Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why we put ourselves through the grief of loving a pet

I heard my mom say time and again "well I won't be putting myself through that again anytime soon!" after the loss of a beloved family pet. Then in a few weeks she'd have found a new love to fill the painful void in her heart. That's when the stories of the previous love could be told without tears and without that hitch in the throat whenever his or her name came up. I dreamed a couple of months before we knew that Arial was so very ill, that she had died. She was telling me that I would need a new blogging buddy to keep me company in the late nights I tended to keep. I'm thinking that the arrival of Hound was prearranged somehow. I have always felt that animals keep us sane and grounded, that they show us what it is in our lives that is missing and somehow fill in the pieces. When Mac was on long deployments, I always had a pet nearby to tell my troubles to. Arial was special, so small and observant yet she was the Queen of the household of cats. No one crossed her. No one. When she entered the room it was like the parting of the Red Sea, everyone got out of her way. She even had a royal walk, head moving from side to side as she took in all she surveyed, knowing that everyone in the room belonged to her somehow. She never scratched, she never hissed she rarely meowed. I can't remember her ever being vocal, she controlled everyone with a look. Oddly, I can feel her here at the computer at my right hand where she always sat. She never bothered me, she simply sat with me. I would reach over and pet her as I tried to get a point to gel and she would lift her chin and close her eyes in ectstacy and allow me stroke the royal fur. Then when my brain had wrapped around the sentence in just the way I wanted it to, she would draw back unto herself and I would go on with my typing. I couldn't make myself come in here Sunday, I came in for a bit on Monday. Hound refuses to let us wallow in pity, and Pyewackit, the Clown Prince, has also taken it upon himself to drag us back to the happy side. And so they have succeeded in making us realize just why it is we draw our beloved pets to us...even though we know that grief will come, the loving of them makes it all worth the pain. Thank you my friends for all your sweet words, they have meant so much to both of us. You mean so much to me that words won't come. Yet.


45 comments:

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I have been checking in all day Sandi to see if you were there. I see I am the first one here so you must have just posted. I know it was hard to be in the computer room and write that. It was beautiful and elegant. You have the tears streaming down my face. Hugs ~ Lynn

david mcmahon said...

Because ... because ...

because I reckon they're more than pets. They're family members.

Thanks for the lovely comment on the dementia post, Sandi.

God bless

Lee said...

Sandi, that's a lovely tribute to Arial. Isn't it wonderful the way they can communicate with us without saying a word. That total love they give us is what makes them our family. Prayers of comfort and peace for you and your family.

Love,
Lee

Jeff B said...

Absolutely beautiful words Sandi. I know the healing process can be slow, but it would appear that it has begun.

Many hugs and prayers heading your way.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Oh Sandi I am so sorry to read about Ariel, with work et al I have not been out and about blogland much.

You have all my sympathy and love over your sad loss, I know how heartbreaking it always is.

Stacey said...

Oh gosh Sandi I'm soooo very sorry. I feel your pain and don't like to even imagine how you feel right now. Please let me know how I can help you. xoxoxo

Jules~ said...

Yes I completely believe that having other pets helps us to go on. Just a week before my Samson died, we had taken in my friend's dog to be a part of our family. It was completely unplanned and we didn't know that Samson would be leaving us. But how grateful I was over the next many months to have Pepper's big head of fur to bury my tears in.

Jay said...

I completely understand. Each time we lose one, I say, let's leave it a while to get over this, but each time, we end up getting another far sooner than we intended. Partly it's because we tend to keep two dogs, and the first grieves. Partly I feel it's a nudge from the first; come on, you have room to give another dog a special home now, what are you waiting for.

When we lost my beautiful, beloved Jim, our first dog, I felt him at my side at the computer. It made me cry, but at the same time, I found it comforting, too.

I'm glad you have Hound and Pyewackit. They are the best therapy.

Jenn and Jacqui said...

Our sweet lady, we are so sorry. We understand. Sending you the hugest, biggest, enormous HUG from across the ocean :)
Jenn and Jacqui

Katherines Dream said...

Thinking of you Sandi....big hugs from Carol xx

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Sandi, your thoughts are always so wonderfully expressed. Sometimes they are so near to what I would've like to have been able to say that I find myself nodding and shedding a tear. Now you have me missing Arial, too.

