Grieving advice

just_imagineOctober 31, 2012

Thank you, all, for your kind words and sympathy. They have helped more than you can imagine. I apologize for not posting sooner but we've been crazy here in NE Ohio with "Sandy" blowing through knocking down hundreds of trees and causing thousands of power outages. The community center where I work has become a "welcome center" to those without power and we have been very, very busy, to say the least.

Being busy has helped, however, and given me something to focus on other than losing Max. But then, when it's time to go home....reality sets in and the grief returns with a vengeance. Right now, going home is the hardest thing to do - when the joy of your life is no longer there to greet you at the door.

cat mom: thank you for your kind words. So sorry to hear about your cat's health issue. You'll be in my thoughts.

vicki7 and jomuir: yes, you're so right - I DO wish it could have been different for Max. He was still a 'young' dog, in the prime of his life.

lily316: yes, I, too, hope someday there might be another little schnauzer in our life. We're good dog parents with a lot of love yet to give.

ninapearl: thank you so much for posting the grieving links part 1 and part 2. Have started reading the posts (can't believe how many there are!) and can relate to so much of what is being said. Have printed out pages of the posts to read when I have the chance. The OP has a wonderful way with words that is very comforting. Thanks, again, for pointing me in this direction. I'll be visiting the site often. (P.S. Love your pigs!)

petra and shellm: so sorry for your losses. Thank you for posting.

airforceguy: thank you for such comforting thoughts. I do hope, in time, another 4-legged, furry friend will join our family for his share of love and attention.

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glad you are keeping busy but i totally understand the "coming home" part. the wagging tails and lolling tongues, that is what we miss so much when our pets are gone from our lives. but, gone from our lives does not equal gone from our hearts. each day, more memories will come back to you, happy memories that one day at a time will help you plow through your grief.

when i lost the love of my life, my best friend of 12+ years, the man i had hoped to grow old with, i was told by a very wise person that you can't go around grief, you have to go through it. i used to think how nice it would be to just go to sleep and wake up in a year and it would all be past me but that isn't how it works.

although my other dogs (and my pigs! lol) bring me great comfort and i love them SO much, there will always be a big empty place in my heart for ashley. she was my first dane, my heart dog in more ways than one, and she is the dog i wrote about in the grieving forum thread.

and yes, kate has such a beautiful way with words. while she went through the awful heartache of losing homer, at the same time she gave comfort to so many people! she's a wonderful woman!!

bless you for loving max like you did. there is no doubt in my mind that some day, you will open your heart and home to another deserving pup. i am just only now beginning to think about rescuing another dane. it's been a year and 2 months now since i lost ashley. i think i am reaching that point where i will honor her memory by giving a home to another dane in need. it has been a long journey to this point for me. i am still, and always will be, sad that she had to leave me but i think i can find some joy one of these days, maybe soon. :)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 7:11PM
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I just went back and read your original post, because I haven't been on the forum much the last couple weeks. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Our family has been blessed with schnauzers and schnauzer mixes through the years, and I grieved horribly when we lost each one of them. Like Nina Pearl says, you can't skirt it, you just go through it and come out the other side. When our last one had to be put down two years ago come April, I couldn't stand the hole he left in our daily routine and it didn't take two weeks before I took in another dog from the shelter. I couldn't bear to get another schnauzer, it would have tripped too many of my triggers, and ended up with a little Italian Greyhound-Jack Russel mix. He didn't replace my precious Grizzy, because like humans, no two dogs are alike.....but the new fellow was a grateful to have our company as we were his. Just give thanks that you had those seven years and day you will remember only the best of times and your smile will come back again. But you'll always, always have Max in your heart.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:15AM
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ninapearl: I don't know your life story, just the bits and pieces I've read recently, but I do know I like you. You seem like a gentle soul with a HUGE heart! You've been through a great deal of grief yourself and you're more than familiar with the roller coaster of emotions involved with the journey. 'One day at a time' has helped me through several crisis in my life. Right now it's more like one hour at a time - one moment I think I'm coping just fine; the next the tears are streaming down my cheeks. All anyone has to do is ask me how Max is doing and the waterworks begin. I'm wishing you all the best as you begin a new chapter in your book of life that will include a new dane for you to love and cherish in Ashley's memory.

calliope: you're a fan of the adorable schnauzer! Even though I love all/most dogs, there will always be a special place in my heart for schnauzers and their sweet little faces. We've had 3 over the year and I know I'll be ready for #4 some day. So glad things worked out for you with your new rescue dog. You're so right - the hole that our pets leave in our daily routine is huge. I'm constantly tripping over it in the course of the day. Memories are everywhere - I still can't bear to put Max's beds or toys away....

