Dear Living with Tragedy,
As with most of my posts, it is LONG. But I hope you can get through it and I hope it brings you some peace.
Thank you for reading my original post. Considering it has been over 2 years since Thai passed and the last update, I’m surprised it caught your eye. I thought it best to reply on your own post as it is the least I can do for another parent who has lost their furbaby.
You asked about my story with Thai and I can get to that, but it really does seem like guilt is taking a toll on you so I’ll go over my own guilt with you here.
About a year before Thai passed, he had his ACL injury and the doctors weren't too concerned about repairing his knee, it was a cough they were more worried about. After a more tests, EKG, and a cardiologist, they found that Thai’s heart was enlarged and it was pushing against his chest. In addition, they saw a murmur and the beginnings of a bad valve.
I started him on heart meds, took his resting heart rate and recorded it every day, did basically everything the doctors told me to do.
Now let me fast forward to the day he passed. I’ve talked about this day with plenty of people, but I’ll share here with you the one part I leave out.
Thai had a seizure around 3AM. He stood up, collapsed, and I thought he had died right there on my bed. He came around but would just stand there frozen, not moving, not sitting, not lying down, just not anything. It was as if he was locked in place.
What did I do …. I did nothing. Yup. Like an abusive, evil, disgusting, horrible, terrible, uncaring, useless piece of garbage of an owner, I did nothing. He seemed to respond a bit and I went back to bed with him near my side. For three hours I slept, leaving my boy to suffer.
6AM rolled around and Thai did not respond to me as he usually did. I felt his heart and it was racing so that is when I went to the emergency care and I handed him over to the nurse. That was the last time I saw my Thai well.
They put him in the oxygen tent and they thought he would respond to it. He fought for 10 more hours before I got a call at 4PM. They said he’d had a heart attack and wanted to know if I wanted them to resuscitate him. I screamed yes, got in the car, but also had to call the other people that loved him, as I knew this was it. I picked up 2 people on the way to the hospital and when we got there, they had gotten a heartbeat back, but what was there wasn’t my Thai.
There was a tube in his mouth with splatters of blood, and when I saw him there was no reaction at all. This wasn’t my boy and I knew he was gone. They asked me what I wanted to do and looking at him I said I couldn’t leave him like this and that was when I made the decision to let him go. I crouched down and told him that he had fought long enough and that it was time to rest and felt his last heartbeat as they euthanized him.
Whew … so guilt. It has taken me a long time to come to terms of not doing anything that morning. Had he has seizures before? One or two and he came back from those fine. Did I intentionally try to kill him that morning? Definitely not.
Here is the hard part. We know their lives didn’t consist of that last day, week, or month. Maybe not now, but hopefully at some point, you’ll recognize that the relationship started a long time ago. For me 7 years, others 12 years, 16 years, etc. That’s what I hope we can all do with time. Remember the entire relationship, not just the last chapter.
And when we do, I know guilt will try to crawl back in. Yeah we were too busy to play with them or kicked them out of the bed that one night. Sure we weren’t the perfect owners 100% of the time, but I KNOW we weren’t the worst owners 100% of the time either!
We loved them with every fiber of our being and we took such good care of them. We should let those thoughts shine brightly in our minds, not just the guilty ones. How did we spoil them? How many toys did we get? How many trips did we take them on? How many decisions revolved around their lives? We were all good moms and dads.
But the GUILT. Eventually you’ll let it go because it already happened. We can’t change it anymore. We can’t make a different choice.
Maybe we can learn from what we did. If your fur baby has a brother or sister, alright then, this time WE WILL be more up front with more tests. WE WILL demand medication for that cough. WE WILL go to the vet more. WE WILL get those vaccinations. We will because we can decide to do things differently … in the future.
But for our babies that have gone to the rainbow bridge. That’s the past. We can’t change that. We want to. I want to. I know all of us here would do it in a split second. But we can’t. Those choices, decisions, outcomes, those are all set in stone and time moves on. Beating up ourselves for it won’t change anything.
Now you are on DAY 4, so honestly, none of what I just wrote will make any difference on how you’re feeling. Just know that EVERYONE here has and is going through what you are going through. We understand that this wasn’t just some pet. This was someone that gave us 100% unconditional love and forgiveness. You did your best and just like every other time, they forgive you.
Please stay on this forum and share as much as you feel comfortable with.
I’m on day 809. I still have bad days, but now there are more good than bad.