“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
– Philippians 3:20-21
Everyone goes through a different process when they grieve the loss of a loved one and I’ve tried to allow myself to grieve in whatever manner seemed to come naturally. Following is some of what I experienced grieving the loss of my Trixie.
I had known for quite a while this time would arrive. She was an old dog of over 16 years and her health had been deteriorating for the past couple years. Still, I questioned whether I was premature in ending her life.
She wasn’t sick and didn’t seem in pain – no whining or whimpering. But, I could tell her health was deteriorating, eating less, and losing quite a bit of weight. She had lost her hearing in 2019 and no longer responded to verbal cues. In September 2020, Trixie suddenly lost her vision, and now combined with her deafness, we were presented with new challenges.
At that time her health seemed to still be pretty good. So, rather than taking other drastic measures, I committed to making her life as comfortable and workable as I could. But, it was clear she could no longer live a full life as an energetic and inquisitive dog. We did the best we could over the next year.
She began having more difficult times getting outside to potty. Oftentimes, she would stand up and poop or pee where she stood. Regardless of where she defecated, since she couldn’t see it, she would walk through it and spread it around, sometimes on her.
I guess the final decision was knowing she had lived a good life for over sixteen years and that I didn’t want to drag out her life to the point of becoming physically sick, I called my Vet and made her final arrangements. It was difficult, though I believe the best for her and in God’s will. She went peacefully as I stroked her head reassuring her she was loved.
The night before she passed, I put her life into God’s hands.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” – Matthew 10:29
I remember thinking she might pass naturally in the overnight and that would be God’s way of taking the decision from me. That wasn’t to be, however, and I accepted the final hours to an opportunity of outpouring of love and affection we could spend together.
She had my total attention the whole day and just lovin on her as best I could. I also tried capturing some last photographs of her which are posted here on this page.
After her passing, physically I felt a general achiness throughout my body and an almost complete loss of appetite. I felt hungry at times, but simply didn’t want to eat. When I did force myself to, it was pretty tasteless. I had gone to the store after leaving the Vet and bought some “comfort food” but found no enjoyment in even that. I couldn’t believe the things that I once craved (ice cream and chocolate for example) didn’t hold any appeal to me and in fact, tasted bad.
I also felt dehydrated and had an almost constant dry mouth. Even brushing my teeth before bed didn’t seem to help.
I really didn’t want to talk to anyone after her passing. Even though many would express their sympathy, and I thank them for that, I still couldn’t shake the feeling they just really didn’t fully understand the depth of the relationship I had with my sole companion of over sixteen years. I guess nobody can really know that.
I ask of my Christian readers to pray for me. Pray that God might give me peace and strength to get through this difficult time.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
There was certainly a lonely quiet empty atmosphere in my house. For most of her life before she lost her sight and hearing, she would eagerly greet me when I came home after being gone only a short time. I can remember even before I could get into the house I would hear her barking in anticipation of my arrival.
Perhaps it was a blessing for the last year or so that she didn’t hear me or know when I came into a room. At least, that was not an abrupt change I needed to adapt to.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Eventually, the tears did subside and became less frequent. The ache in my body seemed to hold on longer.
I sometimes hear sounds in my house, especially at night before going to sleep, that I thought was her blindly bumping into objects or making her way through the doggie door.
I felt bad about putting away her things and converting my home to a dog-less existence. It was “as if” I were erasing her existence. I washed or threw away some of her bedding and rugs I’d placed around the house for her to lay on. I dismantled the make-shift ramp I’d made for her on the back porch and threw away the materials. Now, what to do with the dog food and supplements? What about all those doggie toys? Gosh, this is hard.
I lost my motivation for doing things I normally would be doing. They just all seemed so meaningless. Instead, I spent nearly all my waking hours for the next several days shuffling through photographs and putting together this blog memorial. I guess it’s my way of remembering her and honoring her life. I remember feeling glad that I had taken so many photographs of her through the years to remember our time together. There were a few images in my mind still that I had not captured in photographs.
I believe she is now with God in heaven and I look forward to the day I can join her and all my other loved ones in eternal celebration.
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:4-5