I have been exchanging emails with a lady who wrote me that she lost her Golden Retriever to cancer 16 months ago and feels that a part of her died with her dog. She is thinking about getting another dog, but seems so guilty and torn at the thought. I shared my experiences and thoughts with her and that spurred me on to have a good cry.
Next month will mark 3 years since I had to put my best friend Winger to sleep. Surf followed, just two months later. In a way I can’t believe it’s been 3 years and in other ways it feels like they are like a distant memory.
I think about them every day – usually Monty (their nephew) will trigger a memory through his actions and antics. But I don’t cry much anymore. Once in awhile I have to stop recalling a story about one of them because I’ll choke up. Looking back, I’m sure I cried every day for that first year. After I marked getting through that first year without them, I realized that if I kept trying to remember every single little thing about them, then I would never be able to shake the grief. I had to let go a little bit. I had to do it to be fair to Monty, I had to do it if I was going to have a future with Jeff, and most importantly, I had to do it for myself.
And now it’s almost 3 years later, and every few months I have to scratch open those emotional scars to feel the pain again. I’m not sure if I do it because I feel they deserve some sort of acknowledgement, or if I’m afraid I’m going to forget them completely, or if it is just healthy to cry a couple times a year. Luckily these times often co-insides with Jeff being out of town so he doesn’t have to witness the tear festival going on in here. (he’s in Sydney this week)
I usually start by reading the memory stories I wrote for each of them after they died. Winger’s is here, and Surf’s is here. Then I dig right in and load up a few videos I have of them – so I can see them swimming and I can hear them breathing. They were always so happy.
Even reading their memory stories tonight, I realized how many things I’ve forgotten about them already. I forgot about Winger’s love for all food except celery. I can see him right now gobbling celery, giving it a chew, and then flicking it back off his tongue onto the kitchen floor. He hated celery. And I forgot that. But that is okay. It has to be okay.
Guess I flunked…I told Jeff I would keep you entertained while he was away…darn these eve shifts, i could have been crying online with you…I treasure all those wonderful memories with Winger and Surf and am filled with gratitude to you that they came into my life too.They will never be forgotten, just treasures to hold forever in memory. Thankyou Lisa