The grief goes on

I’ve been quiet here lately. Not that I didn’t want to blog. I’ve been having so many thoughts that I’m continuously processing and distilling them in my head.

People haven’t asked how I’m doing. They probably assumed I’ve moved on based on what I post on social media. I realized early on that much as people feel sorry for what happened to Zack, not many can relate to the grief over a pet. So no one bothers to ask how I’m doing. Then again, it’s not that different after Daddy died. People just don’t want to reach out to grieving people, not even with a ten-foot pole. Sad because that’s when it’s really important to do so.

How am I doing? Barely getting by. Smiling on the outside. During bad grief days, sleepless at night. Tired during the day. Good days, I can sleep for 5-6 hours, 7 hours if I took allergy meds.

Last night, I was in the bedroom and I thought I heard three sniffs that sounded like Zack. That happened after I had a quick crying spell when I saw his picture by accident. Last weekend, we went on a road trip and I drove all the way to our destination for 8 hours. While my husband was asleep, I sang while driving, but when I heard certain songs that reminded me of Zack, tears streamed down my cheeks (that’s what I get for singing so many songs to him). We stayed in a lovely hotel museum, yet a part of me got upset. If Zack was alive, we wouldn’t have been able to stay there because they weren’t pet-friendly. Darn them.

I joined two pet grief support FB groups where I learned that so many pets are dying everyday, mostly due to kidney disease (which is what got Zack too). Then there’s a bunch who dealt with inept veterinarians providing mediocre care (which we experienced as well). Even those who put their pets to sleep encountered problems. All very heartbreaking stories, really.

But what have I learned since joining those groups?

  1. We’re not alone in feeling this way. We’re not crazy for feeling this level of grief. Grieving furbaby parents express a lot of regret and self-blame. We’ve done that and continue to do so. Maybe, hopefully, it will taper off in time.
  2. There’s no easy or perfect way for a pet to pass away. If they die on their own, you grapple with wondering if you did the humane and compassionate thing by letting them die naturally. (This is something I personally wonder about.) If they were put to sleep, I noticed that the owners wondered if they made the right decision…”what if our pet wasn’t ready to go yet, but we ended his/her life?” Some even had the process go awry with their furbabies fighting it out, looking at the parents as if asking why, having seizures, etcetera before eventually succumbing to the cocktail mix of meds. If they died in an accident, the owners blamed themselves for not protecting their furbaby the best way they can. If they went missing and are presumed dead, the owners wanted closure – they want the body of their furbaby back.
  3. There are some furbabies that show unusual strength and vigor the day before they passed away, which gave their parents false hopes. It’s like they know it’s the end of the line for them, but they’re giving their parents one good day to remember them by. Zack did the same thing for us (and I can’t even type it out without tears welling up in my eyes). I watched a documentary about the state of corals all over the world before, and I learned dying corals glow brightly before death. That thought popped up in my head when I learned about that one good day.
  4. Zack really was a fighter. Most of the people in the group have pets of various ages dying so quickly that their parents had no chance to say goodbye. Zack, my sweet little boy, came back to us twice allowing us to tell him what we wanted to say. I’m simultaneously comforted and saddened that our voices were the last things he heard as he drifted off to eternal sleep.
  5. I miss Zack more than ever. Every day. Every night. But this was a pain I was willing to accept just so he can be free from his pain, so I tell myself, “suck it up, buttercup.” There are still good grief days and bad grief days. Some days, I’d be in this “no tears or sad thoughts today…this is good” mood. But when the bad hits, it’s really bad. No sweeping it under the rug though. I’m embracing whatever I feel.

My birthday is coming up this month and he didn’t even make it to my birthday. I hope he’ll at least appear in my dreams in a good and happy way. That would make my heart glad.

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