Gentle hugs, Dear One...

smilnsigh said...

Many gentle hugs, on your voyage to learning to deal with the passing of a beloved pet...

Miss Mari-Nanci
'Smilnsigh' blog

Merisi said...

Oh, sweet Sandi, I am so sorry that you lost Ariel (I haven't had time to visit my blog friends in quite some time)!

Yes, the love of one's pet/s is something so special, their love lets us dare to risk the grieve of losing them, again and again.

Hugs to you,
M.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Beautiful tribute Sandi!

i beati said...

We do it because of their unconditional love- at least I do - everyone else ahs in some way let me down here and there, and also we do it because they appreciate us so much. i had to bury one yesterday I didn't even know except for 4 hours and still I loved him- I cannot yet say the names of my 2 cats that left us this year, I miss them so - both huggers and moaning purrers. some other pet comes along in a different way but their space, Aerials space is never filled in your heart. You or I think we all owe it to find another and another to love to keep that legacy alive --Not one cat I own was as sweet as the 2 I lost - strange that they would leave me so sad so soon...

Love Bears All Things said...

I am sorry about the loss of your friend, Ariel. I know that even thought there are other cats in the household, it isn't the same. I liked what you said about Hound's arrival. Something similar to this happened when my Mother died and the feline who became the companion of Dad's last days arrived. Maybe I'll do a post about that sometime.
My own Bombay "Smokey" is lying here beside me, covered up in his blanket. He spends most of his time at my side when I'm still. Lately, with the packing, he has followed me from room to room, trying to figure out what I'm up to, perhaps.
Blessings, dear friend,
Mama Bear

Akelamalu said...

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Jeni said...

I think we keep getting other pets after going through the pain and grief of losing one for the same reasons that we have children to begin with too -or find a special person to share our lives with, with it be marriage or just a deep, close friendship. If we feared the loss factor so much in our lives that we never ventured forth to extend ourselves in this manner, what would life be then but dull, boring and very sad too if we never opened our hearts up to others. As difficult, as sad, hard as it is to lose a loved one -be it human or animal -we do it simply because it is a part of what makes us who and what we are -or should be -able to make room in our hearts for "just one more time."
Peace, my friend.

Kim from Hiraeth said...

It's been about a year and a half since I lost my dear kitty-boy, George, and his place in my heart is as firm as it ever was. I still miss him. I still nearly expect to see him.

Pets are a great and wonderful blessing! So sorry for your loss, but so happy for you that you loved Arial well and have such tender memories.

Sally said...

I've yet to replace Katie, the schnauzer we lost on 9/11 last year, but my daughter's weiner dog is here a lot. And, that has helped.

Take care, Sandi.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Sandi, what a sweet tribute to your Arial. sniff. As the Mom of a big Lab who is almost 14, I know this is around the corner. Thinking of you and giving you hugs,

xo Lidy

Jules said...

Wishing you only sweet memories of Arial, and I hope her spirit stays.

(((Hugs)))

Lehners in France said...

Oh Sandi, I am so sorry for your loss. Your post brought back memories of my lovely Tortie, Tabatha, she dies 13 years ago and her sister Sophie who died 3 years ago. So I sit here with tears in my eyes and I wonder why we never get used to losing a beloved pet. It takes a special person to love their animals so deeply, and you so obviously are. Debs (((xxxx)))

NeereAnDear said...

Sandi... I truly know how you feel... Pepper was my friend who followed me from room to room... I was alone in FL except for her and longed to be with my family.... when I found out she had cancer I couldnt face it alone....they came down and moved me in a matter of two weeks... she died exactly one month to the day that we left ... happy and with those she loved most... she was in a sense responsible for my being where I wanted to be... ... It will be difficult... it took me two years before I got PJ and I couldnt love her more...she has a lot of traits and does things that Pepper used to... funny how they can keep those wonderful memories alive..

It will take time... we all grieve in different ways...

our pets are not only family but they are loyal and always... always there for us..

I hope you will be ok... I know it can be hard..

Sending hugs your way

JO

Pam said...

I've been thinking of you! *hugs* Animals always have a way of burrowing into those special places of our hearts.

