Archive for Anticipatory grief

A Journey Reaches The End of The Road

Posted in Animals, bereavement, Birthday, Cherished memories, Death Avoidance, Family, Grief, Loss, Love, Mourning, Pet Loss, Pets, Relationships with tags , , on June 26, 2015 by Morguie
Shadow, age 13

Shadow, age 13, May 2015

He was born 9-20-01, in the days after the surreal tragedy of 9/11.

He seemed at first, to CJ, to be just another black lab puppy. He would become so much more in the years to come. More like an Angel in a dog’s form…he would bond to her like no other animal she had ever known or called a pet…so loyal, faithful, and compassionate. So unlike a regular dog, he was to her, EXTRAORDINARY; other-worldly, actually.

He seemed to understand, in his gentle way. He loved her unconditionally, as he did everyone who loved him.

He would have a wonderful, full life working the hunts each fall with Daddy. He would accompany Mommy and Daddy anywhere he could, always by their side, as if to act as guardian angels do.

He was fondly called Mommy’s “baby bear” — because Daddy is her big teddy bear. She would pronounce him the kingly Prince of her heart.

As the years peeled away, his face and paws had begun to gray…CJ fretted at the thought that ‘someday’ he would have to leave them. It would be among the saddest in her life, the day that would take her Shadow away.

She would whisper in his silkiest of pup’s ears, not to go now. Stay with me. Just a little while longer…whatever will I do? How would I go on without you here each day?

More years passed, his hips were worn and he was slowing down. He was losing weight in spite of having a snacky whenever Mommy would toss it…in the final months, that was quite often.

She had tried so hard to get ready; the time was coming soon, she thought. Still, he held on, so happy to see Mommy and Daddy each day.

In the mid-weeks of June they were going on a quick vacation across the country. Tears rolled off her cheeks and onto his nose as she bent to hug him and kiss him before Daddy took him and Hunter, the other lab, to the boarding kennel. Before she let go of him, she asked him not to leave her while they were away — she wanted to be with him when the time came. He set his chin on her shoulder and was very still for a moment. CJ felt that he understood the wish. He was happy.

It was a moment of understanding and a farewell of love. It was the last good moment they would have.

The day they returned, Daddy went off to the kennel to get him and Hunter. But — moments upon their entry to the house — Shadow began to go into a serious respiratory arrest and was unable to stand or catch his breath. Alarmed, and unsure what they could do to help, Mommy and Daddy hurriedly carried him to the truck and raced to the Vet Emergency Clinic.

They knew in their hearts it was the end. They tried to prepare themselves in the quiet ride over.

Once inside, they explained that no heroics were wanted to save him. They would have to be brave…

..they were led back to a room where the nurse had already inserted an I.V. line into his paw..he actually seemed calmer and more stable…Daddy and Mommy petted him, Mommy crying uncontrollably. This was her baby bear. How could it be time? Now?

The dog looked into her eyes when she kissed him…yes, it was time.

The doctor administered the shot, and in an instant, her precious Prince of her heart…was gone.

Daddy and Mommy remained with him for a few more moments, each with heavy hearts and tears in their eyes. She buried her face in his thick neck fur, sobbing and telling him she loved him so much.

He was the best dog. Ever. No other could be what he was to them. He was very special indeed.

And now he was gone.

But…he did as Mommy had hoped…he waited until they could be with him.

Such a wonderful member of our ‘family.’

He is missed most terribly. He will always run and play in her memories. She will carry him always within her heart. Until she can see him again on the other side.

Mommy loves you Shadow. Rest in Peace. Wait for us on the other side, okay my prince? We’ll see you then…

My Shadow, with daughter Caitlin on May 26, 2015

My Shadow, with daughter Caitlin
on May 26, 2015

C J  with Her Very Best Boy, Shadow      on May 26, 2015

C J with Her Very Best Boy, Shadow
on May 26, 2015

Doggie Mama Holding Her Tiny, Teacup Labrador… at least HE thought he was very tiny…Winter-time evenings this was the norm (approx 2009)

C J Talks About: Her Own Struggle With Grief And Forgiveness

Posted in Death, Grief, Losing A Parent, Loss, Traffic Accident, Tragic death with tags , , , on August 1, 2013 by Morguie
English: Graphic on forgiveness

English: Graphic on forgiveness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Grief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The 29th marked the third anniversary of my cherished dad’s death after many years of suffering. I swore to myself I wouldn’t let myself be taken over by tears and sadness on that day. It’s hard not to think about how very much you miss someone on the day that marks their passing. Or on April 2, the date that marks the devastating event which forever changed our family, as we knew it. Or on Father’s Day. Or his birthday.  Most of the time I am good. But those particular four days are torture. I found myself mired in grief.

