Iwalt22

I encourage everyone here to Google "Death and Stoicism" Read some of the top articles that pop up.

I lost my sweet Apollo 3 weeks ago. It was very sudden and I was not prepared for how he died. But I was prepared for him to die eventually. I spent many nights on the floor with him, stroking his fur, knowing he would not be with me forever. I thought I would be with him for at least another 3 or 4 years. But fate had another plan for him.

Stoic philosophy stems from ancient Roman philosophers. It is an objective way of looking at life and understanding what is and is not in our control. It is fascinating to me that even thousands of years ago our ancestors experienced the same hardships we do today. Stoics write much on death.


Stoicism teaches that nothing is ours, it is only lent to us by the universe, and the universe may ask that it be returned at any time. I did not lose my Apollo, he just returned to the universe.

It also teaches that while grief may last for a time, it is a thing to be conquered, lest it consume us. One of the most comforting things I have read is paraphrased here.

From Senaca:

"If fate can be changed by tears then let us bring tears to bear upon it, but, if no matter how deep your grief, it will not cause death to let loose what it has already taken then let us put our grief to rest."

I know that is a difficult thing to ask, to simply put our grief to rest. But to look at my situation objectively, Apollo feels no pain, I feel no physical pain, only the pain that comes from grief that I have a measure of control over. The Stoic would say we have complete control over it.

I choose to remember the good times, not to judge my time with Apollo his painful end, but by the many happy memories. His funny bark, his right ear that always stood up, his gentle eyes, how he never figured out which part of the yard didn't have stickers, how he loved his carrots, how he would only let me rub his belly in the morning when he wanted breakfast, the funny hat he wore for Christmas... So many happy memories.

I see many post of people regretting the treatments and actions they took when their friend was sick. Once something is outside of our control, we should no longer let it concern us. We made the best decisions we knew to make in the moment. But now whatever is beyond remedy is beyond regret.

For a time it was in my control to take Apollo to a closer vet, maybe that would have saved him, but that is no longer in my control and it does not profit me or Apollo to beat myself up over that.

Stoicism does not acknowledge an afterlife. I do choose to believe that Apollo waits for me at the Bridge. For the first time in my life I find death to be not so scary, but rather something to look forward to so that in time I may see my friend again.

I hope this can bring some comfort to those who are suffering here. What lucky creatures to have someone who loved them and how lucky we were to have them love us.

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