Diane_M

My dear Bracken, you are gone six days now, and it hurts so much. You were Mommy’s boy, and the best dog I ever knew. The vet sent a sympathy card and everyone you knew at the animal hospital signed it. They said, “Bracken was one in a million, and we all loved him and will miss him.” It’s true, Bracken, you were so very special.

Now, without you, I’m hiding. Can’t bear to go outside in this neighborhood I walked with you for nearly 14 years. Can’t bear to see neighbors walking by your house with their dogs. It doesn’t seem right that you are no longer here and they are.

“Stop all the clocks . . . He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song . . . “

Bracken, Mommy and Daddy miss you immensely, and so does Flynnbean. It doesn’t seem fair that the world is still here without you in it.

We love you
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Buddy_Mama
Diane, I’m so sorry for the loss of your Bracken. I understand how you feel. I hope it will help to read a couple of older posts here, that discussed how to help go on in a way that honors our babies by taking care of ourselves (because they didn’t like seeing us upset). I’ll find the links to those posts and add them here shortly. Sending you hugs...
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Buddy_Mama
Here is one of those posts:  https://forums.rainbowsbridge.com/post/dear-grieving-pet-parents-a-thought-that-might-help-10455410
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Buddy_Mama
And here is the other post. This one especially helped me at one of my worst moments. I encourage you, and anyone else reading this post, to read this one. ❤️
https://forums.rainbowsbridge.com/post/coping-with-grief-10108748
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Diane_M
Dear Cindy (Buddy's mama,)

Thank you very much for responding so kindly to my message about Bracken. Today is especially hard and your words meant a lot to me, as does your thoughtfulness for sending me the two links to help me cope. I will read them now.

I am grateful to you, Cindy (Buddy's mama.)

Diane
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Buddy_Mama
You’re very welcome. I know how much the kind words of others here have helped me, especially when I was so devastated and in such shock in the first few weeks after losing my boy. It helps me heal to be able to return that kindness, whether by responding directly to those people if I can, or by paying it forward to those whose loss is newer than mine. ❤️
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Diane_M
Cindy,

I just read the links you sent. Wow. There is much in your writing of Buddy, and in MiasMomma's post that hits home with me.
You are so right, just like your Buddy, my Bracken wouldn't want me sad. And I also know you are right about taking care of myself during this time. It is good to be reminded of these things when so heavily weighed down with grief.

MiasMomma writes of grief as a "dark hole" and that image is very real. As she did, I too have moments where I think "I killed" Bracken, or "I didn't do enough," or I did too much, or I missed something, or I should have spent more time with him . . . and on and on. She is insightful when pointing out how we forgive our pets everything, but are so hard on ourselves, blaming ourselves for everything having to do with the death, including things that are only perceptions created by our grief, but are not real. As if losing a beloved friend isn't devastating enough, it's compounded by self-recrimination. I know I do that.

It's only been six days since losing Bracken and I still think I hear him in the house, and I keep looking towards the places he used to sleep, and every day there is something else that reminds me of him . . . things I start to do for him then remember he's not here. I have a long way to go before I climb out of that "dark hole" but  what you have written to me will help me on that climb. Now, when I'm only looking on the dark side I will try to remind myself what a great Mom I was to my Bracken, and what a wonderful life he had here with us . . . because of those two things I have no doubts. And I hope that someday, when the worst part of this terrible grief is behind me, I can be as generous as you and "pay it forward" to others who are hurting from the loss of a beloved pet.

Thank you, Cindy,
Diane, Bracken's Mom



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Buddy_Mama
You are so very welcome, Diane. I’m really glad that reading those posts helped. When I finished reading your reply, I looked over at the box holding my Buddy’s ashes and said to him, “We helped, baby.” (And cried.)

It seems like just yesterday I was drowning in raw, bottomless grief within those first days after losing my boy... and at the same time, it feels like an eternity since he was at my side. I’ve lost two other cats before Buddy (each of my 3 was an “only child”), and I lost my dad a year and a half ago, so I’ve had to go through grief several times. But this time was different, because Buddy was relatively young (2 months away from his 10th birthday) and his passing was so sudden and unexpected. Life has changed forever, and I definitely still have bad moments, but the days have slowly, slowly become easier to bear.

Take it one day, even one hour, at a time. That’s what I had to tell myself over and over. And like those posts say, the very best thing we can do for our babies now is to take care of ourselves. ❤️
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Diane_M
Cindy,

I'm sorry about your dad, Cindy. I also lost my parents recently, Mom 3 years ago and Dad not quite a year and a half ago, and Bracken's death feels very similar. But it is different, too. He was here for me when my parents died, and now he's not. And he was such a huge part of my daily life all these years in a very tangible way-I'm sure you know what I mean when you think of how Buddy was always near you. A real physical bond. Is the black cat in the picture your Buddy? He's very handsome.

I just took a short walk for the first time since Bracken died. It was hard to do . . . passing people and their dogs that I used to see while walking Bracken. I waited until dark, hoping no one would see me and ask where Bracken is.

Thank you for your sharing your experience with me, and for your support, and for acknowledging my grief and letting me know it's okay to get through it "one hour at a time," if that's how I need to. I know the loss of your Buddy will always be there, but I am glad for you that it's become a bit easier to bear and that you have such good strength to get through the "bad moments."

It is so good to talk with you and I appreciate all your help,
Diane, Bracken's Mom
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Buddy_Mama
I know exactly what you mean about the emotional support our babies gave us when we faced the grief of a parent’s death - and how profound the loss of our babies’ tangible, physical presence is. I recently bought the book “When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing” by Alan Wolfelt, PhD, and he speaks about this... and many other aspects of this journey we’re on that others don’t necessarily understand.

Yes, that handsome boy in the photo is my Buddy. He was almost unbelievably photogenic. 😻 I’d love to see your Bracken, if you have a digital photo that you’d be willing to share.

It’s funny how my mind can understand the phases of grief, but my heart and my daily actions have struggled to keep up (and sometimes I just resort to curling up in a ball, ranting and ugly-crying). One of my biggest comforts has been the understanding and support of people who are going through the same experience, and feeling the same things... especially when some family & friends (trying to mean well) have hinted, or said directly, that it's “time to move on.” Which is NOT helpful or supportive to someone who is grieving.

Luckily, we are hard-wired to cope over time when terrible things happen. I’m at 11 weeks since losing my Buddy, and I can promise that it does get better, bit by bit.
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Diane_M
Hello Cindy,

It was so good to come to this page and see a message from you.
I am going to get that book you mention, "When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing." I bought several books to read but I do not have that one.

I know what you mean about the mind understanding grief but the heart not cooperating. My mind and heart having been working against one another right along, beginning with trying to make the decision to euthanize Bracken. I know from everything I've read and experienced and seen others go through that it's true that the journey of grief is different for all. It's stymied when people tell us it's time to move on, and such.
But I know from my own life, especially now, grief is a long season.

I'm not sure how to put a picture into one of these messages, but I did put one on the Monday Night Candle page. I just did that this evening and now there is a very beautiful picture of my Bracken there. It was taken in Quogue, New York, when he was less than a year old. Being on that beach with Bracken is one of my fondest memories, and I know he was so happy there.

If this is one of the nights you are "curling up in a ball" crying, my heart is with you.

Diane, Bracken's Mom
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