Registered: 1556499664 Posts: 42
Today has been really difficult. I really did think that I was starting to feel a little bit better about the loss of our dog, Patches. I've written other topics about his death. We put him to sleep on his 11th birthday which was on March 30, 2019.
Our house has felt so empty and it's truly unbearable. To help me cope with the pain, I've drawn pictures, written journals, created a shadow box of all Patches' favourite toys and blankets, made picture collages, and I keep his collar in my bedroom. I dedicate a few minutes every night before bed to sit and talk to him. I'll look at his picture next to his collar and tell him about my day or whatever has been bothering me. I've been seeing a new therapist, but it's difficult for me to talk about these things in person because I really don't like crying in front of other people. I know that I should definitely tell her about this because maybe she can help me. My family and I stayed with Patches as he took his last breaths. He laid on my lap while the vet administered the anesthesia and I felt the life leave his body. At the time, I felt a little bit at peace because I saw how much pain he was in during the days leading up to that Saturday afternoon. That entire Saturday morning was spent doing his pawprints, feeding him whatever he wanted (he was diabetic so we weren't allowed to give him any table food or treats but we let him do whatever he wanted that day), we didn't give him any of his medications or eye drops, and we took him for a walk in his stroller. That was the only nice day that week and I am so thankful for it. It was around 60 or 70 degrees F and sunny which was amazing. All of the other days were cold and rainy. We made the most of his last day with us and I am so grateful that I got the chance to have a proper goodbye. The issue is that while I absolutely don't regret staying with him until the end, I am getting flashbacks. I go into a state of panic where I can't get the voices out of my head. By voices, I mean the vet and my parents talking about what to do with Patches, all of the things we said to Patches before he crossed over, and the few words that have stuck with me the most were from the doctor. After he listened for Patches' heartbeat, he stood up, looked at us, and said, "Patches is gone. I'm so sorry." Then he gave us several minutes alone with Patches and then we handed him back to the techs. I can still see the way Patches was breathing that morning. He was having so much trouble and he wasn't able to walk without being in a lot of pain. The only time he really got up was when my boyfriend came over and I said, "Corey's here!!" He jumped up off the couch, wagged his tail, and ran over to the front door to wait for him. Patches greeted Corey with his little smile and then we took him on a walk around my street. I'm remembering the last few minutes before we had to leave to go to the vet. Corey, Patches, and I were in my room. Patches was on my bed and my mom came in crying and she had a handful of treats. We fed him as much as he wanted and I shared my bagel with him as well. I'm remembering asking my mom if we should give him his eye drops and then we both thought about it and she said that it wouldn't really make a difference. That's killing me right now. Knowing that we were done with the meds and eye drops and even if we did give them to him it wouldn't matter. His last vet appointment was at 3:30pm on 3/30/19. Corey played some guitar for Patches for about half an hour, then at 2:45 I said that it was time for us to leave. The car ride was terrible. I'm still getting flashbacks of his last appointment where we sat in the consultation room and watched them take Patches away to put the IV in. Then they gave him a sedative and his breathing slowed. He was asleep, but still with us. We spent a really long time talking to him and loving on him and telling him what a good boy he is and that we'll see him again someday. I don't know what to do when I get these flashbacks because they're exhausting. They put me into a state of panic and I can't get out of it. I thought that I was doing better and being able to manage them, until today (Saturday, June 15, 2019). I woke up at around 11:30am and went into the bathroom. My mom told me that she moved some stuff around in the dining room and that I should go check it out because I'd probably like it. I went, and I saw that there was a tiny table in the corner of the room that had notebooks and pens on it. It was taking the place of Patches' crate. We still have some of his stuff, but the big stuff like his bed and stroller, are in the garage. I was frantically looking all over the room for his crate and I started hyperventilating and I couldn't breathe. I just stood there, staring at the table in the corner, and I started crying. My mom came downstairs to see what I thought about it, and then she saw how upset I was. She genuinely didn't think twice about what she was doing when she moved the crate. I was at my boyfriend's house all day