Friday, August 5, 2016

Grief

Some people are built for grief. Others are not. Some people, in some way, suck it up and go on despite the pain. Others are so devastated over the loss of a loved one that they are unable to move forward.

I always put myself decidedly in the former camp. I've lost friends, fellow Marines, parents and other relatives, and four fellow cops - two by murder on duty, two by suicide. Certainly, these made me sad. Sometimes extremely sad. But there was always the sense that there was light at the end of the tunnel, although sometimes the tunnel seemed very long.

And then I lost Zeke. It's a loss so profound that I don't know how to describe it.

Zeke and I were one. He would often just watch me from across the room, and I him. There was comfort and peace in having him there. I've read that, when a dog looks at his owner, both the dog and the owner experience the release of oxytocin - the so-called "love hormone". I believe it. But more than that, I believe we each knew what the other was thinking. I could get Zeke to come to me, or go to the door to go outside, or go to the kitchen for food, just by the way I motioned with my head. And I knew what he wanted from me just by the way he stood and looked. When we went on our regular long walks in the park or in the woods or by the river, I talked to him like he was a toddler about where we were going, what we were doing,  and what we were seeing and hearing. I knew he understood. I never imagined a day when he would be gone.

Now, that day has come. I think of him every minute of every day. I've cried myself hoarse. I remember places we went and things we did so vividly sometimes, it's almost like reliving them. I see him running and playing when I drive by the places we used to go together. His spirit seems to dwell there. I occasionally catch sight of one of our other dogs out of the corner of my eye, and for a moment I think it's him. It's not. I dream about him.

I've learned that one life can make a person, and its loss can break him. I am forever changed. The world is a different place without Zeke. There are places to go and people to see and things to do, but I don't really care. Real happiness and fun are a memory. There are just days ahead.

I learned I am not built for grief.

I love you, buddy!


25 comments:

Jive Talkin Tool said...

I am glad to see you posting again.
I am sad to see you still hurting.

Bob Culp said...

You'll never "get over" Zeke. There may come a day--and for your sake I hope it's sooner rather than later--when you'll smile at the memories.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, OC.

Old FoolRN said...

It is so nice to hear from you again. Very sorry about Zeke. The first person I hope to see in heaven is my best canine friend "Rusty." Maybe he and Zeke are playing together right now. Rusty got along so well with other dog friends he would share his prized bones with them.

Migraineur said...

I Remember

I stood by your bed last night. I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying. You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast. I watched you pour the tea.
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels ~ I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today. You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you. I smiled and said "It's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled. I think you knew ~
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over ~ I smile and watch you yawning,
and say "Good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out ~ then come home to be with me.

-- Author unknown

Taken from http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm

Jono said...

It is a high price we pay for their love.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back, so sorry for the loss of your beloved Zeke

Randy H said...

I know the pain you feel. Had the same with one of my pups. It's been 10 years, I still miss her. The pain isn't as sharp now, but if I sit and dwell on her, it can come roaring back, but not as strong as before. Have never cried as hard for a person except for one. It will get better, it takes much time. More for others. But the memory stays forever apparently.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for the loss of your "special one". For me it was a horse that we had to put down 11 years ago. I still miss him and random reminders still make me cry, but it is easier to remember the joy we had. I don't think we ever "get over it", but the pain does subside and get duller. Take all the time you need and be kind to yourself.
Frogdoc

shrillr said...

You lost a soul mate, that pain runs deep and lasts long. Zeke was a beautiful boy, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Mad Jack said...

I still miss my little dog. I'm very sorry for your loss.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Hang in there, it's never easy.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Officer! I missed reading your views from the squad car. I'm sorry for your loss and pray that time will take away some of the sting. Lots of your loyal readers have been in your shoes and can empathize with your grief.

Jess said...

The bond humans make with dogs is amazing. I'm sorry about your Zeke. My dog is getting older, and I tear up at the thought that I may only have a few more years with her. I can only imagine such a loss. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

(((hug)))

Mary Kilroy said...

No worse pain in the world...I'm so sorry for your loss.

awesomesauciness said...

In 2001 we lost the last of the pair of sweet souls that had lived with us for nearly 18 years. We were more heartbroken by those losses than in all the people we've lost since. It's sad, but true. Our dogs were the loves of our life.

It took 12 years to overcome that grief enough to let another dog into our life. A terrified, feral, GSD. She is white, magnificent, powerful, and the most loving creature I've ever met. She's also extremely gentle and intelligent.

I know letting her into my heart is risky, a gamble, and will end badly because it will end. What I also know is that I am now enjoying the moments we spend together, playing, running, or just being. My heart is full and the love I have for her is returned tenfold.

For those moments I choose to steel myself against the inevitable, and know that right now this sweet soul is protected and loved, and her life matters.

I don't know what we did to deserve dogs, but I pray we never lose the privilege of having them.

It will get easier in time, my friend, it really will. But no one can know the day or hour. Until then, God Bless.

bobbie said...

My heart and thoughts are with you still ~

I offer hugs, if I may ~

animal lover said...

Nice to see you post again. Miss your stories. Really sad to read of the loss of your beloved Zeke.I really do know how you feel. Hope your back is getting better.

Imamontanalady said...

Sending you hugs and prayers for comfort. I am so sorry for your loss.

Stacey Gordon said...

So sorry for your loss of Zeke. They say that a great dog comes along once in a lifetime. I lost my Once in a lifetime dog a couple years ago so if it helps, I know how much it hurts.I didn't really have to train her, she just knew what I wanted her to do and she was eager to make me happy. Everyone thought I was a great dog trainer, but I just had a great dog. She read my mind. She would look at me from across the room and I knew what she was thinking. She was my conscience, she'd tilt her head at me and I knew, that she knew what was going on. IF I was upset, if the tone of my voice changed, she would get up from across the room and get closer, without me asking her. that sort of thing.

Some dogs look at you, others look through you. She was that dog. I still miss her.

Anonymous said...

Dear Officer,
I lost my beloved Mastiff three years ago. I literally walked around my house every day for two weeks crying. I felt like I was drowning, but there was no water. He was the love of my life, my everything, and as I sit here, I'm tearing up. I believe God gives us that once in a lifetime dog, and mine was my Toby. The hurt for me is so deep, I'll probably never own another Mastiff. I currently own two Great Danes. It does take time, but it does get easier.
I'm so sorry for your loss

Anonymous said...

Come back and let us know how you are doing, please. You are missed too.

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry for our loss, and for the pain you're going through. I lost my best friend thirteen years ago, and I've been changed since. I cried for months. Happiness slowly came back, but the degree to which I feel it's intensity changed. Some loved ones you can't really grieve without losing your heart. It will get better, but it won't be the same. As long as you accept that, it will get better. I'm sure Zeke wouldn't want to see you so sad. Virtual hugs from the other end of the world to you. Arzt4Empfaenger

Imamontanalady said...

Just checking in on you.........how are you holding up?