I know people probably think it’s crazy to actually grieve over a dog, but since we lost Copper it has been hard. He was a part of our family and was brought into our lives when my daughter Tori was really sick. He has helped both of us heal and given us so much joy to keep our minds off of some of the pain we have experienced. We really didn’t have him long, but he was full of love and personality that made him very easy to get attached to. He was a very, very hyper but smart dog…he knew how to sit, shake hands, fetch, when I said it was time to go potty he knew, he knew when I got dressed it was time for a walk, he would get his leash for me, he knew to sit when we filled up his bowl with food until we told him to go get it and so many other things he learned in the short time we had him. We were with him all the time and he was a part of our routine. However, Tori and I have had a couple of instances where we have felt great comfort from our loss. First of all, I shared the pennies story with you and at the time I wasn’t thinking that they are made of copper. lol Tori reminded me of that. Even though I knew it I didn’t realize the significance of the whole thing which was pretty cool. We have also collected a couple of pennies off the ground and one day I was thinking about him and looked down and found one. You have to read my last blog to get that. Another day we were talking and she reminded me of a Bible verse that states…to everything there is a season. And I shared with her how it was funny that she said that because I had been thinking that we had Copper for all four seasons and that was it. He came into our lives and enjoyed summer, fall, winter, and spring weather/seasons. We just had him almost a year. Copper was a free spirit and one day he just darted out the door and was running around in the yard. While Tori and I were trying to catch him to put his leash on him a car drove by and he chased it and got hit…that was it. We had to watch it, too. We were devastated. We have cried and cried, but also laughed remembering his funny personality. We have rationalized and felt guilty (what if this and what if that) enough to drive one crazy. I have even read about the stages of grief and realized how those stages were becoming real in my life. Then one night, I told my husband that I couldn’t believe how much I was grieving over this dog. I said I didn’t think I could handle it if we had of had him for a very long time and then lost him. The next morning I read a verse in a devotional and it said God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. And also one that said how God is in control and has domain over all the inhabitants of the earth. So, a part of me found peace in knowing it was his time to go. He was here for the time he was supposed to be and it would have been so much harder if he had been here longer. Tori and I have comforted each other and have told each other we will get through this. 🙂 We have….
I have also learned that people deal with pain and grief in their own ways and their own times. I can remember a time when I dealt with pain and losses of my past by drowning them in alcohol or destructive behavior. It’s amazing how numb one can become to pain and grief. I went through my parent’s nasty divorce as a young child, I lost my brother in a tragic car accident, and then my best friend to colon cancer. I also lost my childhood/teenager babysitter and some extended family, but I can say….I never grieved properly. It didn’t occur to me until I lost Copper that I have experienced that grief only one time before where I have processed it in stages…the healthy way. I grieved when Tori lost most of her colon. Her anatomy isn’t normal anymore. She has to deal with and maintain an illness for the rest of her life. I remember leaving the hospital overcome by grief and empathy for her and crying. I thought I had done something wrong to cause it all. Did I give her enough healthy food. Did I commit some sin (which some religious people don’t help that). She hasn’t had a normal teenage life, no proms, no friends really, not being able to go to school, how has all of the trauma affected her,etc……but on the other side of that pain and grief she is doing great and actually living now. She is a trooper and a lot stronger than I gave her credit for. She is excelling in school and doing it from home and that’s ok!! I am happy today that I have been able to experience pain and grief in a healthy way. Our souls/bodies are supposed to experience pain, grief, and loss because it’s part of living here. I believe when you reach the finality of your grief is when you have accepted it and you are able to see the happiness or good that came to your life out of it. You find peace and you are actually refreshed. You hold on to good memories and let go of guilt. You move forward, but at the same time you don’t forget. You embrace hope…. In conclusion, I have seen how each family member has dealt with their grief over the loss of Copper. As for Tori, she got a new puppy…:) his name is Forrest. His mom didn’t want anything to do with him so his back legs were wobbly at first because he was only 6 weeks old. He is named after Forrest Gump and my part in this is…since I run I hope to make him a running dog so we can all say “run Forrest run” and find Joy in it…He is half pit/half lab…There will never be another Copper and there’s not supposed to be, but there is enough love to give to this new addition to our family. And that’s my take on pain, grief, and my thoughts for today!! 🙂