I never overcame the sense of personal tragedy I felt when Dad was run down in the street, just a block from his home. The driver was a druggie and not even permitted to have a license after some other misdeed she was involved in.  He was in the crosswalk, three-quarters the way across the roadway, on a green light. She was barreling through the intersection intent on making her left turn, however hastily or short of the proper lane. Her big SUV slammed into him, making point of impact his head, the momentum of it all sent him all of the way back to the corner where he started.

It was Good Friday.  I was in town and had called earlier to tell him I was going to stop by for a visit. I feel so much regret for my dawdling. I was later than I’d said. If only I’d been there as promised. I cannot help but wonder if I’d picked up my pace and gotten over there just half an hour earlier, that he might still be here.  The weight of this guilt and the what-ifs has been like an anchor around my neck.

 If only…how might things have been…if only I hadn’t been thinking of myself…if only I’d gone straight over, not indulging in unnecessary distractions at the markets…that accident wouldn’t have happened, and I wouldn’t hate myself so much for not being able to save Dad from…it. If only…

At that moment, I had no idea that I would never again have a meaningful 2-way conversation, go out for a beer, or eat a meal again with Dad. The accident in 1999 would rob him of speech and movement, his and mom’s retirement together; he was left severely brain-injured and paralyzed, with the exception of a little ability to use the left hand. He died in 2010…only after numerous surgeries and long stints in various medical facilities. He died at home where my mother and sister had cared for him all of the rest of the time. Up until I seriously injured my own back, I too tried to care for him, in the beginning.

And as such, one would think we all had plenty of time to ready ourselves for the end. And there were many occasions where it looked to be the ‘end.’ “Anticipatory” grief is what that is called. For eleven years, we were in the limbo of anticipatory grief. If you have been blessed to not experience it, I will only try to tell you that it enervates the mind, body, and spirit. It robs you of joy and fosters bitterness and depression. Like ripping the scab from a deep wound, over and over again.  For me, though, everything about how I viewed life, changed.

I have never been able to move past the anger and resentment I harbor for that woman. She had no right to be behind the wheel that night. In a selfish disregard for others, including her daughters riding with her that night, she took the life of my innocent father. She can never know the pain she caused. She will never know what she took away from us that fateful night. She will never know the suffering caused, even to this day. Forever. She will never know how my mother has spent her days, isolating herself in her grief. How Mom has allowed her will to live to slip as she counts the days until the suffering ends for her. She prays and looks with hope to the day she can be with him again. They would have celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary July 25th. Another marker to get through. 

I know I must find a way to let it go. I MUST forgive, I am told. But I don’t WANT to! I want vengeance.

But I do understand that I will NEED to find forgiveness if I am ever going to be free of this ugliness inside. The bitterness, self-loathing, and anger over the years has definitely made me into a chronically negative, joyless human being at times. It eats away at everything in your life. Clouds the blessings you have, lessening your appreciation for what good there is around you.

I have two little grandsons who bring light and joy, merely by thinking of them. For that, I am so grateful. For them I want to be a joyful Grammy with happiness in her heart and mind.

So, I NEED to try hard to pull myself up and out of the darkness I have been in. I will have to forgive so that I can be free to be the real me I was before. At least closer to it than I have been.

I have more than one injustice to forgive. Many years of them, one right after another, starting with Dad’s accident. It will be a project for me. Creating this blog has helped me to feel useful to others who also struggle with grief. A ray of light through a solid black cloud of misfortune.

In order to find some peace, it will have to start with me. Being able to help others to do that makes it possible to believe I can also help myself. I will find the compassion and humanity in myself to allow forgiveness of others and for myself.

This July 29th was a day of enlightenment, even through so many tears. I realized my father would not want to see me consumed by so much sadness and negativity. He would want only for me to be happy and living a quality life. So for him, for myself, I will make every effort to do that. 

**Thank you for taking time to make this blog such a worthwhile effort. It has brought purpose and positivity into my life. It will be key in my own grief recovery. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and comments here. I like to know how my posts affect you and I ponder those perspectives and learn from them. I am humbled when you tell me I have helped you in some small way. Thank you for that.** 

©2013, C.S. Thompson.


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