Thoughts On Grief

Before grief, there is inevitably love. It seems the more love there is, the more grief there is. But life without love is empty...so that's the trade-off. Nothing's free.

Today I feel compelled to write a few thoughts about grieving for D'Art. 

First, some context. I have lost people close to me and felt the immense sadness that brings. When my sister passed away six years ago I grieved heavily (and still do). Not having seen her for many years didn't lessen my grief, because I loved her. I grieved for lost opportunities, I grieved not having one last chance to tell her that I loved her, and I grieved knowing the world would be different..less..without her. 

D'Art's sudden passing knocked me sideways. I knew I would feel sad when he eventually passed away, and I knew that I loved him beyond compare, but I just didn't expect to feel so incredibly raw inside. People don't talk as frankly about the feelings we experience when a beloved animal dies. So, I was naively unprepared for the intense sadness that stayed behind after he left. Even still, it is evident to me that some fellow humans don't understand, and won't understand, this grief. Perhaps society expects grief for an animal to be different than grieving for a sister, brother, mother or child, but it isn't different at all.

If you really think about it, your pet is someone who depends 100% on you. As they age, these dependencies increase. The amount of energy you spend on them; worrying about what they will eat, whether they've eaten enough, whether they're in pain, and whether you're doing everything right by them. All that energy, all that dependency, adds up to a lot. It, in and of itself, is a bond. Never mind the bond you make with the animal because you love them and you make each other happy. Where does all of that energy go when the animal passes away?  Nowhere. But a weight of grief, just as huge as the light of love, moves in. 

That brings me to regret. No matter how hard we try not to blame ourselves, grief seems to come burdened with regrets. It's like the 'buy one get one free' of life. Lose a loved one, get a free dump truck full of regret. Everyone I've talked to has some sort of regret after their pet dies. I'm not going to go into a list of regrets, but let's be honest in acknowledging that they are a part of grief, no matter whether that grief is for a human or an animal.

Today, my grief comes in bouts. I have days when I feel like I'm fine, I'm coping. Other days I'll burst into tears while driving down the highway, or feel incredibly empty when I look over to his favorite chair and he's no longer there warming it. Having Teddy and Luna in my life is wonderful, but it changes absolutely nothing about grieving for D'Art. Think of it this way - would you grieve less for your Dad if your Mom were still alive? No! This is no different. You grieve for the individual. Nothing changes that.

If you, too, are grieving for a loved one - human or animal - understand that I know how you feel. I am sorry that you carry this sadness, but it is OK to feel sad. It is healthy, it is normal, and it is a brilliant reflection of the love that you shared.







Comments

  1. Losing a loved furfriend is so very very hard but they always remain in your heart forever
    Luffs and hugs to you
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  2. I am so very sorry about your loss. We still grieve for Blue and it's been more than three years. I think of him daily. You describe our love of our dogs perfectly here. There are people who don't understand my attachment to my dogs, blaming my lack of children. But the people who love me get it because they see it when they visit, in the pictures I post, and in the conversations we have.

    I'm thankful for that.

    But like you said, I had to learn that it's okay to feel sad. I didn't need to justify my love to anyone. Today, I cherish the memories of Blue. It's bittersweet, I still have guilt, but I wouldn't trade the pain if it meant I lost the memories. Dogs make us better people. And it's because of dogs that I have YOU in my life.

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    Replies
    1. I am grateful that our dogs brought us together!

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  3. well said... heart felt by all that read it I know.
    I had a hard day too... spontaneous tears. Sudden missing.
    Regrets.
    Love, LeeAnna

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  4. We never forget those heart pets and even years later, I still grieve for those long gone. It's part of the circle of life that we must endure. I hope your good days become more frequent and the sad ones, fewer. The most important part is to feel the highs and lows, to think we shouldn't is to dismiss the memory of loved ones, be they 2 or 4 legged. Digital hugs and puppy kisses. ღonika, Sam, & Elsa 🐾

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  5. Thank you, I needed this today. I had a complete meltdown earlier over something that had nothing to do with losing Sheba, yet ultimately I know that's exactly what it was all about. It comes in waves that we have no control over. I'm sorry you are sad too, but there is much comfort in the fact that we understand how each other feels.
    What some people don't understand about losing a pet, and why it hits us so hard, is that our pets are part of our daily lives. They are always here, and then when they're not....they leave a big emptiness behind.

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