I just got home from having my left eye checked and tested. I have the left eye surgery next Wednesday morning. I came in the door just now and there was blood on the floor again.

The vet doesn’t come in on Thursdays until 1 p.m., so I will be taking Charlie in then. Goodness, he just finished his antibiotic yesterday. Please don’t let this be something bad, I keep saying out loud.

Remember I told you just after Abi died that I put a very soft throw over the bed and then covered up at night with an equally soft blanket? Well, I’m still doing it.

It is just so comforting. I believe I called it a “comfort sandwich.”

I feel like I even fall asleep faster when sleeping in my comfort sandwich.

I might go a night when I push the throw aside. But I miss it, and the next night it’s back on the bed. I wash it every week and put it back on top of my bed covers.

House plant in my bedroom

You see, it is vitally important to be good to yourself when you’re grieving. When you’ve suffered a tremendous loss.

People will tell you they’re sorry, and that’s wonderful and kind and a form of respect. But no one really knows how you feel. No one knows exactly what you’re going through.

Except you.

And so this is a time when you should give yourself a break. Who cares if the furniture isn’t dusted? Or that you’ve eaten the same thing all week long?

Or that you eat because you have to but everything tastes like cardboard.

That’s just how it is for awhile.

Gold lantana on my patio

I miss Abi. I miss my sweet funny quirky girl. I cry. Not as often. But like now, when I’m writing about her, the tears are automatic. They flow like a river over stones.

I look at her framed photo and it almost does me in.

Some of you have emailed me and said that you’re grieving a pet. And sometimes the people around you, the people who are close to you, say the most ridiculous and hurtful things.

Like: “Well, now you’ll have more time for other things.” One of you wrote me that one. And I was so shocked at the idea that someone could actually say that to you.

Others have written that those around them think that grief isn’t as real when it’s a pet instead of a person.

NOT TRUE.

My beloved Abi

Let me tell you, I am grieving Abi more than I’ve ever grieved anyone in my life. And that includes people.

And why shouldn’t I grieve so profoundly when she was with me 24/7, slept right beside me, and always looked at me with adoration and love?

These kinds of careless words sting. For someone to say something so obviously callous is like ripping skin off a fresh and painful wound.

Some want to be around others when they’re hurting to this degree. Others, like me, just want to be alone with their remaining pet.

I never know when a thought, a sight, a sound might bring on the intensity of my grief. And I don’t want to have to explain myself to anyone should I break down.

Black petunia on my patio

I need solitude. Lots and lots of solitude. Whether I’m grieving or not. So it just makes sense that I’d need it even more when I’m hurting so.

What helps me is Charlie. Looking into his deep brown eyes. Petting him. Singing to him. Which, by the way, I still do every single night. At least twice.

It has become routine. And we need that when we’re hurting. We need routine comfort.

For me it is sleeping between two very soft blankets. For you it might me something else.

“Grief doesn’t have a plot. It isn’t smooth. There is no beginning and middle and end.” – Ann Hood

But whatever you find that comforts you as you grieve, indulge in it. You don’t know when the sorrow will ease. But what comfort you can find is a welcome respite.

I have learned to laugh again at something silly. I’m sometimes distracted for periods of time and don’t think of Abi.

But when it does hit me that my baby is irretrievably gone, gone for good, something akin to panic rises up in me and it’s hard to breathe.

Yellow roses growing in a container on my patio

Loss is something we all go through. So love yourself while the intense suffocating grief is eating you alive. Find what comfort you can. You certainly deserve that.

“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” – Earl Grollman

 

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57 Comments

  1. Dear Brenda and Charlie…you needn’t convince most “pet lovers” of the incredible heartache of losing a member of our “fur family”. The ONLY negative thing I can see about deeply caring about a pet is that they don’t live long enough. Pets can often be more comforting than people. BTW, I call my “comfort sandwich” a “cocoon” ❤️❤️ Many prayers for you and Charlie.

