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Jan 10, 2008 - 2 comments





Chronic Illness



I realize grieving is a normal process, but I really wish it was an unnecessary part of the human condition.  Chica is very sorely missed around the homestead, and we find ourselves unconsciously looking for her in her usual haunts.  We get stabbed in the heart several times a day in the process.  At least the waterworks are slowing down to the point that I'm not washing away my contact lenses in a flood of tears.  Emotional upheavals leave me feeling like I've been run over by a Mack truck - and over, and over and over.  Can we just skip over the boo-hooing and go directly to the warmth of fond remembrance?

Part of the process of moving on involved the mundane tasks of laundry, carpet cleaning and picking up Chica's old food bowls.  Her feeding station in the kitchen looks so bare now.  I mentioned to Hubby that I felt somehow disloyal by doing all these things, and he quickly set me straight.  We are erasing the signs of sickness and suffering - not Chica's very existence.  OK, I can deal with that.

Chica's packmate, Maggie, is having a bit of trouble adjusting to being the solo mutt as well.  She woke us up a couple nights ago making all kinds of noise in Chica's crate.  I called to Maggie and she exited the crate only to relocate to Chica's former pallet next to our bed.  Maggie's nose was sniffing away like mad, and she stayed on the pallet until early morning.  Poor little Mags.  We've tried to keep her entertained and distracted, but there are too many times we catch her just moping around the house unlike her usual cheery self.  For her sake, we'll need to rescue another dog sooner than later.

I pulled out some old photos of Chica taken over the years.  I remember what an active athlete she was during the majority of those years, and finally realize she must have been far more miserable than I imagined in her last months.  Chronic illness creeps in and does its disabling work so slowly that it's hard to reconcile the difference until you see it slapped into your face.  I salute Chica's unflagging spirit and willingness to persevere in the face of horrible circumstances.  I hope I live up to her example when it's my turn.  

It's time to leave the illness and suffering behind and focus on all the wonderful years of memories Chica left to us.  Yes, dogs have much to teach us about enjoying life and living it well.  I'm beginning to focus on her life now rather than her death, and that's a good thing.

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by suzi-q, Jan 13, 2008

I always seem to read your posts at the right time....When I am looking for something, I find you with the answers.  I guess God leads me in this direction and you are his messenger to me.  I looked at some of Tiffy's old pics recently and you are so right how these things creep up so slowly.  In the pictures she was full of life and so happy.  The last year or so (with heart disease) definitely slowed her down so much to just an existence.  She loved to eat and that was her joy and I made sure that she always ate like a queen!  When that stopped I knew it was her time.  

You are so right about how much our dogs teach us.  They teach us unconditional love, they teach us patience, they teach us forgiveness, the teach us selflessness and they teach us how to live with dignity right until the end without any complaints.  That is Tiffany's legacy to me.  And I am going to try to focus on her wonderful life.  

Thank you again, Jaybay.  Please stay around here...I need you!


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by Jaybay, Jan 15, 2008
Aw Suzi.  Thanks so much for the very kind words, but look to yourself rather than me for your ability to deal with grief.  I think you'd be coming along just fine in your own time without me as with me, but it does help me to have your company in our similar circumustances.  If my words have helped you, that makes me very happy.  It's just my way to "vomit" out strong emotions in the form of writing.  It forces me to think things through rationally and helps me make sense of it all.  Writing is a kind of therapy for me.  When you don't see anything here, you know my life is pretty bland and unexciting.  :-)

Have you tried writing out a paragraph or two on your own about what you're going through?  You certainly don't need to do so publicly.  Keeping your thoughts private, but in written form can really be therapeutic.  You never know where the pen may lead.

Hang in there.  We'll both eventually remember the good years instead of the last few debillitating weeks.  It was  time for Tiff and Chica to go on another journey - just as we will in our own time.  I'm doing better moving forward, and hope you are too.  :-)


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