The simple answer is I’m ok. Sad, of course, missing her, of course. But I am safe, living in a lovely place, with a wonderful man, and a really fun, characterful dog, Ludo.
The more complicated answer is that I feel like I am missing a limb. Sort of feels like my right arm has gone. Even though I can see it, feel it and I know my arm is still there. It’s just that’s the only way I can describe it. I sometimes feel lonely. Even though I am happy in my own company and I spend my time mostly with Ludo. I just feel a bit depressed. I know also that there is a bit of shock and trauma hanging around due to her illness, pain and inevitable deterioration.
I remember feeling terrified about what I would do without her by my side, but not understanding that intellectually. I am not terrified without her but now I can feel what that was about… we grew to be part of each other. We knew each other better than we knew ourselves. She reflected my state, emotional wellbeing back to me, and I saw way in advance if something would overwhelm her and knew what to do to help her.
I know these things are normal when it comes to grieving. And I’m actually proud of myself for allowing it all in whatever form it takes. I understand grief a little bit more than I used to. I allow, sit with and let emotions flow a bit more than I used to. Chili, Kenny, and Ludo have been with me whilst I learnt/am still learning these life skills, each adding their own insights for me.
I miss her tiny licks on the nose in a moment of quiet affection. I miss that she always took the opportunity to try and lick our faces when bending down to put shoes on, which always made us laugh. I miss exchanging eye contact with Chili when Ludo did something ridiculous and pushed boundaries (every day!). Like we were sharing a joke about the cheeky little youngster. I miss her amazingly expressive face that I could read like a book. The eye brow angles, the ear positions, the wrinkles or the flat head, and those cheeky, joyful dark brown eyes finding it funny that I was still in bed of a morning, or taking an afternoon nap.
And the bouncing and pouncing when out on a walk. It was one of my favourite things – she’d catch my eye, be really still and look at me like a predator would look at her prey… “I’m gonna get you!” And then I took the same stance and we would wait until one of us twitched first. She would then charge towards, slap her front paws down just in front of me and then turn on a sixpence and then do a zoomie! So joyful and so much fun, she knew how to make me laugh and I know she did things simply for that purpose.
So I continue to enjoy remembering her in all her glory. She really was the best thing. And I acknowledge all the gifts she brought to me (maybe another blog at some point), so there is peace in my heart… and I am so grateful for the time we had to adapt in these last two months. She was so loved and I told her all day everyday. I felt her when she told me too.
*Written in March 2022.
Dr Karen Becker recently ran a Pet Grief Week dealing with the loss of animals. If you feel affected by the loss of an animal you may find these links helpful: