I guess the subject of my post might best describe my feelings right now, just in a daze, writing, reflecting, observing, brought on by the passing of my beloved Chow of 13 years, Toby. When I came home from work this past Weds. I found him paralyzed in his back legs and when I got him to the vet, they urged me to have him euthanized. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, despite of his age he was strong and in great shape and was just starting to show signs of being older. I could have never imagined sharing my home and life with such a loving, lovable, smart and well behaved creature, he brought so much joy to my life.

My heart had been touched by Christmas this year and I put up a tree and decorations right after Thanksgiving, I haven't decorated my home since my sister died tragically the week before Thanksgiving 1998. Christmas was her favorite time of the year. She was driving home from work and hit a deer. Sometimes I wish I never visited the site or viewed the car, the deer had actually came through the windshield. I guess I played the accident in my mind a thousand times. I miss my big sister, we had a close bond, she always protected and looked out for me and I have a deep knowing that when I pass over, she will be right there to acclimate me in the next phase of life. I grieved so hard when she died, to the point of compromizing my health. I would sometimes catch a glimpse of her in a crowded mall or on the street, I think I experienced every aspect of grief.

Many more loved ones before and after my sister have passed and I have also grieved terribly for. I was looking at the family tree and here are just a few funerals that I've been to in my life:

Uncle Clyde - 1968

Great Grandma - Apr. 1968

Aunt Irene - Mar. 1973

Aunt - Apr. 1978

Grandma - May 1982

Grandpa - Jan. 1985

Cousin - Dec. 1989

Grandma - Aug. 1994

Grandpa - Aug.1995

Brother in Law -Jul. 1996

Sister - Nov. 1998

Cousin - Jun. 2005

Brother - Dec. 2005

Good Friends Son - Jan. 2006

Cousin _ Feb. 2006

Another Good Friends Daughter - Jun. 2006

Best Friend - Nov. 2006

Aunt Rose - Dec. 2006

Uncle - Dec. 2006

Pet - Dec. 2007

Although I was only 4 years old when my Uncle Clyde passed, I remember being at his funeral.

Aunt Irene, born in 1905, was my grandmother's sister and I was one of her favorites. I was shy as a child and didn't take to many but I felt right at home spending the night with her when I was 5, I remember wetting the bed and how loving she was, no scolding but calm and reassuring. I would always have tea and dry toast with her. I still cling to a few items my grandmother left me of hers such as her Bible from 1920 and a Deco magazine rack that I dispaly proudly in my living room.

My best friend had lung cancer and died last year. He had started buying me the Lenox annual Snowman collection each year since 1998 after my sister died as he knew how much Christmas meant to her and how I had adopted her love of snowmen in some of her decorating themes. I have never displayed them until this year.

I miss the talks with my brother, I miss my grandparents who were the glue that bound my family and no gathering since has been the same. My grandma died of Emphylzema, she had me set on her bedside the day before she died and made me promise to ty to quit smoking for her because she couldn't fathom anyone she cared about suffering as she did not being able to breath. I did quit after she passed but started back smoking more than I had before, it took many years before I had the will enough to try again and I've been smoke free for 4 years now.

I always felt a bond with my Aunt Rose who passed away before Christmas last year, we became really close over the past ten years. Every Christmas I gave her a primitive snowman which she displayed year round, I told her to put them away and she told me she wanted to always see them because they were from me. I asked for a few of them back after she passed and I've put them out this year too.

I guess I can ramble on all night.

I realize that death is part of life but sometimes I feel that I've experienced more than most? Why? What is my lesson in all of this? Just when I think I can smile, laugh, and live again -It's back to grief.

I used to be afraid of death but I don't think I am anymore, It's not like I have a death wish because I do look forward to another day of expression, working in the garden, being with loved ones but it sure is hard when the physical presence of these souls that have meant so much to me have been removed, maybe it's my selfish ego that can't let go, maybe I need to reexamine my beliefs of eternality.

I do carry their spirits in my heart and I feel blessed that they were part of my life.

To those of you who have read through this long post, I'm not sure there is anything that I can say to ease your pain or reaffirm your beliefs but I do hope that you also can muddle through this Holiday somehow.

Comments (2)
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Gosh, I was really touched by your story. First of all, let me tell you how very sorry I am about Toby. My lab just turned 11, so I know I might have a few years left with him if it is in God's plan. He is my pride and joy and I know I will be devastated when he has to go.

That said, what I came away with from your list of dear loved ones that have passed on...is that you have lost so many dear to you..but when you flip that around it means you have been so blessed to have that much love surround you your entire life. Many people don't have anyone or hardly anyone in their lives that mean so much to them. I know it doesn't make the hurt any less. My mama has been gone for close to 2 years and hardly a day goes by that I don't miss her so much it feels the world is crushing me. But I take one day at a time knowing she wouldn't want me sad all the time. And I have had several signs from her. I can imagine her shaking her head and saying 'what else do I have to do to let you know I am okay?' LOL> They have been pretty strong signals.

Anyway, thanks so much for sharing and I hope catalogueing all of the love you have been shown through the years helped and was a little therapeutic for you.


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I'm sorry you've lost your beloved companion.

When life has been hard & it seems like it would be easier to just give up & sit under a tree til you freeze or til a wolf eats you, having something/someone who relies on you will keep you anchored to life itself.

The best way I know to heal grief & to nurture my own spirit is to love something or someone.

I'd get another pet-
A pet loves us unconditionally & absolutely, & giving a home to an animal will honor the memory of your Chow.

& I'd reach out to a younger generation of human beings as well:
they're filled with the vibrancy of life, & that does restore out spirits.

holding you in my thoughts.

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