Lapavoni
More than a year ago, we lost our beloved Harley, a 15 1/2 year old lab mix. We had two dogs at the time, Harley and Hershey. Hershey was 13 and a Chessie mix. Harley had a tumor in his throat so we made him as comfortable as possible until the end of his life. We arranged for an in-home vet to euthanize him. It was a very sad, but beautiful ending to his life.

We called Harley "her dog" as he bonded with my wife and we called Hershey "his dog" as he bonded with me.

Hershey had cognitive issues (he was on meds) and he had some pretty bad arthritis. 5 months later, we were on vacation in Berlin (almost 6,000 miles away) when we got a call from his caregiver that he injured his back and couldn't walk. We did not panic, as we thought it was just a muscle issue or his arthritis. She brought him to our vet where we were informed that he was immobile and in a great deal of pain. We made the unbelievably painful decision to have him euthanized at that point. Our caregiver was with him.

But .... I could not be there for him :-(  When I was younger, we had a dog (Velvet) for 16 years. My parents decided that her quality of life was not good any more and we brought her to a shelter to be euthanized. I wanted to stay with her, but my parents just walked away and I followed them. She died alone in the company of strangers. For many years after that, I couldn't have another dog, because I felt so guilty about not being with my childhood dog at the end.

I swore that I would NEVER let a dog leave this earth without me by his/her side.

I failed myself and I failed Hershey :-(  This was a little over a year ago. My wife and I don't have children. Our dogs were our children.  We've had a tough time without the dogs being a strong part of our bond as a "family."  I also think about Hershey a lot and that's the one emotional area of my life I can't control. I still cry frequently when I think about him. I love my wife dearly and can't possibly "blame" her for anything, but "her" dog left this earth surrounded by love (including his "brother"), while "my" dog died on a cold vet's office floor. I also feel guilty about being consumed with tech work (50-60 hours a week or more) instead of spending more time with our dogs.

Will the guilt and grief subside ? When ? How can I get past this ?
Thanks. Harley-Left.jpg  Hersh-Right.jpg
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Ginger4256
Lapavoni
I'm sorry for your pain. I lost my Boo 5 weeks ago and still cry for him. Boo was also on medication for his fistula problems and ended up with CHF.
Guilt is the first thing we feel and the hardest thing to get through..
Your boy knows you loved him. Try to take comfort in your love for each other
I wish you peace
Boo' s mommy
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Lapavoni
Thank you for your kind words, Ginger.

And I am so sorry for your loss, Echo :-(
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Tankie12
If their had been a way you would have been there, I have no doubt. Now childhood grief is carried over to this latest heartbreak. You my friend are really hurting I can hear it. ‘Her dog’ ‘His dog’ same here. Mine just died😔 it’s been said by many here that grief doesn’t end, we just learn somehow to live with it. Guilt just seems to follow, we think about all the things we wish we could change, I wish I’d had loved on my girl, Tankie, even more, I wish I knew “that day” was her last. I’d have spent ever second with her.
How horrible to be so far away and faced with giving her relief, peace by letting her go, I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine the strength it took for you to realize it was time but you weren’t there, I know you are suffering, desperately. When your home, it’s existence, it’s essence IS your babies it becomes empty, dark. The loss of a human child can sometimes end the relationship between the adults remaining because that relationship revolved around so much more than them. I’ve seen it do both. Sometimes the grief becomes more than words can express and communication ends. This is such a gut wrenching painful path and hopefully you have each other to lean on. Whenever you feel the need people here understand. Take care of you
Lynn, Tankie’s mom, forever
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Sil
Lapavoni, sorry, for your loss....I am "reading" your pain.  Next month will be a year that I lost my fur baby and I needed to seek comfort from people that have lost a pet.  As a pet owner, you can only tell about your painful loss to another pet owner - the pain is overwhelming at times, but with time it becomes less sharp.  I still feel guilty and go over and over, perhaps, I could have done more, maybe this maybe that?  

Again, I am sorry for your loss, for everyone's loss, for my loss.
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catiebee
What beautiful dogs! I'm so sorry for losses. and especially everything that occurred with Hershey. And for your relentless pain, and the sense of guilt you're suffering when you promised that such a thing as you suffered as a youngster would never happen again on your watch. But life took things out of your hands, and suddenly it was nothing you could control.

I understand that your head can assent that that is true, but your heart probably can't stop feeling responsible. This loss seems to have reenacted such a similar heartbreaking loss and guilt tied to your earlier pet's passing, that it's uncanny. I think I can imagine your extraordinary emotional suffering over this. And it sounds like many months later you have little relief. 

