I remember joining Rainbow Bridge in early February 2014 after my beautiful Hannah died. Emotionally speaking, I was hanging by a thread over the abyss. I thought I was about to go off the deep end. I wanted to die, and I'm not trying to be melodramatic. I was in so much pain, and my grief was so deep that I was physically sick, clinically depressed...you name it.
But my friends at Rainbow Bridge...Sonya, Vicki, Karen, Jayme, Susan, Suzanne, Shadow's mom...the list goes on and on... helped me to gradually recover. I think the legacy of my friendships here at Rainbow Bridge was encapsulated by my most recent post to Vicki:
For me, I can't allow myself to think of Hannah's end-of-life struggles any more...I end up crying and getting a bit depressed.
So my coping mechanism has become more of a positive. I have come to think of Mack as Hannah's legacy. I think that she would have wanted me to rescue Mack and give Mack a rich life that he deserves. So all of my focus is on Mack, and, through Mack, I can focus on Hannah's good times and overall good life. Yesterday, for example, Mack and I played a little ball in the back yard, and it conjured up fun images of Hannah playing.
What I'm trying to say is that I honor Hannah's life by giving my love to Mack and thinking about Hannah's good times through him.
To do otherwise would be to focus on Hannah's suffering and death. I have come to believe that wallowing in her tragic and sick times is a dishonor to her life, which was one of noble and happy times despite her disabilities. I guess what I'm saying is that I now believe that I've reached the point where grieving over Hannah detracts from her good life.
Rather, I choose to rejoice in her life through Mack. It might sound like a huge rationalization, but I don't think so. Life goes on, and my love for Mack continues to grow, which serves as a building tribute to my beautiful Hannah and the noble and overall happy life she lived.
I'm not suggesting that my philosophy is for everyone. All I can say is that this is the happiest I've been since December, 2013, when Hannah first started getting sick. You see...just writing about December 2013 hurts. I just don't need to go there any more. My great love for Hannah is now wrapped up in Mack...it might sound like I'm forgetting about Hannah, but, to the contrary, I think about her more in good times through precious Mack.
Mack rescued me in many ways.
I'm not sure this will help you. Maybe it will help others. I don't know and I don't presume to know all the answers. Far from it. All I know is that it's working for me. And the key, in my humble opinion, was rescuing Mack rather than going to a breeder for a dachshund puppy.
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's dad)
I genuinely believe that the deep love I had for Hannah also got me to this point. Coincidentally, a friend sent me this in the mail today, and I thought I would share it with all my friends at Rainbow Bridge:
HANNAH'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Before humans die, they write their last will & testament and give their house and all their worldly possessions to those they leave behind. If, with my disabled paws, I could write down my last will and testament, this is what I would say:
To a poor and lonely stray I'd give:
My happy home.
My bowl, cozy bed, soft pillows, and all my toys.
The lap that I loved so very much.
The hand that stroked my fur and the sweet voice that spoke my name.
I also leave to the sad and frightened shelter dog the place I occupied in my human parents' hearts, which seem to have no bounds for loving.
So when I die, please do not say, "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can bear." Instead, please open your hearts to an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and please give MY place to him.
This is the only thing that I can give....THE LOVE I LEFT BEHIND.
As you wished, we have opened our hearts to Mack, who was abandoned, left to live the desperate life of a stray. He eventually contracted Lyme disease. Mack was found again and sold on Craig's List as unwanted property, abandoned again, caged in a Beagle Rescue, and then housed at PAWS before we adopted him as his forever parents.
Hannah, our deep love for you is now wrapped up in our growing love for Mack. We rejoice in your life just as we rejoice in Mack's new, joyous life.
I promise that I will only think of you in good times as Mack flourishes and thrives in his new, forever home.
Dearest Hannah...we have done as you wished. Thank you for teaching us how to love so deeply. Your life was truly our greatest blessing.
I will always love you.
Your dad (and Mack's new dad),
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."