My loss...

Discussion in 'Grief and Bereavement' started by Odyssey, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Odyssey

    Odyssey Member

    I hope it's okay for me to post this. I guess I can't really imagine anyone chastising me for doing so, but I always worry (my friends always smile and agree when I say, "You know how I worry about everything."). I've lost people (those that have died, those that have grown distant, others), but the loss that's on my mind right now is that of my dog.

    It's not the anniversary of his death, but it wasn't terribly recent, either; he died in May 2010. I definitely feel like I'm dealing with his passing better these days than in the first few months after it. I always felt like I had come to terms with his mortality as he was getting older, and perhaps I wouldn't have taken it quite so hard if his death had been more expected (perhaps an illness leading up to putting him down). But even though he was getting up there in years (as members of his species/breed go), I could have done without the abruptness of the accident. It really was an accident, and no one is to blame at all (unless you want to blame the lawn guy for leaving the gate open when it is always, always shut; but I feel like that sort of abstract blame only embitters me and doesn't result in anything positive, so I let it go).

    Even though I know he never would have blamed me for not being there with him, and even though there is reason to believe he didn't suffer much or at all as a direct result of the accident, I can't help but imagine sometimes that he must have been so scared and alone, so confused...I can't help but wonder if he was thinking of me, or of any of my family members. I can't help wishing I could have let him know that I---we---loved him, and that we didn't mean to not be there for him, and that he impacted our lives in a very particular way. I want to believe he knew, or that, perhaps...he knows. It's the loss that keeps coming back to me when I feel alone and when I've experienced other losses. And while most of the time when I think of him, I remember the good things about him, and how happy he was, and how kind and loving he was, sometimes it's hard not to feel the pain of the tragedy as acutely as I felt it that day.

    I'm one of those people who feels a strong affinity for animals; I can't help but see things "their way" and try to understand how they're feeling and why they're behaving the way they are. Perhaps my ability to empathize with the pain, fear, and struggles of all creatures (and not just domesticated pets) is making the loss of my dog more difficult for me to handle. I know he was confused and in pain (there isn't any denying that), and it's hard for me to overcome the sense of what he could have been experiencing.

    Thanks for letting me get this out there. On the upside, I volunteer with a (no-kill) rescue taking care of cats in a sanctuary. I think it's helping me learn to create boundaries that allow me to feel affection without being devastated by separation or loss of the object of affection (such as when a cat gets adopted or must be put down because of illness). :cat:
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    To many here their pets are their family and that loss is just as devastating I know my guy never cries but when he lost his dog i saw tears A special bond is formed between an animal and owner I am glad you are volunteering your time spending it with other animals Hugs to you:hugtackles:
  3. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    New Year's Eve, I had to put my best furry friend to sleep...I miss him everyday and have a heaviness in my heart...he know he was loved and I know I was better for having him...I just wish he was sorry about your dog...I am sure he also knew how much you cared for him...he was fortunate to have you...big hugs, J
  4. Odyssey

    Odyssey Member

    Thank you for the validation and sympathy...sometimes I feel like people don't get how I could have been so close to my dog. I honored his memory with a tattoo after he passed away, as I had said I would do for years before he died. The artist did a wonderful job of it and I feel like my life is enriched every day by having it. Sometimes it's still hard to cope with losing him, though. So thank you for supporting me :heart:
  5. Socialman

    Socialman Well-Known Member

    When my dog died. I went upstairs and tried to cry. I tried and tried, but I didn't feel anything. I hated myself so much because I couldn't cry. I hated myself for not feeling anything. I even thought I might be a sociopath. I could cry when people hurt me, but I can't cry for my dog. I still think about it sometimes. I wonder if even back then I suffered from some form of depression, but my family didn't realize it.

    Here is to your dog. You obviously cared about your friend. Dogs are great friends.
  6. Odyssey

    Odyssey Member

    Darksider, sometimes we grieve in unexpected ways, even ways we didn't expect ourselves. I know I've had times where I thought I should feel something, whether sadness, or anger, or regret, or even happiness, and couldn't feel anything at all. Sometimes those feelings have come after a while (and when I was least expecting it), but for some of those situations, I haven't yet felt anything at all that I could identify. I believe that feeling emptiness or numbness, or perhaps a lack of any noticeable feeling at all, can be an emotion in itself. Maybe we are sometimes so overwhelmed and lost that we can't figure out what to feel, even when it seems like it should be obvious; or maybe it's a self-defense mechanism, a subconscious decision to feel nothing rather than be bowled over by emotions some part of us thinks we can't handle. I hope you don't still worry that you might suffer from sociopathy. I have closer experience with it than I'd like, and your very presence on this forum---not to mention your sympathy for my experience with my dog---is more than overwhelming proof that you are a person who feels concern and love. I have no doubt that you felt very strongly for your dog, even if you still can't find emotions with which to react to your loss. I extend my sympathy to you, even if you aren't sure how to accept it.