  2. Charlie and you are in my thoughts and prayers! I have tears in my eyes reading this! I’ll look for your next email. Praying tonight for your friend Susan too! My sister Sue’s middle son has terminal cancer. Takes meds and is sick 4 days and feels good for 4 days! This is his 3rd yr doing this. He stopped taking them for a few days, then thank God, he decided he wants to live! It’s hard whether it’s a person or pet bc they both count so damn much!

  3. Two months ago I lost Dobby. He was a rough collie and had just turned 7. His death was unexpected and I’m heartbroken. It’s so hard and I can relate to how you’re feeling! Thinking of you and Charlie!!

  4. I, too, am missing a special friend. I had to put my cat, Bella, to sleep yesterday. She was with me for thirteen years. She was a special kitty, brave and fearless. In the end I had to choose to do what was right for her. I come home and go to my room and keep expecting her to be there. My other cat is looking for her (and her treats.) I know it will get a little better each day and take comfort in the fact that some day I will see her again. Thank you for your words on grieving a pet. Some people do not understand how important they are and how they truly are family.

  5. oh darling bean. I have just read each and every comment and reply here.
    and tears are streaming. I too have had the wonderful love of a dog~child.
    and that’s just what they are. our children!
    I don’t want to offend anyone out there. but I was told by a Vet not to give any food that’s made in China to my dog. apparently something in it or the processing they use affects dogs’ kidneys or bladder. my Zekey loved the chicken wrapped rawhide chews. they were his favorite treats. I didn’t find out the news about them until it was too late.
    I almost didn’t make this comment. but when you’re grabbing at straws it can’t do any harm to find out as much as you can. Leslie in one of the blogs I follow (now Instagram) and she has a little ‘rescue’ dog and it got bladder cancer. she immediately researched on the internet and took it to an holistic vet. the little one’s name is Maisie. and now Maisie is doing just fine! so NEVER give up no matter what the news might be.
    little Charlie Ross loves you so much. picture him well! I believe in those kinds of miracles. I do! and it might not even be cancer. it could be just a pesky infection that simply needs another round of antibiotics! know that we love you. bless you darling bean! xoxo
    I’m sorry my comment is so long. and I’m so late now you might not even see it!

  6. I think that we are a culture that doesn’t understand grief very well. Or emotional healing. We don’t get that grief is a healthy response to loss and that it may go on at an intense level for a long time. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the grieving person. It’s not understood or accepted that grief and our expression of it is necessary to heal and be able to go on with our lives in a healthy way. I believe that our feeling comfortable with our grief and the ways it manifests for us is really the only way to heal the loss. If it takes us a long time to do that, so be it. We each have our own time schedule. I think you are one who does understand all these truths, Brenda. You are on a path that will lead to healing the loss of your dear, dear Abi. That doesn’t mean you’ll forget her. Goodness, no. She will always be a part of you and of your life even tho’ she can’t be with you physically now. And if you allow yourself to grieve her fully, the sense of loss and pain won’t disappear, but it will be with you less intensely and you will learn to live with it. When my then-husband and I lost our second child at birth, I, at first, was not sure I could go on. But we had a five-year-old daughter who had lost her baby brother so I had to go on. And I did, but I’ve always said that it was like continuing to live your life but without an arm or any other faculty. And over the years, it has felt like that, although now I’ve become fairly able to function despite the pain of that loss. It’s like a scar, but not an open wound anymore.

    I don’t know if these words are helpful to you, Brenda. I guess it’s helpful for me to share them. My hope is that we, as a culture, will come to a place where we honor grief no matter how a person is experiencing and expressing it. There are pockets of that kind of acceptance now, but the overall culture (whatever that means) really doesn’t get it. And that is why those that don’t say the insensitive things they do.

    I send you patience, healing and the courage you need to go on without Abi. I know you will, and are, fine and know that whatever you do to comfort yourself is fine. You “get it.”

    Finally, I so hope that Charlie will be okay. Seeing the blood again is very worrisome. I’m sending healing tho’ts to both of you. I imagine Charlie being your side-kick for a good long time.

  7. I pray Charlie will get better. Such a hard time. People who have never grieved a love one, be it human or a pet should learn to be quiet. More time? How harsh. Same as when my husband passed and 3 months later I lost the little furry ‘child’ he had given me. People do not understand such losses. Lifting you up in my thoughts and prayers dear Brenda.

