Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Of Friendship, Family and Death

The passed week was a terrible mix of emotions - of joy, grief, excitement, heartbreak, love, emptiness, being over-whelmed, thankfulness, despair, grief, acceptance and peace.  It began when I was planning to meet up with my college best friends one of which we have not seen for over eighteen years.

I didn't realize Sam would still be thinking of us even after moving to Australia to raise a family with her long-time sweetheart Arvin. Tricia and I awaited for this moment for Sam to come visit us, though it took her a long time to do so due to the expense.  The reason why she needed to come to Manila is to accompany her mom in fixing documents and benefits after his father's death.

Well sad to say, her sweet dad, the only pilot I knew personally has passed away last month.  He succumbed to cancer, by the way, and he and Sam's family suffered terribly as well, along the journey.

There is only one thing I hate to write about, and probably many would come agreeing with me, it's about death, losing someone you love, and it would include even the death of a loved pet.

That lovely day came, when the three of us, Sam, TC and me will be reunited.  However, the day and night before it have been agonizing for me, having heard of a bad news about a puppy I gave to my cousin and his fiance being sick.  I almost couldn't sleep thinking and praying of Bucky, my favorite Lhasa Apso and of course with a mix of excitement of seeing Sam in the morning.

Delighted to have woken up the next day, I prepared eagerly and when I was about to leave home to go to Salcedo Makati, Roxanne messaged me in FB that her Bucky, my Bucky died.

Distraught, I shared the news to my husband and he became sad as well.  Though it was hard for him to accept, he just shrugged it off and told me, "just think of the happy days we spent with him and the rest of the pups."

My husband made it sure that I'm okay to meet up with my friends in spite of the grief I was trying to overcome, thus he drove for me and we were trying to figure out what could have happened.  But I was more worried of Roxanne and her family, Bucky's new family.  I can truly understand the condition they were in being there during the puppy's suffering.  I can totally feel for them for we have lost a couple of them years, years ago and it took us many more years to decide to adopt a new angel in the family.

Sure enough, when I met the girls, everything was just brand new, our hearts just run over with joy for each other, the sadness gone, cheerfulness just wiped the grief out.  Friendship is just a powerful thing, which everybody should have.  With them at that time was like de ja vu and reliving college life with them is the only thing I will do all over again.  I was so glad to see them still young-looking, in the pink of health and just being successful both in life and in their careers.

That day was spent hopping from one cafe to another, endless talk of our kids and family-work life balance, and of course, about the passing of one great father, Sam's dad.

I'm afraid of death!

Even the sound of the word gives me chills all over my spine.

The worst news I might not able to bear is losing someone I love.  Having someone in the family sick gives me enough grief and stress what more that dreaded event.  I've known a lot of friends who lost their loved ones and have been with a group who worked on a special project for cancer patients, but all these still could not prepare me, or maybe it did somehow.

But you see, our little pawed friends has a way of teaching us about death.  Sure losing a loved pet gives comparable pain to losing a friend or a family.   Let me quote Rita Reynolds (author of Blessing the Bridge) on this:
"My friend and teacher joined me in this lifetime as a honey-colored terrier named Oliver. Through his living and dying, he taught me there is no such thing as life versus death, or success versus failure. Love given and received, moment by moment, is all that really matters."
Like how the author sees her pets, dogs are masters in their own manner of the flow of birth, growth, death, and beyond. They continue to impress upon me the importance of preparing not out of fear, but out of wonderment for one of the most important events in every life: death. The animals have taught me ways to approach death and dying that can enrich and enlighten.

I've seen a lot of pups suffer from sickness and sometimes I would wish for them to quietly slip away and end their own suffering, but in my heart a prayer echos that God could still prolong their life.

Bucky's death was a shock for me, as compared to the other dogs we had that died, cause most of them died from viral diseases.  I was there when my dog Hazel was giving birth to him and his siblings, he grew up a bit lonesome coz most of the pups are sickly compared to him.  He is different from the kennel and he was ignored for he doesn't have that cuteness factor yet.  Only until he was two months old, when I began noticing him eating and resting without qualms, he doesn't bark so hard like the others and was not rowdy.

While my kids and husband have their own favorites, Bucky was left for me to love, and eventually everyone loved him equally.

Giving him was painful for me, but I have to give up some of the pups since they were six and our house could not hold all of them including their dog mom.  Thinking he will go to new owners who will love him and care for him.  On this sense, knowing that I won't see him grow like Hazel makes it even more unbearable.

