Mending Socks

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It’s been a strange ten days. Even now, I can’t even begin to make sense of it all. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the emotional repercussions of having my mate put to rest. I feel like my  universe shifted gear. I feel I have been left reeling. I came to consider that grief is like a sock. Unless you are actually in it, you can never really understand or explain the feeling of it wrapped around you. Up until last week, I’d never experienced the euthanasia thing. It’s made me rethink all the basics in life. Integrity, responsibility, guilt, shame and love to name but a few. I admit to loving my animals far greater than I love any human. Perhaps that’s why the pain is close to unbearable at times. When unconditional love slips through your fingers, the loss seems all the more heartbreaking. The perfect love has escaped you.

I always told Ollie that if he wasn’t a dog, I would marry him. Aside from the odd bit of thievery, he had all the prime qualities I would want in a partner. He was loving and loyal. Faithful, intelligent and caring. Not to mention adorable. And he was fun. Beyond all measure.

If only I could find someone with his dog like qualities. Someone who simply loved having their belly scratched, who ate everything I put down in front of them like it were gourmet food for a God. Someone who beamed love at me every time I walked in the room. And someone who wanted nothing more than to please me. What I think is most apparent is that perhaps these qualities are the ones I must work on in myself, in order to attract that which I so desire. He was a teacher. My best. No doubt about it. What I do know through all of this is that I am changed. Through this experience I am no longer the same person.

I turned up to my first shift back at work and folded. Just couldn’t do it. Wasn’t ready. I was sent home in tears. I searched for a grief counsellor but no-one could see me for at least a week. Hard to put all those tears on hold for a week when I could barely manage an hour without weeping. A friend called and I asked her to contact my vet. It was a last ditch effort to pull the pieces together. She came back to me with a name. Karlene Bradley. I rang the number she gave me and was eventually led to a woman who didn’t know me from Adam but who spent over an hour on the phone talking me through the worst of my grief. She was a pet bereavement counsellor. She was an angel. She knew what I was going through because she had been through it herself. She wore the sock. She let me wail and talk and she talked and listened until there was nothing left to say. I was wrung out. She picked up the threads of my frayed spirit and she tugged and she tied and she knotted. She rethreaded my heart strings and the mending began.

From there, I began writing. I poured my heart and soul onto paper. Writing also became my saviour. It wrapped its inky arms around me and welcomed me into the fold. It accepted everything I lay down before it. Never questioned. Never doubted. Just let me be as I was at the time. It led me through the rough. I am so grateful I am a writer. I am grateful to have this outlet that helps me to heal.

I have tried to keep busy in these past ten days. I have surrounded myself with photos of my beautiful boy. It helps just to see him framed in a corner, a lucky dog biscuit pressed tightly between his lips. And I have taken Little Moo on adventures away, for she too is grieving the loss of her mate. From both of us, thank you to all of you who cared, thought of us, called us, emailed us, messaged us, hugged us and supported us in any way. There are a lot of you. And I am grateful to every single one of you. But a big thank you to Karlene. This world needs you. And I am eternally grateful to you. You helped mend me.

Below: How Little Dog and I have spent some days…

Shopping for New Toys

Shopping for New Toys

Having a Girls Day at the Spa

Having a Girls Day at the Spa

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Trying Out a New Bed

Stocking Up on Treats

Stocking Up on Treats

Remembering the True Glue of Friendship

Remembering the True Glue of Friendship

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14 thoughts on “Mending Socks

  1. Lynn, I think grief is one of those emotions we can’t possibly be prepared for, but simply need to experience in all its unexpectedness and pain. And it comes in many ways, shapes and forms from just as many sources. I’m so glad you’ve found solace in your writing. I hope it continues to sustain you as you learn to take one step at a time without your best friend by your side.

  2. Oh Lynn, your story made me cry! I, too, have been here more times than it seems fair. I live with so many animals, and their lives are so much shorter than ours, that it is sadly inevitable that we feel this void of pain so often. I remember when my horse, Hercules, was euthanased. I had other animals, but for the first time in 16 years, I had no reason to jump out of bed in the morning, no one depending on me to bring them their breakfast on time, no one who would greet me with a hearty welcoming neigh. We had been through so much together and it took a long, long time to heal. Everything was touched with sadness.