  8. I hope Charlie’s appt goes well, Brenda…it’s just so stressful.
    Everyone grieves in their own way, and that’s okay. It can be devastating and overwhelming. It pops up out of nowhere when you think you are okay. I can’t believe some of the insensitive things people say, and thankfully I haven’t had to deal with that either. Don’t think I would be very nice in response.
    Your soft blankets sound wonderful and comforting…

    1. Hoping for good news About Charlie. Your soft spot for sleeping sounds so very comforting. Hugs from Crystal&Dixie

  9. I will be praying for little Charlie. I love my little Baylee so much. Brenda I also grieve for the ones I have lost. They are like your children. Don’t let anyone hurt you by saying something harsh. Grieve as much and as long as you want to, I do.
    Charlie is going to get better. He’s so precious

    1. Loving a pet is the simplest type of love. No strings, they expect nothing but love. And they love unconditionally.

    1. I’m going to try to post, but don’t know if I can push it out to my email subscribers because the time for that is noon. I’ll see if I can. Otherwise it wouldn’t go out until tomorrow.

  10. Keep us updated about Charlie! My Centa is having a hard time of it lately it is hard to see them age. Colleen Centa and Baron

    1. I look at the info on the vet’s wall, and by that Charlie and I are about the same age. But he keeps getting sick and I’m so worried about him.

      1. My Centa is going blind her hip is bad and she has awful separation anxiety! Understand your worry! I am just trying to enjoy her as much as possible. Colleen Centa and Baron

  11. Brenda, please post when you know something about Charlie; I’ll be thinking of you both this afternoon. Grief is such a personal thing and there is no time limit on it; I think it is like a wave, sometimes big and strong and sometimes just a small ripple. Ride the wave, no matter the size and we will be there right along with you.

    Carol and Molly
    xoxoxo

    1. We don’t know for sure yet. Could be cancer. But his bladder was only half full, though he hadn’t gone outside since I’d gotten home this morning. I’m just hoping for the best. Trying to stay calm.

  12. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Brenda. There are people who “get it” about beloved pets, and others who never will. They make say they “love” animals but ultimately, they’re just shruggers when the animal dies, they don’t feel genuine grief. There are probably more of the “others” out there, you just ignore them as best you can. There are plenty of the rest of us out here who have gone through the same experience and know what its like. My last dog passed away 14 years ago in 2004, before her I lost my beloved miniature Schnauzer in 2001 and my testy mean as all get out little fur ball poodle mixed with something in 1999, and I still cry when I think of them, the pain comes up raw and takes over my heart and insides and it hurts so much it feels physical. You won’t ever forget, but over time its not there with you constantly like a raw wound until you tap into the memories again. I don’t consider this a weakness or an abnormality. I consider it ultimately human.

    1. This worrying about the strange cells and the blood, it’s just so hard to stay calm. Just hope it isn’t cancer. We don’t know yet.

  13. Poor little Charlie, so sorry to hear the blood is back again.
    I find myself thinking of my Romeo often these days. Lily is the exact opposite of him in her mannerisms. Romeo was quiet and gentle most of the time, and Lily is a talker, and full of energy and really keeps me on my toes. I think it is good that they are not the same, I could never replace Romeo. I often talk to Romeo and tell him I still love him and have a special place in my heart that no other dog could replace.
    But my lily is a very sweet dog and in many ways more demonstrative in showing her love and affection. I am glad I have her.
    I believe that when I finally pass, I will be reunited with my Romeo who will know I am coming and will be waiting for me at the gate. I comfort myself with that knowledge.
    Many years ago when I was much younger, my husband and I had a poodle named Pumpkin. We had to have her put down in her old age, it was of course very hard to do. For a very long time, we would both feel her jump onto the bottom of the bed to sleep at night, after she had passed. No one will ever convince me there is not life after death. Once we moved to a new home, she ceased coming.
    so I think I will have several sweet spirits waiting for me on the other side and I look forward to that.

