The unexpected flavors of grief!
This was the most difficult article to write, it has taken me six weeks
I do not wish to hear “I am sorry.”
No one understands a person’s personal grieving. Grief is too intimate.
Worse are those who immediately take away from the grieving person, with their own grueling stories. Listen for a change, your time will come to share your grief.
Sädé will no longer roll in the grass one more time, this was her last, Thursday 3/15/2019, knowing the future was near, but how near?
Death is a fact of life,a guarantee!
The difference for me was, Sädé was with me 99.9999% of my life for 13 years. Sädé was a body part, every waking and sleeping moment; Sädé was here for me. Sädé was a Service Dog.
Every moment, “let’s get ready Sädé, we must get in the car,” she understood and waited. Or waiting in a parking lot as I approached, her smile brighten my world, then letting her out on the grass, immediately Sädé came by my side looking upward with her twinkling eyes.
Each time I had to apply the car breaks with immediacy, glancing in the rear view mirror, is Sädé alright? No, Sädé is gone!!
I’m hungry Sädé, do you want to share my croissant? Sädé is not waiting to share! Waking in the middle of the night to write; Sädé is not by my bedside, nor at my desk, or sitting ready to go to a meeting, store or doctors’ office.
Everyone asks “how is Sädé?” Sädé was loved!
Sädé is no longer here!
I promised and promised I would take her to the mountains for free time, we never went. The pressures of a doctors visit, more scans, not enough gas money. In the last year, life was tougher, Sädé was accepting for the morsels given her. Sädé indure my injuries with acceptance and love for 13 years.
Her acceptance of the person I was was in part what kept me alive. My frustration due to ignorant doctors and therapists and my rage of no hope. The battles I fought with landlords, Sädé is a Service dog! Thankfully the rules have tightened. People must accept without question a letter from a Doctor, no allowances in questioning to breed or medical.
I was ostracized by friends, and condo employees over an extremely well behaved Service Dog. Sädé would sit quietly by my side in comfort when listening to their complaints.
Once, in our condo gym, I sat and worked writing, the wifi was better. A women, complete stranger came up to me and began to scream in my face for having my Sädé, my service dog by my side. No one came to my aid, just Sädé silently lying on the floor.
When reporting, the condo managers lied and stated they had complaints about my Sädé, my temper rose; I told them to their faces they were liars. My serious TBIs would not allow for me to express fully a proper explanation of who my Service Dog Sädé was.
Now, any person harassing a person with a service dog, can be impuned for an assault.
Sädé rolled in the snow, walked out with my Arabians, rolled in grass.
These were her only private fun times.
The future had come, I lived in denial.
I prepared some herbal chicken for the next two days, treats for the next three days, calling the vet saying “In about a week.”
THE MOMENT ARRIVED: SUNDAY MARCH 17TH, AT 2:36 SÄDÉ DIED IN MY ARMS
Now those times are over, the future had come and passed, my grief remains in waves. No matter how I tried to convince myself, death was in the future, death took my Sädé, we are never prepared.
Here sits the chicken, the treats, I hear internally; Why couldn’t you give what was hers now? Given as soon as possible? Sädé was dying, there was no future time, it was now! GRIEF!
Sädé gave me 13 years as my Service dog. She never denied me a moment to run out the door, even in her old age of 15, she limped from an injury. Sädé struggled to get in and out of the car. I used a towel lifting her in the back seat, she was so willing and yet incredibly weak. Lifting in my arms out of the car – her leg would break if she landed on her own.
Sädé’s last 45 minutes were grueling. Sädé wanted to go outside to pee. I lifted her off the steps, stood by her, watching her body collapse on the ground. Sädé could no longer stand. Picking her 50 pound body up, carrying her back inside, admonishing myself. “What did I expect, she was near death.” Much nearer than I thought, death was still in the future. Reality hit in 41 minutes.
Carrying Sädé to her bed, Sädés’ legs were convulsing.
Stooping down, massaging her back, her brain stem stiffened as her head jerked backwards. Still in denial, “Death is in the future, she has chicken to have for breakfast in the morning,
Reaching for the medical marijuana liquid, I squeezed some under her tongue, allowing me to massage her stiffened brain stem and back to ease the muscles.