    I thought that was the end of my journey with horses. Yet, incredibly, it was only the beginning of a whole new era.

    All I can say is that it does get better, some how, some way. You take the love with you.

    • Thanks, Lucy,

      I have thought of you often this week – about your wonderful connection with animals. I can only imagine your pain after losing your horse after so many years. It was bad enough for me after five years. It’s not quite so raw now. We are filing the huge gap with fond memories that let him live on in spirit. By God, I miss him though.

  3. Thanks so much, Karen. You are right. I thought I was in some way prepared and I thought I had managed through the ordeal of putting him to sleep. What followed though was a huge wave that knocked me to the ground. Just as Ollie was, I think writing will always be a best mate of mine. And through it, I will always be able to connect with him. With anything.

  4. HI Lynn,

    I have a little book, that is available from the ABC shop, called ‘Coping with Grief’. It has pulled me through some tough times and I’d like to recommend it to you. Grief is real and it is surprising. There are no hard and fast rules about ‘how to behave’ when you are grieving. Sometimes you may even catch yourself laughing and then feel guilty. All of this is ok. Everything is permissable. Just keep moving through the stages and allow yourself the freedom to express yourself.

    With warm hugs

    Angela

    • Thanks for this, Angela,

      Whilst each day is getting better, it’s still a hard road to travel. I will look into this book today. It’s been a huge learning experience for me. And very surprising. Life right now is day by day, moment by moment. And perhaps that’s one of the most important things I am meant to learn out of all of this. XOX

  5. Lynn, another beautiful, moving post. It’s a real strength of yours – being able to express yourself so honestly. I hope you’re still taking each day at a time, and putting one foot in front of the other, which is the only thing that can be asked of someone going through such a loss. Know you’re still in my thoughts.

    Lots of love.

  6. Thanks, Kath,

    Happened when I turned forty – my wings that were like a shield of steel fell off and there I was. The real me. So much easier being me than trying to be the person I thought I should be. Scary sometimes.

    Doing much better. The inner guilt beatings have almost gone and the beautiful happy memories are crowding my head. Getting there. Thanks for thinking of us.

    Hugs to you and yours XOXOXOXO

  7. I’m glad you were able to bleed properly and cry your fucking heart out. You do what you need to do, rather than allowing anyone to dictate how you ‘should’ be grieving. Everyone bleeds differently, and I know that you know this – I just wanted to give you a gentle reminder that this is YOUR journey.

    I miss Ollie Font, yet I never met him, though yesterday I felt as though I met him in spirit, through you, Moo, your stories and photos and just his presence in your beautiful home. He was so deeply loved and seeing his smiles in the photographs, he adored you like a son would a Mum. Much love, Carls xoxo

    • Thanks for this, you beautiful woman. We so loved having you over yesterday and your beautiful spirit still mingles here long after you have gone. Susie left a lovely message for me on FB – he’s still about – just in a different form. I believe this is true. The biggest tragedy of yesterday was that we forgot to eat your fabulous tart!

      Love you XOX

  8. So beautifully written, Lynn. I can’t thank you enough for posting your comment on my Blog regarding my Alfie. It helps to know somebody out there understands and has been through it. I am actually contacting a medium in America who is going to contact Alfie. I know that sounds totally way out there but she has done excellent work for my friend in the past and I really believe in this woman’s powers. It’s been about eight days now since Alfie died and they are all empty and lost days. xx

    • Totally understand. If you ever want someone to talk to – let me know and I can mail you my number. I’d be happy to talk. The medium thing isn’t crazy at all. I did the same. I had Ollie cremated and kept his ashes for the first few months. The woman I saw was also the reverend for a spiritualist church. I went to a service at Christmas and she asked me if I had “let him go” yet. I shook my head “no”. She suggested the summer solstice would be a nice time. So that’s what I did. On the longest day of the year – the day where there was the most light, I sprinkled his ashes in his favourite spot in the garden. And it felt amazing to let him go. Really beautiful. I remember the great gaping hole that followed Ollie’s death. It takes a while for the days to start making sense again. But I think there will always be that space that never fills. A spiritual vacuum that belongs to them and helps us remember.

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