    1. It is so hard. Remembering them. Worrying about them. I just got back from the vet. He said he saw some strange cells a few weeks ago. But he gave me more antibiotics for him. Charlie has polyps in his bladder. Could be cancer, we just don’t know yet. He said when next I come upon the blood, he gave me a syringe to gather it with. I was a bit emotional, and he said don’t count him out yet. They’d do everything they could to keep him alive as long as possible. Charlie has had four infections since Abi died.

      1. Well, keep the faith. Charlie is a sturdy boy and I think he could last several more years, even if he does have a tumor or something. Your vet will do all he can to prolong his life.

  14. Winston and I are sending prayers and good thoughts for Charlie and you 🙂 I am so sorry he’s facing this. You mentioned that this has only occurred when you have left him? Maybe it’s a stress thing in some way that is affecting his body and this is the reaction? I don’t know, just a thought.

    Losing a pet is just the same as losing a human loved one. I’ve lost two of my babies in the last few years and I will agree with you in that it was the hardest and most difficult loss of my life. I completely understand every word you are saying and could not agree with you more.

    Take whatever time you need. Do whatever it takes to walk through this grief. Don’t listen to anyone or their cruel and thoughtless words. Sometimes I think folks just need to think before they speak and if they aren’t sure what to say then it just might be best to not say anything.

    Sending love, hugs, good energy, prayers and thoughts all the way from Texas, my little Winston and I are thinking of you both. Blessed Be.

    1. Yes, I’m not out all that much. And this is the second time this has happened while I’ve been gone. I know he stresses when I leave him. Maybe that is the way he grieves Abi. I will be telling all this to the vet. I will be leaving in about 45 minutes.

  15. Indeed, it is the price we pay for love. I have lost a husband and also a beloved pet. The intense sadness was the same. I hate when people tell you they know how you feel. Unless it happened to them, they have no clue. All I can say is, time is a great healer but the memory never fades. Love you, Brenda.

  16. Of course grief is real when you lose a pet. They are just as much family as are any other people in your life. Maybe more so because their love is unconditional. Prayers for Charlie to get better. xo

    1. I guess I don’t know enough people for someone to have said that to me. I mean, the odds are, since I’m not around people much, that it wouldn’t happen to me. They would have had to say it online. It was such a harsh and thoughtless thing to say to Susan, who commented above. She’s having a really hard time of it.

  17. Brenda,

    I am praying for Charlie. I continue to hold you in my thoughts as I too go through this awful grief. It’s been 3 weeks and there isn’t a day that has gone by that doesn’t find me sobbing uncontrollably. It was me the comment was made to. The comment was that the silver lining was I would now have more free time. I received a very nice card with a note from this same person. I think people are struggling to make us feel better and are grasping for what to say. Truly, the only thing that can be said is “I’m sorry.” I do take comfort in hearing those words. Please continue to take extra good care of yourself, as I too am trying to do. I’m still recovering from cancer and months of chemo and I really did not have any emotional reserves left. Not sure If I told you I had the beginnings of cataracts which were made worse by chemo, so I will have to deal with that also. I will be looking for updates on Charlie and hoping for the best for both of you.

    Susan

    1. And what you told me she said to you just stayed with me. I oculdn’t get it out of my head. I hate to think how I’d have reacted had that been said to me. Take it easy, my sister in grief. Be good to yourself.

    2. I’m sorry someone made such a hurtful remark, especially when you have had such serious health problems. I’m sure your pet was a comfort during your illness. Take care.

      1. Thank you Crystal. I know the remark wasn’t meant to hurt even though it did. It was thoughtless for sure. My little Chihuahua was a comfort always and without a doubt one of the main reasons I fought so hard during cancer and chemo. I feel like I never got to come up for air and then I lost her. My only comfort is I always promised I would never let her suffer for me, but like Brenda we always second guess. Thank you for your kindness to both Brenda and myself.

          1. Brenda,

            Yes, my husband has a rescue dog. Although I do not have the deep attachment to her as I did my little Chihuahua (she is very much his dog), I do take comfort in helping to take care of her and she does like me. She was very lost and sad in the beginning.