“Death is still in the future I told myself.” As her legs went still, I held Sädés’ body, her blind eyes were blank, and I said, “leave Sädé, it’s your time.” She did!!
Checking her vitals – the emotions of GUILT consumed me
She gave me her life, it was an unpleasant life for a person recovering from many joint surgeries and multiple TBIs. A life of complete servitude for a human.
Then the memories
Sädé went to the libraries; all meetings as I recovered and functioned. Sädé and I traveled from Colorado to Santa Fe for medical and home to Colorado, still life was tormenting. MRIs, SPEC, EKG, EEGs, SCAT scans, 32 in all. She waited in a room after each operation. When I woke in the private hospitals, I asked, “Please give my service dog a warm blanket instead of cold linoleum to sleep upon,” Sädé never complained.
Sädé was a slave to my life for 13 years and for this I am riddled with guilt. She did not have a life of fun, sometimes we walked around the large Columbine lake after my studies in the library, but never to play with the other dogs; she was a Service dog.
Sädé knew when I was in an amnesia episode, Sädé guided me to our car. She knew when I was in pain, Sädé walked by my side as I worked out the multitude of surgeries. Never demanding anything when both of my shoulders and back came under surgeries.
One day when taking Sädé out for a short walk, she severely injured her left front leg. A slight squeal and then hobbled back to the apartment. She would not stop for herself, her attention was devoted to me.
On road trips back to Colorado to find a place to live, she sat on the front seat of the U-haul, Sädé like a trooper, grinning from ear to ear; while I was horrified, never having driven a truck, much less hauling my car, for 8.5 hours. Sädé would not get out to relieve herself, she wanted us to arrive to our 2 year home. Then life’s bottom fell out from under us once again. I am riddled with guilt.
Sädé was perfection, now Sädé is a container of ashes.
There are no steps in grief, only emotions and separation. I could not function for the last 6 weeks, made plenty of mistakes in writing and at meetings. People would ask about Sädé, immediately my words were: I can’t talk about Sädé!
My deep sorrow was all Guilt!
Service dogs never relinquish one moments thought to themselves, an honorable life they offer, in complete acceptance of their duties without complaint, right till the last breath. How can I ever express the depths of what my Sädé meant to me. Treats and good food were not enough, it will never be enough.
She gave me 13 years of her life helping me live on.
When there is a person in grief, not speaking of the sorrow, offer a wide breadth of allowances for them. We are human and emotions are convoluted.
There are no exact stages of grief, the time is simply filled with emotions.
I still do not wish to talk about Sädé’s death. It is a silent mourning with yearnings. I ought to have done better as a loving person!
Life is a hard battle for many – Listen with your eyes and heart – it’s not about you.
sometimes love is not enough. I miss my Sädé !!
Sädé from 7/15/2007 to 3/17/2019 @ 2:36PM her body quit convulsing, her eyes went blank, there was not another breath, even the illusion of her Aussie Blue Moral coat seemed to move, but that was an illusion, Sädé was gone forever.
Sädé’s blind eyes for the last 6 months no longer had life in them. As this photo indicates about a year prior Sädé was going blind, but still alert, could play in the snow and run a bit.
Sädé is no longer running after frisbees, or playing around my Arabian!
She Loved going out to the barn and rubbing against the hay.
THE ONE DAY IN THE FUTURE CAME. SADE DIED!
Death never takes a holiday and it is never in the future. There is no grim reaper except our own denial. Deal with reality!
A Psalm of Life
What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.Tell me not, in mournful numbers,Life is but an empty dream!For the soul is dead that slumbers,And things are not what they seem.Life is real! Life is earnest!And the grave is not its goal;Dust thou art, to dust returnest,Was not spoken of the soul.Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!Let the dead Past bury its dead!Act,— act in the living Present!
DEDICATED TO BEHAVIORAL SOLUTIONS FOR THE BETTERMENT OF LIFE. ©
About the Author: MicheleElys is a Neurobehaviorist ~ Writer ~ Educator ~ Keynote Speaker.
“Concussions are a huge drain in the workplace!” 4-6 week training program relieving the agony of TBIs and concussions.
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