Grief and Being Easy on Ourselves

Posted October 21, 2016 in grief, loss, self-care, healthy living, dog owner, grieving


I've been slow to share this news because it's been too difficult to write about. My throat is tight and the tears are welling up as I write this. The BF and I had to say goodbye to our dog, Coda, last week.

Saying goodbye has been harder than I could have imagined. The BF and I quickly realized how intertwined Coda was to every part of our daily routine and how much joy he brought to our lives. 

He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few months ago. He began taking medications, which seemed to be managing his pain, reducing the fluid in his lungs and helping his heart. 

But after a couple of weeks, he started fainting when we were out for our evening walks. It started happening more and more frequently, even when we just let him out in the yard. The vet said his heart rate was getting too high, possibly skipping a few beats, causing him to pass out. It was incredibly scary every time it happened. 

We stopped taking him for walks, and we began carrying him outside and back inside. His quality of life changed dramatically very quickly. He would faint almost every time we took him outside, he spent all day laying in one place barely walking around the house, he began having trouble breathing and he just seemed uncomfortable. 

Deciding that it was time to let Coda go was so hard for the BF and I. We cried every day last week. Our house seems to empty and overwhelmingly quiet. I still get emotional when I come home from work and he's not there. 

Coda was about 14 years old, but still looked like a puppy. He loved playing catch with his froggy (his "guy"), going on walks, getting little bites of people food from the BF, staying the night at grandma and grandpa's house, sitting on the BF's lap during car rides to get ice cream, licking my face while I did yoga, licking people's toes and taking naps. He sometimes barked at big dogs like he was just as big as them. He was a free spirit and preferred to explore the outside without a leash. He wasn't a huge fan of children, being cuddled or held, rain, snow or baths. 

The BF had Coda since he was a puppy. After the BF and I moved in together two years ago (we've been together for six years), it really felt like the three of us were a little family. 

This whole experience has made me realize that I need to allow myself time to sit with my feelings more often. I know I've mentioned this before, but I tend to go go go. I keep my days full, say yes to lots of opportunities and put a lot of pressure on myself to be productive, accomplish a lot and create my own success. 

But over the last week, I've just let myself be. I haven't been working as much, I've kept my evenings more open and I've allowed myself to take the time to be sad. It may sound crazy, but that's not something I've ever done before. 

It's taken me so long to heal from past pain, failures and heartbreak because I never took the time to grieve, be sad and just sit with those feelings. 

It's taking time and practice, but I'm slowly getting better at being easier on myself. 

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