For sure, I wish you every comfort and much, much healing. But the thought foremost in my mind for you, is that you may need some help getting over this. Have you ever heard of "complicated grief?" Sometimes the circumstances of a loved one's passing have tendrils of deep emotions that run in several directions and can become very difficult to recover from. Some losses are literally traumatic and create greater wounds than a more typical loss.   Certain counselors/therapists specialize in helping clients process and overcome their grief. It may be well worth seeking one to help you find some relief from the burden of guilt and pain that by now has afflicted you for a long while.

I also hope that connecting here will help you feel heard and less alone.


Catie
-Missing Marissa deeply
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Lapavoni
Thank you so much, Catie.
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PipersMother
Lapavoni, my heart is broken for you.  I read your post and burst into tears imagining your pain.  I am so very sorry for your loss and for the heartache you feel from not being with your sweet fur baby at the end. I don't have many words of wisdom to share, but I feel compassion for what you are going through and I am sorry for the deep ache you feel inside. Blessings to you. 


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PipersMother
catiebee wrote:
What beautiful dogs! I'm so sorry for losses. and especially everything that occurred with Hershey. And for your relentless pain, and the sense of guilt you're suffering when you promised that such a thing as you suffered as a youngster would never happen again on your watch. But life took things out of your hands, and suddenly it was nothing you could control.

I understand that your head can assent that that is true, but your heart probably can't stop feeling responsible. This loss seems to have reenacted such a similar heartbreaking loss and guilt tied to your earlier pet's passing, that it's uncanny. I think I can imagine your extraordinary emotional suffering over this. And it sounds like many months later you have little relief. 

For sure, I wish you every comfort and much, much healing. But the thought foremost in my mind for you, is that you may need some help getting over this. Have you ever heard of "complicated grief?" Sometimes the circumstances of a loved one's passing have tendrils of deep emotions that run in several directions and can become very difficult to recover from. Some losses are literally traumatic and create greater wounds than a more typical loss.   Certain counselors/therapists specialize in helping clients process and overcome their grief. It may be well worth seeking one to help you find some relief from the burden of guilt and pain that by now has afflicted you for a long while.

I also hope that connecting here will help you feel heard and less alone.




Catibee, your words of comfort to Lapavoni have great comfort to me as well, especially what you wrote about complicated grief. My losses have been typical but I have still thought about seeking counseling.  My whole world was built around being a cat mommy to 3 cats and now, within the space of 10 months, 2 of them are gone. I switch back and forth between acceptance and gratefulness for their presence in my life to compete emptiness and a fragile sense of identity. Who am I now? I know God has a plan, and that my next phase of life is taking shape.  For now I am just taking it one minute at a time waiting for life to reveal itself.  
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PipersMother
Tankie12 wrote:
If their had been a way you would have been there, I have no doubt. Now childhood grief is carried over to this latest heartbreak. You my friend are really hurting I can hear it. ‘Her dog’ ‘His dog’ same here. Mine just died😔 it’s been said by many here that grief doesn’t end, we just learn somehow to live with it. Guilt just seems to follow, we think about all the things we wish we could change, I wish I’d had loved on my girl, Tankie, even more, I wish I knew “that day” was her last. I’d have spent ever second with her.
How horrible to be so far away and faced with giving her relief, peace by letting her go, I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine the strength it took for you to realize it was time but you weren’t there, I know you are suffering, desperately. When your home, it’s existence, it’s essence IS your babies it becomes empty, dark. The loss of a human child can sometimes end the relationship between the adults remaining because that relationship revolved around so much more than them. I’ve seen it do both. Sometimes the grief becomes more than words can express and communication ends. This is such a gut wrenching painful path and hopefully you have each other to lean on. Whenever you feel the need people here understand. Take care of you


Tankie12, your words about grief are insightful and beautiful.  They help me tremendously.  I, too, believe that grief is not something to get through and get it over with. It stays within forever, but takes different forms and different degrees of severity.  I agree also about the house becoming dark and empty.  I've lost two fur babies in 10 months and there is such an emptiness here. In some ways, I am grateful that I live alone and can grieve in my own way, without feeling like I have to cover it up to appease a spouse or human kids.  I'm grateful for being able to share with this community.  It is a lifeline. 


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bluegreen_eyes
I am sorry for your loss and you should not be guilty that he left this world.
bluegreen_eyes
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