yesterday (Friday), so I wasn't around to stop her. She started crying and hugged me because she didn't think anything of it. Then I went back up to my room, got into bed, and cried until I fell asleep. I woke up again at around 2:00pm and she and my dad moved the crate back upstairs. She told me that I could take as much time as I needed before they moved it again and that she's sorry for doing it before I was ready. Then she told me that when she was in the shower yesterday, she could have sworn she heard Patches barking very quietly. My dad has really bad hearing, so she didn't ask him if he heard it too, but she took that as a sign from Patches that he's okay. Anyway, the whole crate situation really brought me back. I feel like I'm reliving the moment we got back from the vet without our boy. All I had was his blanket, collar, and leash that he'd never use or wear again. I don't know when this pain will end. I'm really hoping for a sign from Patches telling me that he's okay. Maybe he is sending them but I'm missing them. I have trouble believing in that sort of stuff, but I want to believe. I want to believe that he's still here with us, but it's so difficult. We have pictures of him in every room of the house. I decorated my graduation cap with a rainbow background and pictures of him. My mom told me that as I was walking up for my diploma, she could see him walking there next to me. I want to believe that he was there with me more than anything, but it's hard for me to do. I'm in so much pain. Mentally and physically. Either I don't sleep at all or I sleep too much. Either I'll starve myself, or eat like I'll never see food again. I'll have moments where I'll think about him and smile, but a lot of the time I'll think about him and have a complete breakdown. I just want to feel okay and I'm scared that I never will.
Registered: 1498611382 Posts: 580
I understand your feelings. I want you to know that you are not alone with what you are going through. I experienced the same thing when I let my beloved Termy go. I too made the best of his last weekend. I wanted to feed him anything he wanted but he was to the point that food didn't interest him. I also stopped giving him his heart medication that last weekend. I went to counseling to help with my grief and a pet loss support group. I was hesitant to open up and like you cry in front of her but I did and she understood. She suggested that when those awful last memories come rushing back to try to replace them with a good memory. At first it was hard but after a while it was easier to put them way back into the recesses of my mind. They still come up once in a while but not as often and I do cry when I recall them. Like seeing him looking out the car window as I came back to get him to take him inside to the vets, and yes those last words "He's gone". I told the tech to take god care of him, why I don't know because his spirit was already gone and all there was his earthly body. So give yourself time, all the time you need. It's been 21 months since I let Termy go. His harness still hangs where it did for over 16 years and his food dish still sits on the stool where he always ate. So there is no time line for putting away those reminders of our lives with them. Everyone has their own way to handle grief, there is no right or wrong in the amount of time it takes.
Patches is still near you. His spirit will always be there to guide and look over you just as he did before. As far as seeing him or getting a message, there are always signs. Some you may not know that are signs from him. Read some books about messages from our pets in the afterlife. They really helped me. I asked Termy for feathers and boy do I have a ton of feathers. I also go to a spiritual reader and Termy sends messages to through her to me. She has told me things only I know, that were things Termy did. It's a new normal that you will have to live. Take your time and be gentle with yourself. Try hard to remember the journey of the years you shared. I am sending you all my understanding and support. Love and doggie hugs Termy's mom
Registered: 1556499664 Posts: 42
Thank you for your kind words. It makes me feel better knowing that I'm not alone in this. Your advice from counseling seems impossible, but I'll give it a try. I will also try talking to my therapist about everything when I see her next time. My first appointment with her was about 2 weeks after Patches passed away. I went to the vet's office about 30 minutes before my appointment so that I could pick up Patches' ashes and pawprint. When I sat down for my appointment, I was okay in the beginning. I was able to carry on a somewhat normal conversation and we got through our introductions, but once she asked me what brought me in and what has been going on, I broke down crying. I don't really do that in front of people besides my boyfriend and sometimes my parents. I haven't cried in therapy since then, but I've been trying to avoid the heavier topics even though it's not helping me to put them off. I'm having