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Thread: Goodbye, My Little Heart

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Default Goodbye, My Little Heart

    Ten years is actually a long time.
    That's how long Annie was part of my life. Ten years and a little more than two months.

    It didn't feel like ten years. Primarily because the last two years of that decade were powerfully overshadowed by the Cushing's Disease that just about consumed me, too.

    When Annie died, I felt like I had been shortchanged. Somehow, her loss seemed unfair. It felt like I hadn't had her for as long as I thought I would.

    I found myself beginning to make comparisons of other ten-year spans of time that would help to put everything into perspective.

    The first one that popped into my head was that ten years took a child from birth right up to Grade Five. That's actually a long time. There are one hell of a lot of milestones that a child achieves during that decade when one stops to think about it.

    Good grief … not only do they learn to walk and talk and use the bathroom, but they graduate from a crib to a bed. They learn to read and write. They play sports and learn the intricacies of the rules. They ride bicycles and skateboards and taste the freedom of independence and speed. They open countless birthday presents and learn that the best part of the gift is not just to eat the shiny paper. They make lengthy lists for Santa Claus and experience the magic of ten Christmas mornings. The tooth fairy visits them often as they grow their adult teeth. They learn to swim. They go on vacations with their families, building sand castles and perhaps they even meet Mickey Mouse. Their palettes become more discerning as baby food gradually gives way to more mature tastes and textures. And they feed themselves, too.

    If we peer into that same child's life at a different stage, ten years is still a long time.

    The decade from their tenth birthday through to their twentieth is also filled with many measurable achievements.

    They finish elementary school and head on into high school. They graduate from high school and enter university - if that is their chosen path. They get their first job. They learn to drive and taste a whole new kind of independence and speed. They fall in love and probably have their heart broken more than once in the process, too. They begin to get a sense of what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They may leave their childhood home to face life squarely on their own terms.

    When I stop to think about a ten-year span in my own life, it's still a long time.

    Ten years from the date of my marriage in 1975 saw me established as a teacher with a son in Grade One. I had moved four times, gotten professionally credentialed, hired and assigned to a school. I had already written countless report cards, marked innumerable tests, assignments and exams and planned hundreds upon hundreds of lessons in all the required subjects. I had gotten pregnant and given birth. I had commuted thousands of miles, enduring the frustration of traffic gridlock and seasonal weather challenges. I had been driven by the clock. I raised a little boy … And all that THAT entails. I had juggled the exhausting demands of motherhood and a full-time career. I had found reliable day-care providers and dealt with an abundance of childhood illnesses that, unpredictably, threw a monkey wrench into established daily routines.

    Ten years is, in fact, a long time.

    When you share that span of time with a canine companion, though, it seems to flash by in the blink of an eye.

    Our own lives have to be tucked into the interstices between their essential walk schedule, for example. And, after the novelty of walking with a puppy has worn off, those daily strolls pretty much all blend into each other. The same times each day, the same route … the same expected outcome.

    Thousands of water bowls filled and thousands of meals prepared. Thousands of harnesses put on … and taken off … Thousands of poop bags purchased, filled, knotted and disposed of … Hundreds of little winter coats put on … And tiny feet gently washed to neutralize that stinging salt … The transition of forty seasons witnessed … which never ceased to be magical when seen through the insatiable curiosity of a dog's eyes and nose.

    I was still on the clock.

    It's not so easy to mark the passage of time with a little dog.

    It is easy to feel shortchanged when the essentials of their daily routine, by their very nature, tend to blur one's ability to discern memorable moments along the way.

    Rainy days, snowy days, windy days, icy days, they were all the same. Just a necessary “something” to be gotten through so that one could go back to fitting life into the interval before the next walk … always with one eye on the relentless march of the hours …

    I was not shortchanged.


    Ten years is, in fact, a long time.

    But what I wouldn't give for ten more …

    Goodbye, my little heart . . .

    Until we meet again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Ten years IS such a long time, isn't it?

    And yet... it's not.

    Godspeed Annie.

    Many hugs sent your way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    Judi & "mah boy" Keesh

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    Dear Catherine,

    Your K9C family is so sorry to learn of Annie's passing. Thank you very much for returning to us, though, and allowing us to join you in honoring Annie and all she has meant to you. What we wouldn't give to be able to start the journey all over again with our precious pups, but this time around with them being strong and healthy for years and years and years.

