joy thereby tarnishing the memory of our loved one.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus
The loss of a loved one is painful. They take with them a piece of our hearts.
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