We all have our own way of grieving. We all take the time we need, or should learn to do so. We all have different hearts, feelings, and emotions that dictate how we will handle loss. Or not handle it.
For me, I’m historically knocked to my knees, no matter how prepared I think I am. It’s not pretty or graceful, or anything anyone would stick around to see. My heart loves deeply, purely, and entirely. Loss will never be easy for me. My children and husband grieve in different ways. Their hearts feel no less pain than mine, they just handle it with more grace than me, that’s all.
My dogs grieve too. I have watched this when our bunnies died, we’ve buried fish or a loved budgie, or simply when Grandpa has to say good bye and drive home.
Story is the most solid. He understands loss, and change, and leaving. He gets mopey, even a bit melancholy, but he’s not wrecked by loss. He is truly, as I have said a katrillion times, the most balanced dog I have ever known.
Watching Ocean morn loss is heart wrenching. Every animal that has lived in our house has been overseen to some degree by Ocean. The bunnies and birds have been hers to tend since the day they arrived. When one dies she knows it before we do, and she will spin in circles, chatter, chirp, and do a guttural heart breaking cry, and then lay on their grave for days.
Then there is my dear $eeker. My Lost Boy. There is so much I don’t know about his heart. Everything is masked in his need to work, his compulsive nature. If it’s in front of him he will do it, complete it, finish it, all in the face of adversity. A truly great working dog. Maybe though, nothing is masked, maybe this is just how it is for him, but I don’t think so.
Since he was a puppy, he has been amazingly sweet and lovely with people. He is a people oriented dog. LOVES US HUMANS! But he is totally and undeniably awkward with his own species, even nasty, and mostly a jerk.
Story is $eekers best friend, he is in awe of Ocean, and Franny he respected up one side and down the other.
Franny was in fact the dog that held him in check. She didn’t ever put physical pressure on him, ever, it was simply her presences, which was huge. He never tried to push her, engage her in play, or pull stupid jerk moves. She gave him boundaries and taught him how to look at the world, and hopefully pause. She gave him a reason to hold his shit together. And with her around, he did. He would greet her each day, share meals off of the same plate, and they would sleep together sometimes.
She was his ‘gate keeper’.
Now he is lost. He is trying to figure out his way. Not having her here has left the doors open to rage in a way. This week I have watched him unravel without her presences reactive to the fence again, barking out the window, rude to our other dogs, and lost, mostly just lost.
But then he will stop. He will stop and look around. He will stop and take a deep breath. And he has a look in his eye. Lost. He depended on Franny more than I really knew, on a level I didn’t see before.
So our house is on tight management right now, work structure, play structure, and as calm as possible.
We all miss Franny more than words can say, the hole in our lives feels cavernous right now, and dark, and cold. And I will have to say an extra thank you to her in my thoughts tonight, for taking such good care of $eeker. I didn’t realize all of the ‘real’ work she was doing over the past six years with him. It had to have been some what exhausting at times 😉
So, be kind, be thoughtful, love, and think good things … our hearts all need more of this, Nancy
14 Comments Add yours
To your lost boy, be patient with him he will rise from this loss greater and stronger and all if the roots that Franny laid upon him will support him in his own journey. Unbridled and completely his own, this is just the way he should be. My tears are flowing. I wish I was close enough to hold you to have a visit and just listen to your heart break. I love you.
It is so emotional reading these stories, about these personalities. We certainly need more of this, Nancy.
Oh, Nancy. You’re so right about so many things in this post. When we lose a member of the family, it changes the balance and we get to see things that were masked before due to the family dynamic. After we lost Darby and Cooper, we realized that Chloe relied on them as her timekeeper and spokespeople. She never asked to go out – she waited for them to. She never asked for a meal, she waited for them to. When she was our sole remaining dog, we had to remind her it was time to go out, time to eat, time to play, time to be goofy. It takes a while to re-balance things.
I am sorry for your loss of Franny-she must have been and still is a beautiful spirit.
Great post sweet Nancy. Grief is a very personal thing. Love the way you shared the different personalities of your sweet dogs and how they grieve. Just like we people have different personalities so do our sweet dogs and cats. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs and nose kisses
my heart aches for you and for the dogs…..so very sorry, it is never easy no matter how many times we experience it, a soul lost is a soul lost and a piece of all of us always goes with them.
Nancy, This is so beautifully written it brings a tear to my eye. You see things that most mortals do not. I love you.
Thanks Mom, I love you too.
I am so sorry, Nancy! I truly am…Furry kids are really a huge piece of our hearts and you expressed it well.
Linda thank you,
my heart still feels so raw…
Tell Seeker to look up at the night sky.
“I think their spirit goes up there, to Sirius, the Dog Star. I can’t imagine anything else that would keep it burning so bright and constant.”
Captain Ezra Harper in, DogStar by Donald Windham
You look up there, too.
Joy, thank you… Nancy
I know how you are feeling. It’s been several years since I lost my Frannie, but sometimes it seems just like yesterday.
Thanks Darci, I know you know how it feels.