KAL313
I'd like to think I am pretty rational and tough, but after putting my 13 1/2 year old yellow lab down Thursday, I have been almost paralyzed by guilt and grief. Mostly guilt. And, for good reason. 

I spent much of the past two years waiting for this beautiful, loyal, loving FAMILY MEMBER to pass. Sometimes, wishing for it. Our lives got terribly restrictive as due to her size and mobility issues, she was pretty much confined to the house, yard, or very short walks as she was unable to even navigate a ramp. I never left the house for more than a few hours without my husband being here. We have two other young dogs that needed exercise and outings, and we regularly had to leave her to be fair to them. We often snuck out of the house while she was sleeping. 

Traveling was out of the question because she also had bowel incontinence for the past two years (2+ times a week) in spite of exhaustive hour after hour trips outside. I didn't have the heart to kennel her. And, I would never have asked someone to stay in the home knowing the messes they would be faced with. They are not pleasant with an 85 pound lab. 

I (we) got so focused on how burdensome and tiring the care had become, we lost sight of what a tremendous gift she was. I tried to spoil her and love her more in the past few months. I massaged her more, cleaned her ears which she loved, patted her head when I walked by, etc. I have laid on the floor holding her her, sobbing, apologizing, and begging her forgiveness. The day she passed I told her I loved her and kissed her so hard and so many times I thought I might never get the hair out of my lips. I chose to say goodbye here at the house with just the vet, her, and me. It is a pretty agonizing transition.

Blessings to all of you! Your shared experiences are so helpful.

Kris




KDH
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Indi_love19
Hi Kris,
I am very sorry for your loss of your sweet girl. My Indi died just a little over one week ago. She was ill too, towards the end, and I also stayed home quite a bit to take care of her. Being a caregiver of animal or person is tiring. When in the midst, I felt I was doing my best to meet her demands--and the demands of others in life I am responsible for. Yet, I also look back now with so much guilt, as do all of us here --over anything and everything. I was grieving her when she wasn't gone, spent so much time laying with her and sobbing and feeling guilty because I'd felt responsible for her failing health. Now, I feel guilty for feeling guilty during her last days instead of being calm and happy and smiling with her! I also look back and wished I wasn't consumed with care-taking an could just "be" with her.

It's ok. They know we were caring for them and that we were fueled by nothing but love. They felt that love, and that's all that matters in the end.
I am the queen of guilt, but I'm working on actively shutting it down. I do think it's normal, though. My friends and family tell me what an amazing life I provided her. I have a hard time seeing that and accepting it. Like I can't see the forest through the trees yet. Today I am going to say it outloud though: I gave Indi an amazing life and loved her with everything I had. Soon I think it will settle in and I'll believe it, distancing myself even more from the vicious dark abyss of guilt.
meghan kenney
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Dai
Hi Kris,

I am so sorry for your loss and I also feel your pain of guilt. My furry baby passed away three weeks ago and I'm still stricken with the heavy burden of grief and guilt. I also had to care for an elderly dog with many needs and felt angry many times that I had to restrict my life around her. I cry over those times I got mad at her for being old. I wish I could take all those times back. 

But it is a normal part of grieving. It's very painful when your brain only wants to dredge up the dumb crap you said and thought when they were with us.  I just want the happy memories! My husband told me yesterday to push those to the side when they come up and talk about how amazing she was. 

i wish you comfort though I know it's so hard to feel at this time.

Dai
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KAL313
Oh, I love that you declared that you gave her an amazing life. Your rawness in sharing moves me to my core.
KDH
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KAL313
Thank you so much, Dai. I couldn’t have possibly anticipated this level of emotion. I am certain as I catch my breath I will begin to get some clarity.

My husband reminded me today that although I may have thought frustrating thoughts, my dog wasn’t a mind reader; that what I did for her was far more loving. He mentioned all the home cooking I did for her weekly (I was regularly asked if the crockpot was dinner or for the dogs). I bought treats and toys home regularly from the store. She was a food enthusiast and I indulged her. I bathed her, combed her, cleaned her ears, trimmed her nails, laid rugs out to assist her with her poor mobility, daily helped her to her feet, tried to manage her pain with meds, etc.

Was I fatigued with all of it, as well as care-taking for family members hospitalizations, surgeries, and recoveries, selling a house, rehabbing a house, working, and caring for two other dogs? Yes. Did I love that dog? Emphatic yes! I guess we just have to find some way to balance the guilt and reality.

Thank you for your beautiful and healing share.

Kris
KDH
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