Three days ago we had to put our adored eleven year old dog to sleep. The sorrow has been immense. Only two days before that we found out that he had lots of cancer including all through his lungs. He had slowed down a bit and had become finicky about eating in the last couple of weeks. But we had no idea the extent of his illness. As soon as he had the chest xray and ultrasound showing us all the tumors, it was as if now that we knew, he could give in to it. In two days, he deteriorated so fast that we had no choice but to end his struggle. It was so hard for him to breathe that he resisted lying down for hours at a time.
I have only lived without a dog for a couple of years of my life when I was in college and right after. Dogs have been an essential part of my life and I have gone through many losses. One might, and many do say, “I don’t want to get so attached just to go through the grief of losing something I love.” I think many people don’t have animals or even children for that very reason. To me it would be like saying to my children, “Please don’t come home for visits because it’s too hard to say goodbye each time.”
Every time I came home or anyone arrived at our house, we would be greeted by Tucker bringing a shoe. The downside was shoes all over the house—pairs broken up, the hunt for a missing shoe—but the delight in the gift (even though he never handed the shoe over)
Attachment to something or someone loved involves loss and grief. But the price of no loss, is no joy. Is it worth it? The human condition requires attachment. How can we justify the grief and loss we inevitably experience? “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” so they say. Life is about experiencing a range of emotions—positive and negative. How can we know happiness without sadness, kindness without cruelty, success without failure, joy without sorrow, love without loss?
6 thoughts on “Grief and Loss”
I am so sorry for you loss. I know the sadness is immense. I also believe the grief makes space for more joy.
I remember, Bonnie, when you came to Adelaide a number of years ago, how you talked so fondly of your dog Tucker. And now you have had to say goodbye to him in sad circumstances. Bless you for loving him so much.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss of Tucker. Animals fill a place in our hearts that nothing else can. The unconditional love and acceptance is unequaled in the human world. Their lives are too short (for us) but they teach us so much in their time here. Tucker had a great life, and it was just the right life for him.
Take time to grieve the loss, but know his lessons of love will stay with you.
I am so sorry. What a huge loss. In a forgiveness workshop we spoke about being willing to be hurt, to have an open heart and love and be in relationship. It’s our access to actually living and experiencing, as you say, the full range of emotions available to us. May your heart be supported in your grief process.
Bonnie….I’m feeling the sadness for you and will smile at the memory of being greeted by Tucker at the door of your home. I too am a lover of dogs. Their lives impact us in such wonderful ways and the love we carry for them can stay with us forever.
All of us have such fond memories of Tucker, the boys of being greeted, drooled on and knocked over with love and Paul and I of being greeted and watching with joy and trust from across the room as Tucker loved our kids. Thank you Tucker. Goodbye. Thank you Bonnie.
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