This is the story of my personal journey through Depression and Anxiety. I’m writing for my own therapy as well as to maybe help others who have had or are experiencing similar issues. To those of you who have sent positive thoughts, I can’t thank you enough. To read more, here are Part 1 and Part 2.
Yes, I’ve been MIA for a while. If you have depression/anxiety, you know how it is. I’m happy to say I’m a lot better than I was six months ago and I hope to post regularly now, including more on Depression & Anxiety. I can’t promise anything but I do feel good. I did have one major bump in the road to recovery – losing my dog.
It’s a profound loss, losing a pet. Sadie went through everything with me over the past few years. When I lost my mother, she lost hers too. Then we moved from a huge home on 5 secluded acres to a small duplex with Grandson and his two little sisters that had never been around animals. After 4 months we moved to Penny’s and her beautiful, albeit slippery wood floors.
That’s a lot of change. And a lot of stress.
For both of us.
My mother got Sadie when she was itty bitty. She was, as they say, the ‘runt’ of the litter. I distinctly remember Mom saying, “Isn’t she so cute?” All I saw were bug eyes and a huge tummy and, no, I didn’t think she was cute. At all. But she was Mom’s baby and, as such, she was pampered (spoiled). A special car seat, special food, special food dishes. Oh, and beds. Lots of beds, like, one in every room.
Sadie was Mom’s world.
Well, except for me.
When Mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, I started spending a lot more time with them. But it wasn’t until our move in 2013 that Sadie really became attached to me. Almost as if she knew Mom wouldn’t be around much longer. But that never entered my mind.
When Mom came home for hospice care in the fall of 2014, Sadie was always with me. Except for one day. I put her next to Mom in the hospital bed and Sadie stayed there all day – 18 hours – without so much as a peep. After that, she was my constant companion.
Mom had her for 12 years. I had her for 3 but in those three years we went through so much together.
Towards the end, it was like she was in hospice care. And, yes, I was a caregiver once again. She was blind, deaf, and could barely stand on her own. When she did, she’d pace in circles, letting out a meager chirp/bark once in a while. I’d try to hold and comfort her but she’d fight to be let down. So I let her pace. Until one day when I saw tiny blood markings all over the floor. Poor thing, she’d paced until her paws were bloody.
I was ready to put her down then but it was the weekend.
Wouldn’t you know she ‘rallied’ on Monday.
If you’re unfamiliar with ‘rallying’, it’s when someone who’s dying snaps out of it and is ‘normal’ again. When Mom rallied, I thought she was going to get better until the hospice nurse explained what was happening. Apparently dogs do the same thing. At any rate, I couldn’t put her down when she was ‘normal’.
Her ‘rally’ was short-lived. For the next week, Sadie became my world. I carried her everywhere to avoid her trying to stand up on her feeble legs. We were up at all hours through the night.
Why didn’t I have her put to sleep, you ask? Simple. Money. I was expecting a payment that was late. But it didn’t come in time. Penny loaned me the money and was with me as I said my final good-byes. She was in my arms, peaceful and pain-free.
Penny had also asked her friend if he’d bury Sadie in his yard that was dug up, ready to be planted. (Although I doubt he was thinking of planting a boston terrier!) He generously said ‘yes’.
Poor dear was crying the entire time. I felt so bad. He’s just an animal lover like I am. And how he made the cross and placed the flamingo? So, so caring and sweet.
That day Penny asked if I was going to slip back into a depression and I told her, “no!” I would dance or walk or anything to avoid it, I was sure. But the emptiness was so great, I missed her so much, I did fall back into the black hole. Although I managed to get out of it in 7 days. Pretty good, all things considered.
I still miss her, of course. I worry about being gone from the house too long. Or I expect her welcome when I come home. I still think I need to take her out first thing in the morning.
Sadie played such an important role in my life the past 5 years. When I lost the 3 people that I loved the most she was there. I missed Marlon’s big bear hugs, Mom’s unconditional companionship and great conversations with my brother, John. Sadie couldn’t hug me but I could hug her. Sadie’s companionship was infallible and I talked to her incessantly . . . and she never complained. Sadie filled all of these losses in her own way.
Phew. Writing this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The main thing is, I made it through another loss – and writing about it! – without losing myself. For me, that’s progress.
How have you dealt with the loss of a pet? Did you get depressed?