Reflection blog post … no pretty pictures, not pitching anything, just sharing my heart.

The time came this past Friday, the time I had been ever so dreading, the time to let my dog, Rudy go. His illnesses were getting too bad and well, it was time. I just logged on to my blog to change the “About Darla” content to remove the sentence referencing that I lived with my husband and 15 year old wiener dog, Rudy. It’s been a tearful weekend but it has been a reflective one. I have thought a lot about loss this weekend.

I guess I had a charmed youth as I didn’t experience a loved one passing until I was in my 20’s. I went through some bad things in my life that other people are amazed at but I guess I never really thought of any of them as “loss” but just things I had to get through and move past. I never had the luxury of not moving forward. I was a single mom of two girls and that is just what you have to do, move forward, work hard and raise your kids.

Loosing my parents was obviously the hardest thing I have ever lost, even though I was a grown woman. I’ve said before there is something that shifts in an adult’s life when their parents (if they had a strong, loving relationship with them) pass on. People would tell me “oh I feel them here with me” or other statements that indicate that they still have a connection with their deceased loved ones has not been my experience. I’ve never felt that and I miss them both so much that at times, my chest actually hurts. I’ve heard stories that when you see a Cardinal it is a loved one checking in on you from heaven. My mom, Joyce Marie, loved gardening and working in the yard. Her yard and her plants were everything to her. So now when I’m working in my yard, I swear I see Cardinals all the time and that silly wive’s tale slips into my brain and I smile, hoping that my Mama can see me working in my yard, doing the things that she used to love so much. Who am I to say, who knows? It does get easier as time goes by, I can’t deny that, but at times the pain is as raw now as it was right after I lost them both.

A pet obviously can’t be compared to a loved one, a parent, a child (which I can’t even fathom the thought of that one), but there is an emptiness that takes place and certainly a loss. I think this one hit me so hard because of the connection I had with this crazy little wiener dog. I remember when he was young, loving him SO much and sometimes having flashes of craziness like – OK, so Rudy’s 3 now, dogs only live about 10 years, so I only have 7 more years with him … Now, how insane does that sound? Sometimes, I loved this little guy so much that I obsessed about loosing him and I remember telling friends that they would have to put me “under the grave” when I lost him. I loved him that much. I know that is silly, and a terrible way to look at it, and I know that now, really I do. But here I am, 2 days after watching him slip away, technically by my hand since I alone was the one that made the decision, made the appointment, drove him to the vet, allowed her to end his life and watched him pass on. I have cried too much and now I need to let it go. He is not suffering anymore. It was not a bad thing that I did by letting him go, it was a kind thing, it was the right thing. He is now out of that terrible black hole and the pain from his failing little body that he has been in for while now. Perhaps it was selfish of me to keep him around for as long as I did and if it was, I am truly sorry and my only defense is that I loved him so much that I just wanted to try to make it better for him. But in the end, I believe that I am now accepting this as the right thing to do and am at peace with it all. He was a great dog, he lived a long time, and he had a fabulous life and was loved beyond measure. Those are all good, wonderful things.

So, our weekend consisted of restoring our house back to order from all the renovations that we have done to make it livable for our blind little guy. The ramps and steps that we made are out at the curb for the trash guys or dumpster divers who will pass by to salvage old wood. We are now a pet free home which seems unthinkable to me. Will we get another dog? My knee jerk reaction right now would be to say no because I can’t even imagine going through this pain again, but I know that’s not the way to look at it, I know that.

We have a two week trip to Paris scheduled in June and to even entertain the idea of getting another pet and leaving them alone for 2 weeks is not fair, so that’s my immediate story and I’m sticking to it. When we come back from Paris, I’m sure I’ll be down at the rescue center soon to find me a running buddy. I’m a dog person, in fact, I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t have a dog.

My husband and I will spend our tenth anniversary in Paris with beloved friends, have a fantastic time and then I’ll make that decision. Everything will be OK, my heart will heal and until the time that another dog joins our family, I plan on visiting the shelter on the weekends and playing and walking them. I’ll just have to feed the deer more now and look forward to all the fawns coming in a few months. Yeah, that’s the ticket, that’s what I’ll do!