a really difficult time accepting the fact that my little boy is gone. I feel like he's just at the vet or groomer or a boarding facility and we're just waiting for the call to come and pick him up. I feel like I could just call the vet or drive over to see how he's doing, but I can't because he's not physically here anymore. It's like Patches moved away and didn't give us his phone number so I have no idea how to get in contact with him to see how he's doing. I want to know that he's okay. I hope that he wasn't in pain during his final moments. I don't want him to be mad at us or think that we hurt him. We didn't abandon him or give up on him in any way, but I'm just worried that the euthanasia caused him extra pain. The doctor said that it wouldn't hurt him at all and that he'd be sedated and then once the anesthesia was adminstered, it would simply stop his heart and he woudn't feel a thing. How do they know though? I'm worried and I feel really bad. I think that I want to keep Patches' things around because if I get rid of them, I'm getting rid of him. It just makes the loss feel more real and I don't know if that's just something I'll have to power through at some point. I'm just not ready to take that step. I want to keep some sense of normal, but that's just not possible. Our routines aren't existent anymore and after having to feed, medicate, and give him insulin every 12 hours on the dot, I keep finding myself looking at the time to see if I should get the food ready. That part of my routine is slowly fading away, but I'm scared to let go because I don't want to lose him along with it. I feel like I'm not really making any sense right now. We tried getting a puppy 1 month after Patches passed away, but I was nowhere near as ready as I wanted to be. I tried to rush the grieving process. We took the puppy, Jackson, to the vet for a checkup about 3 days after we got him. He was a 12 week old yorkie mix and he was completely off the wall crazy. He helped me realise that I can't just hide my feelings and that my emotions will have to be dealt with at some point. Sooner is better than later in this instance. Luckily our vet is the nicest guy on the planet. He loved Patches in a similar way that we did. I made him a nice thank you gift of photos of Patches and I wrote him a nice card as well. He has the pictures on his desk in his office and he was telling me about how the pictures I chose for the frame really capture his personality. He spent about 45 minutes talking to us about the situation with Jackson, how we felt, how he felt, and what to do next. He truly is the sweetest guy and we're so lucky to have him nearby. It helped hearing his thoughts. He recommended waiting at least a year before getting another dog that way we can go through all of the "firsts" without Patches like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. Then after about a year we can see where we're at and he'll help us get another dog when we're ready. I did buy some books about signs from the afterlife. I never thought about finding a spiritual reader; I'll have to look into that. I look for signs, but when I think I got one, I'll talk myself into thinking that it was just a coincidence or that I made it up or that it's all just in my head. I want to believe that it's Patches though. Thank you so much Danielle
Registered: 1560594816 Posts: 22
I too understand how you feel. I visit my cat Green Bean's memorial (I hate to call it a grave) and the past few days I get the feeling that she is in a good place and is trying to tell me that she is wants to comfort me.
All I can say is that I care and that you are not alone. I am still in a bit of pain and pain does pass. I don't know when. I had a similar situation with my cat Nala many years ago and I did heal. Until then may whatever higher power you believe in be with you and comfort you.
Registered: 1556499664 Posts: 42
Sorry for the late response. Thank you for giving me some hope that I will get through this. I have good and bad days, but the bad days are pretty awful. It's hard to think that I'll be able to heal. Maybe I will never truly stop being sad about the loss of my best friend, but I will learn how to live and cope with the memories and sadness. The first week was so difficult. I didn't get out of bed or eat anything. I called out of work as well. I didn't think that it would get better, but after about 2 weeks I started to go outside more and leave the house. Baby steps, but I'm not how I was in the beginning which I think is a good sign. Part of me feels guilty for starting to feel better. I feel like I should still be sad, which I definitely still am, but sometimes when laughing or having a good day I get this overwhelming sense of guilt. Like I shouldn't be allowed to feel joy at this point in my life because I don't have my best friend by my side anymore. I'm trying to work through all of my thoughts but it's really difficult. Thank you for the kind words and I'm glad that you have found comfort in the memorial you have for Green Bean.