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 3:25PM
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you're very sweet to say that. :) don't think you have to take it one day at a time. one minute, a few minutes at a time. heck, after gary's death, i took it one SECOND at a time for weeks. grief has no timetable and each individual grieves at their own pace. many months down the road, just when you think you have it all together, something will trigger a memory and your sadness will overwhelm you once again.

on the 30th of this month, it will be 5 years since i lost him. not one minute of any day goes by that i don't think of him. he is the last thing on my mind as i go to sleep at night and the first thing i think of when i wake. i do have 12 years of sweet memories and that is what carries me through. it will do the same for you when you think of max.

don't be in a big hurry to put his things away. i still have several items of gary's clothing that hang in "his" closet. i have his work boots on a rug just inside my kitchen door. they are happy reminders for me. i've often said if another man walked in here expecting anything, he'd know from the first moment that he wouldn't stand a chance! LOL

take your time and cry when you feel like it. if somebody looks at you like you are green cheese, just ignore them. it'll get better in time. just think, what would your life had been like had max never been in it? i know for me, i wouldn't trade a single moment of my life with gary (or ashley, or all of my other departed pets). yes, it hurts to lose them but to never have had them is unthinkable!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 9:39PM
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ninapearl, thank you, for sharing more of your wise words. You've helped me to put things in perspective.... that even though losing Max has been traumatic and hurts horribly, I need to re-focus MORE on what I have (a husband whom I love very much) and LESS on what I've lost. And to take NOTHING for granted....

As with your Gary's work boots, my husband's shoes would also be impossible to fill. Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:26PM
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you know, since you posted about losing max, i have gone over in my mind some of the things that set me off in the weeks/months after gary's death. he suffered the ravages of cancer for 21 months before God took him home. during that whole time, he practically lived on gatorade. i bought gallons of that stuff! a couple of weeks after he died, i was in walmart. i started down the drink isle and came face to face with shelf after shelf of gatorade. i burst into tears and sobbed like a baby. people were walking waaaay around me, LOL! i left a full cart right there in the isle, went out and sat in my truck to pull myself together. it was 30 minutes before i could go back in there and get the toilet paper i desperately needed! :O

fast forward a couple of months...i was in a hallmark store looking for the perfect card to send to an acquaintance who had just lost her husband. found what i was looking for and standing in the checkout line, all of a sudden the music i had paid no attention to blasted into my ear..."last dance", a song that gary used to play on the piano for me almost every day. again...tears, sobs, strange looks.

after a few more of these occurrences, it finally dawned on me that (please don't think i'm crazy!) they were signs from gary. the first couple of years or so after his death, i had many. they were pretty unmistakable. just a few weeks before he died, gary told me that after he was gone and when i saw a rainbow, it meant he was thinking about me. but, if i saw a DOUBLE rainbow, that meant that he had stopped whatever he was doing and he was thinking ONLY of me. i can't even begin to tell you how many rainbows i have seen, oftentimes they were doubles. :)

pennies from heaven, i have a little basket sitting next to ashley's urn where i have tossed countless pennies from heaven.

look for signs from max, you will surely see them. when i lost my female corgi (gary's dog, we always said, within a year of his death), the very next day i saw a rainbow. my sign that she was with him. five months later, when i lost my little male corgi, i was out walking the danes the evening after simon left me. on our way back through the fields and up to the house, i heard in the distance the UNMISTAKABLE bark that was simon. just his way of letting me know he was all better.

at first, the signs made me profoundly sad because they made me think of all that i had lost. but over time, i have come to cherish each one of them. they are few and far between now, i suppose because i don't need them as much as i did back then. max will undoubtedly let you know he is well and waiting for you. some day, no doubt in my mind, we will all be reunited. :)

well, it appears i have once again written the great american novel! LOL

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:26AM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Nina, you do, indeed, have great words of wisdom. I haven't suffered such losses as yours, but I take great comfort in your words.

Once I was trying to make a decision and looked down in the gutter of a busy street and found four pennies - one each for someone I had lost. I felt they were agreeing with the conclusion I had come to.

The signs are there. We just have to look and be open.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:00PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Nina, you do, indeed, have great words of wisdom. I haven't suffered such losses as yours, but I take great comfort in your words.

Once I was trying to make a decision and looked down in the gutter of a busy street and found four pennies - one each for someone I had lost. I felt they were agreeing with the conclusion I had come to.

The signs are there. We just have to look and be open.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Nina, again you've lifted my spirits. I'll keep my eyes and ears open for signs. That might even explain the odd occurrence I had on Facebook last night. At the top of my page - for whatever reason - was the message I had posted LAST Saturday on 10/27 to let my friends know of Max's passing. No new comments/likes had been added in recent days and there was NO reason for that message to be at the TOP of the page. It should have been listed under the past 7 days of postings. VERY strange. Perhaps it's a sign....? via iPad??

The great American novel? Nina, you should go for it! Or at the least - a fun little book about Harley, the Handsome Pig! He sure is a cutie!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:15AM
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well, hey, any sign will do even if it comes via ipad! i suspect that was max's way of letting you know he hasn't forgotten you and he certainly expects YOU to remember HIM! so i take it he was maybe a demanding little guy? ;)

harley is a joy, he is slowly getting acquainted with the other piggies but he sure doesn't let me out of his sight. if i happen to sneak around a corner of the barn to watch them, he comes scooting around looking for me, grunting his displeasure that i would DARE sneak off!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:52PM
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