On loss

Urse in profile

The dog above was Urse.  She was an English Shepherd and died at the age of 15 November of last year.

People said:
She was 15, she had a long life.

Only one of my dogs died, I had 8 left.

It was only a dog, I could get another.

And none of that minimized the pain or the guilt.  She was my old girl, and she died without me.  I wasn’t there to at least hold her while she died.  Maybe I could have saved her if I’d been home, or done something to make her passing easier, but I wasn’t.   In addition to grief I felt guilt.   I felt that it was my fault she died because I wasn’t home with her, and hadn’t taken her with me.

Logically, I knew I couldn’t be with her 24/7 but it didn’t help.  I still felt guilty.

So grief, pain, guilt.   For a dog,  not even a person.

There were some people who were sympathetic, there were others who were uncomprehending, still others who were dismissive.  None of it helped, not the people who told me how sorry they were, not the people who said it was only a dog.  Grief doesn’t yield to sympathy or to attempts at logic; it yields at last and reluctantly to time.  Grief has to wear down to a manageable level, and it does so at it’s own speed for each person.   There isn’t any way to make it go away faster, denial will not make it go away, positive thinking will not end it, there is just time.

There will come a time when you can remember without starting to cry.  There will come a time when the memories make you smile, but it takes time.

I still miss her.  I still get teary eyed thinking of my old girl.  I still expect to see her walking behind me in the woods.   I still feel pain and guilt and grief, but less than I first did.   And in time my grief will lessen to the occasional wistful memory of my old girl.

For all the pain that grief brings, I would still rather have had her than not .  I enjoyed having her wonderful quirky personality with me for six and a half years, I would have gladly had her twice as long.

Goodbye my beautiful Urse.





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