    Every moment is a gift, though. And just as you have said, we are grateful for each and every one of those moments spent together.

    Sending you my best wishes across the miles, Catherine, and my deep sympathy for your loss of your little girl.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    rural central ARK

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    I am so sorry to hear about your precious Annie. We never get enough time regardless how long we get to share our lives with them. We are here any time, right by your side.

    Our deepest sympathy,
    Leslie, Trinket, Sophie, Fox and all our angels

    From The Darkest Evening of the Year
    By Dean Koontz

    “Dog’s lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with (them), never fail to share (their) joy or delight in (their) innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”
    "May you know that absence is full of tender presence and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." John O'Donahue, "Eternal Echoes"

    Death is not a changing of worlds as most imagine, as much as the walls of this world infinitely expanding.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    San Diego, Ca

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    I am so sorry for the lose of your precious Anne. There is never enough time with our fur babies. From one Canadian to another. I lived in Rexdale, Ontario,in the township of Etobiko,in the 1960's. Lived one time beside Maple Leaf Garden. My Sweet Anne be at peace.
    Sonja and Apollo

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    For me, time is measured in moments. Most good, some bad. When it comes to our sweet babies, there is never enough time. Whether it be eight, 10, 15 years or more, it seems to fly by in the wink of an eye. Leaving us always craving more.

    So sorry for you loss. Fly free Annie!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Glen Cove, NY

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    Ten years....It is such a long time...Lena has only been gone for 7 months and I can't believe I have made it to this on earth can I last another 9 years without her??

    We became seniors together; I became a grandmother and she became an "aunt"; we moved from the house she came to us in to a new one; my father, her "pop"; she lost her big sister, five cat brothers; and a parakeet....such a long time.

    As you, what wouldn't I give for another 10 years...even if it meant such heartache. We love them to pieces and then we have to let them go. It's not fair....

    But I think it gives us more time to give our hearts to the other ones that need us NOW. That's how I want to think of it.

    I loved Lena with all my heart and I miss her every second of every day, but I couldn't turn away any other if they needed me...just call me a sap....
    Joan, mom to my Angel Lena, Doree, Gable, Cooper, Angel Phoenix and now Sibble.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    I have to take a moment to thank all of you most sincerely for your tender condolences and support.
    This experience of grief is unlike anything that I've ever felt before and its intensity is beginning to cause me some concern.
    Perhaps someone could help me out here with a bit of reassurance.
    When Annie died, I was as prepared as one can be ( I guess ) for the emotional pain that hit me like an eighteen-wheeler.
    I've buried both parents and my husband died eight years ago, too. I thought I knew what to expect.
    What I didn't anticipate were the physiological manifestations of this grief and sorrow . . . In other words, I'm not only feeling Annie's loss in terms of my head ( emotions, thoughts, etc. ) but I'm also feeling it in my body.
    Severe insomnia, loss of appetite and muscle aches are the most bothersome symptoms.
    It is almost as if my "fight or flight" response has gotten stuck in the "ON" position.
    I find that I've become hypervigilant and filled with anxiety.
    Mind you, that's exactly how I felt during Annie's final weeks as her little world ( and mine, too ) got smaller and smaller. I kept an incredibly close eye on her . . . 24 / 7.
    She began to gradually eat less and less . . . so I scrambled to come up with meal alternatives that would tempt her waning appetite.
    She developed opportunistic skin infections which were treated with meds and special veterinary shampoos. ( Annie hated water. The only way that I could follow through with the prescribed WEEKLY baths was to get into the tub with her to try to keep her calm. )
    I could list many other examples . . . but as you've all dealt with Cush-pups, I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.
    And now Annie is gone.
    My head is valiantly trying to tell my heart that I can stand down.
    But the message isn't getting through . . .
    I feel myself still "braced" and ready for the next challenge !
    Do you have any suggestions ?
    How long did it take before you found yourself able to relax a bit ?
    I can weather the emotional storm . . . because as so many of my friends have said, "Catherine, you did GOOD."
    It's utterly exhausting waiting for my heart to catch up to this new reality . . .
    Thank you all again . . .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Goodbye, My Little Heart

    My apologies for the lack of line spacing in my last post, by the way !

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