Mary Isabella said...

This is so beautifully written!!! I sat and cried as I read it and my heart was full for you....I am sending you a big hug my friend....Mary

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Oh, Sandi, I'm so sorry you lost your Ariel. I've been through it too just 3 years ago in October (mine was almost 15) & it was one of the hardest things ever. They really are like family. She was a baby to me. Big hugs!

And, thanks for peeking in my blog. You're SO right, I don't need much of an excuse. You & several others have offered to take it off my hands, but I'll be keeping it for a redo in the future.
xo,
Rhoda

joan said...

Well written post Sandi. I'm sure she loved you. Take care.

Jeanne said...

We have to put ourselves through it because the days of devotion and love our furbabies give us make it worthwhile. And if it wasn't for that love and devotion we wouldn't feel such grief. My little Noelle lies right here with me while I'm online and I can't even think of not having her here. Been through it with our other furbabies and it never gets easy and remnants of the pain always remain.

Susie Q said...

You have been on my mind so much sweet Sandi. We put ourselves through it all becasue we need them...we need them and they need us. And they become a part of us.
They come into our lives and when they go, they leave their pawprint on our hearts where it stays forever.
You sweet girl is in a warm sunny place now and can run and play and yes, I firmly believe we will see them again.

I hope she meets up with my Hannah and Mandy.

Love and hugs to you,
Sue

ancient one said...

I am sorry to hear of the death of your cat. And so relieved to have you feeling better.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Hello Sandi - I read your blog about your beloved Arial with much understanding. I know exactly how you feel having lost all my cats now. And I also said 'never again' but somehow now, missing the beautiful creatures, feel maybe one day ...

Found your blog via Retired and Crazy.

A x

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I know what you mean about pets. We still hope that our missing Boris will come home, even though he has been gone for six weeks now. Surely dead on a busy road. Sometimes he could seem wiser than me even though he was "only" a cat.

Gill - That British Woman said...

the pain does go away eventually, at least you have memories......thinking of you,

Gill from Canada

Maggie May said...

That is the sad part of having pets, isn't it? Really sorry to learn about Ariel. I have been through this many times..........I still miss my favourite cat & my favourite dog after many years.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Sandi, I am so sorry over your sad loss of Arial. I know she is just watching over you now and purring with her encouragment...
(((((HUGS)))))
Penny

Adla said...

Hi Sandi,hope you are feeling good. Sorry to hear about your beloved Aerial. Hope your days will be filled with more sunshine and beautiful memories to make you smile :)

Hugs, Adla

DogLover said...

There are so many of us who have lost pets. You paint a lovely picture of Ariel. I don't know what to say, so I won't say anything.

Brenda said...

Sandi I have been thinking of you alot. I know what this feels like. You know Java was my sweet little snuggle bug that loved me when no one else did and then he got ran over.
I bought Jersey when we went to see Rian knowing he would never replace Java,but wow he is right the opposite .He is wild..always getting into things,But he loves me. Always under my feet.. biting at my gown. Just when I want to dig out his papers and run and add for a wild boy Bichon hehe I look at him and call his name and it reminds me where he came from. Jersey! He will always be part of Rian and it makes me hang on tighter.
Gotta love Gods creatures.

Abbie said...

I'm reading your posts out of order but I'm feeling like one of the babies passed on??
Gosh I'm so sorry. I'm going to catch up now.

Donna said...

Hugggggs and love to you!!!hughugs

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Yep. I don't know what we will do when "Ed" our dog finally goes. It's weird even when he's at the kennels. So sorry to hear about Ariel. Lots of love Hadriana xx

SandyCarlson said...

It is difficult, isn't it Sandi? I have yet to find a new pet almost three years since my dear pup died after 12 years of friendship. A friend recently said it's a horrible waste to let time pass without a dog. I guess any pet that speaks to your heart. It's true.

God bless.

Country Cottage Chic said...

I'm so sorry about Arial - how very sad for you to lose such a sweet kitty.

Hugs
Jayne

tlc illustration said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. It is always so difficult to adjust to our companions being gone... They add so much (my very *vocal* studio cat is currently drapped over my typing arms and 'talking' as I write this).

Big hugs and commiseration.