The sun has finally come out here today and we are enjoying a beautiful cloudless Spring day! Oh Joy! I decided to make a much needed start on tidying the garden. The above bed is only a year old. Our family decided to create it as a memorial to our beloved pet, a golden retriever named Millie who died in October 2015. As I tidied the bed, thoughts of Millie came flooding back, some humorous, some sad. Here are a couple of excerpts from my journal around that time.
When is the right time? (September 2015)
Our dog is old, she will be thirteen in December. I am now watching her barely able to stand. Her right back leg keeps giving way on her. Since last Christmas her health has been deteriorating . She was diagnosed with a stomach tumour and renal failure in April. The vet had told me that with medications she could last a few months. I would never have gotten a dog if I’d known how painful it would be to watch her slowly shrinking in size. I feel a void in the centre of my being. Shortly we will have to make a decision to euthanise her. I was so hoping that she would die peacefully in her sleep, at home. I can’t bear it. She has been part of so many events in my life. I could recount many tales about her! Some unbelievable suffice to say that our lives were more Marley and me than Lassie. She got under my skin though and the more episodes we had the more we stuck together. Sometimes I think it was she that was training me. When the chips were down however she witnessed my private grief when I was diagnosed for a second time. She stayed nearby when I was feeling ill and was a watchful sentinel anytime we sat outside that Summer. I feel like I am betraying her by getting her put down. It’s just the way I feel, I know it is the humane thing to do but my heart says otherwise. It is unbearable.
Grief (December 2015)
It is just over three weeks since Millie, our beloved retriever dog died. She was my first ever dog and the grief I felt was overwhelming. We all suffered from her passing in our own way as she was such a gentle soul. I have written previously about how her escapades were more Marley and me rather than Lassie. In her heyday she could create havoc if we ignored her or left some objects out in the garden. On our return there was a time we would dread to see what she had done! Over the years she settled a bit but even up to a few weeks before she died she would take the outlet pipe from the sink outdoors when she felt she was been ignored!
I’m not going to write too much about the day she died because it is still painful to recollect except that she died peacefully. It was a very difficult decision to make to euthanise her but it was the right decision. I hated going back home from the vet’s clinic. The house felt so quiet and empty without her in it. As the days passed it felt easier to be away from the house as she was so much part of our household. Slowly I am getting used to life without her but at times I still miss her terribly.
This was my children’s first encounter with death and dying. I tried to prepare them as much as possible but they were still naturally upset. I tried to follow their lead with them alternating between grieving and playing. My hub misses her most at night as he used prepare her for bed and in the latter months it was becoming more and more difficult for her to move.
We decided to create a special area in the garden as a memorial to her. Its aspect is part sun, part shade which is just what she used to love pending on the weather. I still haven’t put away her bed or bowls yet. One of the kid’s said it to me this morning , all I replied was that I’m not ready yet.
Watching my family grieve over our beloved pet has made me more determined to stay well. I will do whatever is necessary to be allowed rear my family. Death is so final. I would desperately miss not being there for them and participating in all the mundane activities that encompass family life.
Letting go is something that we all need to do sometimes. The afternoon sun slanted through the trees and gently warmed my back as I methodically pulled weeds and tidied around the flower bed. The birds sang joyfully all around me and the sounds of my child playing outside made me realise in that moment I was so grateful to be able to potter around the garden and just be. We had picked the perfect spot for Millie.