Grief Check: 8 days

Ugh… I’m having such a hard time processing this loss. I’m already writing in my journal but I figured I’d give some updates as my feelings change and hopefully the melancholy lifts. If you are uncomfortable with grief, I guess don’t come back to my blog for a month or two. Sorry, this is just how it is right now.

It’s been about a week since we let Bogie go. Every day at some point in the day my mind flashes back to a week earlier, thinking about what I was doing, and what I should have done instead. Wednesday was his last car ride. Fittingly, it was Wednesday when his ashes came in. I wasn’t keen on going back to the animal hospital, so Ryan spared me the pain by picking them up.

They’re here in a bag. There’s an urn, and some paw prints, and some thick locks of his hair (we got the upgrade package, highly recommend). We’ve left the bag on the living room table until we can figure out what to do with it. Bogie-2-Go. A DOGGIE BAG. Omg that’s terrible.

I’ve never cremated someone before. To be honest I’ve always been curious and envious when watching characters on tv carry their loved ones around so easily. All that person, reduced to dust (apparently a lot of dust). Scattering ashes looked so beautiful and meaningful. Now that his ashes are here, I don’t think I could let them go like that. I’ve hugged the urn tight, and my throat chokes up, but for a minute it feels better. It’s a cherry wood box. Maybe I should have asked Ryan to get a more huggable urn… Like could you put them in a stuffed animal? Is that not dignified? Ok I checked and yes, this is a thing!

Side note- Not to be morbid (lol too late) but I have already picked out Seymour’s future urn. It’s called Elite Cat. Isn’t it so sassy?

The first few days the pain was intensely physical, somewhere in my chest, throat and head. I didn’t want to eat, just wanted to stay in bed and cry instead. I let myself bawl loud and hard. Now I’m a bit more sheepish. I cry a few times a day, but don’t let it go past the point of no return. Pull it together. Crying sucks but the real problem is that I keep having intrusive thoughts of the last time I saw him, and thinking my way through the “what ifs.” Was there a universe of decisions and choices that could have kept him alive and happy? Or was he always destined to die of epilepsy and its complications? If we had won the liver battle, would we just be back at the animal hospital again for cluster seizures the next Wednesday? It’s mental torture.

Things that are helping so far: the Pet Loss Companion podcast, Facebook groups (Rainbow Bridge and PCV groups), and using my free Modern Health sessions for some grief counseling. The therapist I chose has been very sympathetic but also action focused, which fits what I need. She has me working on stopping my repetitive thoughts in their tracks, and moving my focus on the last photo of Bogie (one moment in time) to happier images (more representative of his day to day life).

Thank goodness for therapists. This is such a lonely process. Navigating our way through all the canine epilepsy stuff was hard and lonely. Now working through this loss is isolating as well. Hearing from friends keeps me going, but really it’s just me and Ryan on a little island of sadness. Such is grief.

We¬†are opposites. I’m diving headfirst into the pain. Writing sad stuff, reading sad stuff, listening to sad stuff. If I owned more black clothes, I would be down for mourning dress. He’s been more focused on distraction, and seems to be tolerating the truth of the situation better, with less what ifs and whys. On the other hand, for him to heal emotionally it seems like he’ll need another puppy sooner than I’d like.

Since we’re opposites, you can imagine my stance on a new dog, and a puppy at that.

We’ve got a DC trip upcoming. Hoping that being away will give us at least a little break from the painful reminders of the last month. Looking forward to seeing old friends.