Three months.

Melvin died three months ago.  I still can’t type it without feeling some heaviness creep into my chest.

I’ve been going to therapy/grief counseling because I still have a hard time at night.  I feel a lot of anxiety and I don’t sleep all that great anymore.  We think a lot of that has to do with how terrified I was every night that he was here, after I learned of the cancer.  In the same moment I was so grateful that we’d had one more day I was also so utterly terrified that he would die during the night or the next day.  I was constantly haunted by our prognosis:  he could die at anytime. Nighttime was when I’d fall apart.  It was the worst fear and panic I’ve ever known. So it makes sense, I have to make some peace with the night hours now.  The good news is, it’s getting better.  For sure.

Everyone keeps saying, it’s ok to be mad. I know about the stages of grief, I’m not sure that everyone goes through each one.  But I can’t (or maybe it’s that I won’t?) let myself be angry.  Here’s why. In the seven years I had Melvin, he never displayed an ounce of anger. He got a lot of crappy health issues thrown at him yet that dog even wagged his nubbin one hour after having to have his tail amputated.  For me, being angry that he’s gone or that cancer found us, feels untrue to who he was to me.  He was my bright light and in grieving him, I am trying to honor that. I’m trying live by his example. Trust me, it’s not always easy. Cancer has taken too much, of that we are all certain.  But for us, his cancer was brief and he suffered very little.  I’m grateful for that.

The grief has softened, a lot. I keep it together when I talk about him now. I have been able to watch a few videos of him and remain upright (HUGE)!  And when tears come, I’m thankful for the love that brought them. Jake is doing much better also.  He did well being left alone with the dog sitter for a week. He’s doing great with his training. His separation anxiety has significantly improved. I can see his overall anxiety lessening, sometimes his new calm reminds me of Melvin.  Jake’s Jedi master taught him well.

In losing Melvin I have realized that the best way to honor someone’s memory, is to take on some of the goodness they brought to the world. It’s how love lives on. If they brought kindness, keep kindness going.  If they brought laughter, carry the funny forward. If they made you feel strong, lift someone else up.  I promise you, it helps. For us, Melvin brought joy and peace.  And I will give both back, every day I’m alive.

And since we are a forward moving bunch, in my next post I’ll share with you my thoughts on changing the name of the blog.

Photo credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo credit: Kate Juliet Photography

15 thoughts on “Three months.

  1. Thank you for sharing Melvin with us, and your grief over his loss as well. When you write about him and his passing I have a hard time making it thru the posting without choking up…I think it’s because the love expressed in your writing exemplifies how I feel about Moo and Silly…so thank you for sharing this raw emotion with us. Wishing you boatloads of Melvin inspired joy and peace.

    • If there is one thing I want to do, it’s let all the pet lovers know that in loving our pets and in grieving our pets, there is a community who understands. The love is true and the grief is worthy and you can always come here and know that you’ll find empathy! Moo and Silly are lucky to be so loved! Thanks for reading along.

  2. Kudos to you!! Moving forward is sometimes the hardest thing. As we think we are betraying the other by no longer grieving them. The love of them gives us the strength to be able to move on. We never get over our loss. We celebrate the journeys! I think you are doing great! Jake sounds like he is doing awesome!!

    I don’t think you should change the name of the Blog. That to me is how you celebrate Melvin and keep his memory alive. I understand if that is tough! I still can’t give up Clyde as part of my passwords!

    Hugs always!!

    Have you joined the MS Movement? Help change someone’s life with Multiple sclerosis.


    • I assure you that in changing the blog name (if I do that), it will celebrate Melvin, maybe even more than it currently does! Love you so much!!!

  3. I love this picture of Melvin. I feel like he’s saying “Chin up and Chill out Folks!” He reminds me of my girl Sophie, whom I’ve spoken of here, and I feel about her like I think you feel about him. I feel you so much when I read your words. I’ve grown to love your boys through them and i’m pulling for Jake to find himself with every post.

  4. I made it all the way to “changing the name of the blog” before crying! That’s an improvement for me

    • I know it shouldn’t have, but this made me laugh a little! Only because I gauge my improvements the same way! Hopefully the ideas I have about the name ‘adjustment’ won’t make you cry again/more. It does not make me cry, so that is a good sign.

  5. I’m so sorry. I can somewhat relate. Unlike you, I was furious when I learned DeDe had cancer. After all she’d been through, and then that too? It’s a dirty little secret of mine that i’d hoped she would outlive Rumpy and enjoy a short time being an only dog. See, outgoing Rumpy never lacked for attention, while DeDe always got whatever was left. After a year, I still grieve for her. But this is the way things are and I must keep moving forward. But nobody said I had to like it and I don’t.

    • I totally get your dirty little secret. And I’m with you on not liking it. I dislike his being gone more than I dislike anything. DeDe and Melvin are hopefully ripping it up together!

  6. I just love the thought of you continuing Melvin’s gift of joy and peace. That makes my heart so happy. I’ll never ever forget the year after Talbot, our first Golden, died. On the first-month anniversary, I was on a beautiful wonderful magical vacation, and I spent the entire day in bed crying. I simply couldn’t function. I cried on the 4th of every month after . . . until one day I finally woke up on the 5th and thought, “I didn’t cry yesterday.”I know I’ll go through it all again for every dog I’ll ever have. It’s the price we pay for the years of joy our very special friends bring to us. Thinking of you.

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