Grief is a bastard, isn’t it?
Ten days on from the unexpected loss of one of our family dogs, it’s still hiding in unexpected places and jumping out and slapping me around the face quite regularly.
First, let me reassure those of you who have lost humans that you care about, that I’m not complaining our loss is as big as say, the loss of a child or parent or friend. Our dogs are not child substitutes.
They are pets. But they are also family members. I feel like our family is now incomplete and will make no apologies for using the word ‘Grief’ when talking about what I am feeling at the moment. I am crying, I feel sad, it bloody hurts inside. This is what I am feeling and I will not downplay it by saying ‘She was only a dog.’
I have no doubt at all that I am grieving for our lost pet, just the same as I grieved when my father died 20-odd years ago.
For the first 24 hours I pretty much cried at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t stop, my eyes just kept leaking.
Then I teared up regularly for the next 48 hours. Mainly when talking about Willow. That was The Lurcher’s name- there is no point in not using it anymore, is there?
I keep thinking I hear her or catch glimpses of her from the corner of my eye. I still expect her to be sleeping beside my bed when I get up in the morning.
Last Monday was the worst. People at school knew she was having her surgery on Friday so I had people asking after her, and had to explain. Everyone was sympathetic but you could tell the dog/ pet owners. A couple of them were in tears too which I weirdly felt guilty about.
And then I took our other dog to agility where I managed not to completely fall to pieces, and everyone has dogs so they all ‘got it’.
Social media has been a great help in telling people what happened as I could tell a lot of people all at once, but just when I think I’ve finally told everyone, someone else turns up. Today it was the gardeners, asking where ‘the grey dog’ was.
And our remaining dog breaks my heart, because you can’t explain to a dog that his friend has gone.
In the house he likes to sleep on her bed, and keeps rushing in the door each time he comes back from a walk, just in case she has come home. And on walks he is no longer running through the woods, exploring and chasing squirrels. Instead he sticks close to me and waits and watches for her to coming running over to him for a game.
Every day I find myself thinking how long it’s been since I’ve seen her. Already ten days has passed, soon it will be two weeks, then a month. But life has to goes on, doesn’t it?