            Susan

  18. Thank God when my Munchen passed away everyone that I knew from my parents, to my siblings to my step-children and friends knew what a loss it was to me. Everyone around me was so kind and it helped tremendously to know that they were.

    Take it a day at a time greive Miss Abbi Rose, she was your baby and yur companion and your love.

    I hope all goes well with Charlie at thevet. Sending prayers your way.

    Have a great weekend

  19. I’m one who does know, Brenda. But I never had anyone write such a thoughtless remark to me when I was hurting. I can’t imagine. Would you tell a parent who lost a child that you’d have more time for other things now? Perhaps they had just never walked in your shoes.

    Your advice about comfort is good, not that anything helps at first but as you said, the grieving goes on and on and as it does some things do ease the sharpness of it. Oddly enough sometimes I sleep better on top of the covers too.

  20. Oh my friend, how I understand your grief. I too still miss and grieve for my Charlie Kitty and it’s been over two years. He was just so special and close to me. I tried not to let others ‘opinions’ of my grief touch me, but it is hard. If someone has never loved a pet like we have they cannot understand. I’m praying for you and Charlie that you have more time together. Treat yourself to all the comfort you can find. Hugs!

    1. I wrote the majority of this post last night, as I had to go to the eye place. But when I came home, walked in the door and once again was faced with blood, I added that. I’m so worried about my Charlie boy.

  21. I forgot to add that I hope all goes well with Charlie. My son is having health issues with his labradoodle and is totally destroyed over what to do. Having to be the responsible person and make decisions over another’s life is the terrible price we pay for having these fabulous friends in our life.

    1. I’m so worried. I cried and cried about Abi yesterday. I’m facing surgery Wednesday. I so hope Charlie will be all right. Every time I cry it irritates my right eye.

  22. I feel the same way about my dad. I see his photo on the fridge, and I give it a little rub and say I love you, but it is still so hard to believe he’s gone and I’ll never see him again. It hits me like a panic attack at times. Unless you are a pet person, you wouldn’t understand how intense the loss of a pet is. I would imagine the person who wrote that callous line to you just isn’t a pet person, so they don’t get it. Hoping and praying Charlie is ok, Brenda xoxo

    1. See my comment to Kris above. The comments were not to me. I know how much you miss your dad. I’m so worried now about Charlie.

  23. Good Morning Brenda. I am sorry that Charlie is not doing well again. I am keeping good thoughts that maybe it is just the infection and he needs a stronger antibiotic. I am sorry you have to wait until this afternoon to see the Vet. That has to feel like torture.

    Grief is so personal to each person. Everyone grieves differently and in their own way. You are right no one can feel what you are feeling. They may have experienced a similar loss like yours but it is not the same. I am sorry that you had those kind of comments left. I think people mean well but do not really understand the depths of grief.

    You have a good and healthy grip on dealing with your loss. That is what is important.

    Hoping for the best for your sweet Charlie.
    Hugs,
    Kris

    1. I need to clarify: i did not get those comments. Some of my readers got those comments from people around them while they’re grieving. And I took it to heart and mentioned it in this post. It was directed at me.

    2. I can late to our feelings for our pets. That love we share is unconditional somethingmost humans cannot understand. I can’t loosing my Priss. She’s my world. God bless them all.

  24. People can be so harsh, especially on the internet, where they can hide. My Daisy, my cairn terrier, is gone about three years now and I still catch a sob in my throat or just down right cry for her.

    I think the thing about pets is that their innocence is so profound. They are just there for you, no questions. Their little quirks and habits add to their personality which, for me, adds to their charm. The human population could take many lesson from our little pets.

      1. I sure do know how Eileen feels about grief for a beloved pet. Also, and I agree, sometimes people say harsh things and I hope they don’t mean to sound thoughtless and uncaring. Some folks just don’t get it. Brenda, I get this grief you are living with and I love the idea of the soft blanket comfort. Have you ever tried the pajama pants that are made of the same super soft blanket material? I just found a pair at a Marshal’s Store (like TJMax or HomeGoods). The softness is soothing unlike anything else I’ve worn. I can send the brand name if you are interested.

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