Lifestyle

One Year Later… Grief

To know Tessie was to love and be loved by Tessie.

Grief…

It is a thing we all have in common, but it looks and feels different to everyone.
It comes in its own time… at its own pace…different for everyone.

It’s dealt with in different ways by everyone. Some deal with it in healthy and healing ways, while others may choose ways that are hurtful, destructive, and wounding. Some might choose to bask in it, others try to ignore it and push it away.

It isn’t just death we have to grieve, it’s loss, it’s change, it’s things not going as planned, it’s life not being what was expected.

When grief hurts so much that you can’t breathe, you may wonder if you will survive. You wonder why it has to hurt so badly. 
But… you keep breathing, keep living, keep surviving,
one breath,
one hour,
one day at a time. 
Hours turn into days, turn into weeks turn into months, you keep breathing, living, surviving, eventually thriving.

Tears may come when you least expect them. Grief might grasp ahold of you and overwhelm you out of the blue. Just when you think it’s over you might find yourself overcome once again.  You might be laughing one second and crying in wracking heaves the next. You might find yourself avoiding certain places or spaces because the memories are too overwhelming.

I have learned that when the grief comes the best thing to do is to let yourself feel it. Don’t push it down or deny yourself the grief. Respect it. Let it overcome you, wash over you. Let yourself feel it fully without being wholly consumed by it. Hold on to it as long as necessary, let it go only when you are thoroughly ready.

I miss that sweet smile.

To know Tessie was to love and be loved by Tessie. She was pure love and sweetness. She was loyal, she was kind, she was sweet, good-natured, and (mostly) patient, except that is, when she wanted someone to play ball with her. Even in her final days when she was so weak, her eyes lit up whenever she saw a tennis ball. 

This sweet little dog brought so much happiness to my life.

Tessie was such a large part of my life. My best friend, my ever-present companion, and sidekick. She listened intently to everything I had to say. She was never more than a foot away from me. Despite not being human, I loved her as if she was my own child.

As the years went on and she aged, I did all I could to keep her healthy. Special medicine and diets to prevent her liver disease from progressing. When she went blind I gave her eye drops perfectly on schedule. When I noticed her limping from stiff legs, I rubbed her legs. When I noticed her weight loss, I gave her more treats and added special things to her food to encourage her to eat. When she started having accidents in the house, I made excuses and cleaned them up, not caring about the mess, just happy that she was still with me. As her body started to shut down I did everything I could think of to prolong her life.

As she got older and the end grew closer, I grieved. I grieved every time she had a bad health day. I grieved when she started having seizures at 11 years old. I grieved when she went blind at 13. I grieved the potential of her death for months, even years, before she passed.

I was told many times that when it came time to say goodbye she would let me know. My overwhelming anxiety of losing her wouldn’t listen, couldn’t listen. The grief that I feared so greatly was trying to fool me into thinking that I could ignore what was obvious. I tried to fool myself into reasoning that she still wanted to play ball and she was still eating treats, she was going to bounce back as she had done so many times. But, when the time came to say goodbye, and I was finally ready to listen, she let me know it was ok.

The Vet came to our house so we could be with her as she crossed the rainbow bridge. I held her in my arms as she took her last breath and a piece of me died along with her. Despite knowing that the day was approaching and it was the right decision, I wasn’t ready… I would never be ready. How do you prepare to say goodbye to your best friend?

Gone from my life, but forever in my heart.

In his book The Smell of Rain on Dust Martin Prechtel describes grief this way

Grief expressed out loud, whether in or out of character, unchoreographed and honest, for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.” 

Grief for someone that’s gone isn’t grief for the dead, it’s praise for the fact that they were alive, the fact they were loved. 

Saying goodbye to Tessie was a devastating transition in my life. Her absence created a huge shift in my daily life. There is an emptiness in my heart when I think about the loss of her.  A part of me was missing. One of my favorite things in life was gone. My heart was broken. I know I feel this way because of the fullness and joy that Tess added to my life.

The grief still gets me sometimes. It sneaks up on me when I least expect it. I still find myself crying at random times… I’m crying now as I write this.

It took me days to recover, weeks to stop crying, months to feel normal again. One year later…

Grief…

It is a thing we all have in common, but it looks and feels different to everyone.
It comes in its own time… at its own pace…different for everyone.

My best friend forever, my loyal companion. There will always be a Tessie-sized hole in my life. She will be loved forever and missed always.
Tessie Mae: April 30,2006-August 11, 2020 🐼❤️

My best friend, forever in my heart.
Laura lookingjoligood.wordpress.com

Stop by Instagram and visit my page @lookingjoligood.  We’ve got a great community of kind people over there. Generally, I post mostly pictures of food, plants, sunsets, and puppies, but there are lots of pictures of makeup and beauty products as well. 😉 

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2 thoughts on “One Year Later… Grief

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