But you see, though I'm still in grief over this, I did not show this to my kids and my husband not to pass on the guilt or show them I'm not strong enough to handle matters like this.  More so, I feel so sorry for Roxanne.

Life has to go on somehow.  When I saw Sam's face lighted up when she saw me, and how she was able to cope up with her Dad leaving them, even after knowing that one of her dog who was with them for 8 years died also, I came to realize that life is like that, to let go and let God.

Good thing on that weekend after I got to spend time with my girls and we all had to go through it a little less painful because we have each other.

Though it is hard to say there is life after the death of a loved one, it is true only if you're able to accept it and is willing to be changed for the better.

Perhaps it may not be advisable to get a new pet yet but know that you may get a pup that's better than what you have lost.

Good bye Bucky!  You will be forever loved!

If you are like us who mourns over a dearly loved pet, let me share you these quotes:

"I will always remember the tabby who taught me that not all relationships are meant to last forever. Sometimes, just an hour is enough to touch your heart.”

(Barbara L. Diamond) 

“There is no path so dark, nor road so steep, nor hill so slippery that other people have not been there before me and survived. May my dark times teach me to help the people I love on similar journeys.”

(Maggie Bedrosian) 

I've decide to believe that pets go to heaven too, taking comfort in the idea that the pet is in a place that is warm and bright, that they are no longer sick or in pain, and where they are being well cared for. The same loving God that cares for all of His children on earth I'm sure won't deny the same care to these wonderful animals who add so much to our lives.

Our pets love us unconditionally: They don't care what we look like, how much money we make, or what we do for a living. All they ask is that we give them a bit of our time and our attention. Doesn't it make sense when we are thinking about grieving for our pet thinking that our four-legged friends will be waiting for us when our days on Earth are finished?

If you are still having a hard time, do click on the following links as it would provide certain tips on how to deal with your grief in times of a pet's loss or a loved ones.

How to Cope with Losing a Pet: http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-with-Losing-a-Pet

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss: http://www.pet-loss.net/


  1. I'm sorry about your loss. Death is really hard to cope up with but I know our loved ones including pets are in a happier place now. We can get through this.

  2. I can only empathize...last year I lost three dogs due to virus despite their complete vaccine....don't get a new dog immediately, the virus are still alive in your grounds. In our case we need to spray our entire grounds with disinfectants, otherwise your other dogs will get infected too

  3. Oh that is so sad. We still have our shitzu, the first we bought for my daughters, and luckily, he is a happy 2 year oldie as of now. We haven't felt the pain like that but as my husband said, a dog's life is shorter than human so we've told our daughters beforehand.

  4. So sorry to hear about your loss and the loss of your friend's dad. Death is also something I don't like to think about. My brother passed away 15 years ago and I still feel sad about it. It's really, really hard but we have to try to move on if not for ourselves, at least for our other loved ones.

  5. It's a sad day when our pets have to go because it's like losing a part of our family. Death is feared but it gives you a better appreciation of life.

  6. Sorry to hear about Bucky. I lost one of our dog too earlier this year and it was a shocked to us because he was healthy a few days before his death. We don't know the real cause because he just suddenly became weak then after just one day, he died. We were supposed to bring him to the vet that day but he was so weak already and can't get up anymore.

  7. Rest in peace sexy dog, i don't know if dogs do gotto heaven, Lost ones hurts but life goes on.

  8. So sorry for your loss, Joy. I remember as well when I was little we have this dog and he died in a tragic way.. It had been very hard for me to move on. Though very very hard, I learned that we should accept death but on another note, we should view it as blessing in disguise to appreciate everything around us and thank God for everyday.

  9. My deepest condolence for your loss. I am also a pet lover and I lost 2 dogs too. Anyhow, we need to move on in life even though they have provided some of our best times in life.

  10. Condolences for your loss. It really is hard to let go of someone close to our heart.

  11. Condolences for the loss of Bucky and extend our condolences to your friend as well. I have always been sad and very affected when I hear someone die, even though I don't know the person personally or even to animals. I just hate the thought of loosing someone or something.

  12. This is so sad, So sorry for your loss, Joy. It really is hard to let go of someone close to our heart.

  13. aww, i felt sad while reading the post. Pets always hold special place in our hearts.

  14. 2 of my dogs also died early this year and it's really heartbreaking to know that it's all my fault.When I left my house, they got depressed and killed themselves :(

  15. I am so sorry for your loss, Joy. I don't like writing about death as well.


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