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Another Wave of Grief

grave stone

What you may not have considered

by Mandy Montgomery

When your loved one passes, there is paperwork to sign, things to go through and decide whether to keep or sell, and the everyday steps of moving on. It’s hard to fathom there are bigger things – living things – to consider. One of these things for our family was deciding what would happen to Chris’s dogs.

Chris had two dogs, Mercedes and Gizmo. These dogs meant the world to him. He even referred to Mercedes as his “#1 girl.” Chris was always on a mission to prove that pit bulls received a bad rap and that they weren’t as bad as everyone thought.

When it was time for our family to decide what to do with the two pups, the decision was easy. They would stay with the family. After all, that is what Chris would have wanted. My sister, Courtney, took Mercedes home to live with her family while I took Gizmo home to live with mine.

Just like with our kids, we felt it was important to involve the pups in almost everything we did, including bringing Mercedes to Chris’s burial. She knew exactly what was going on. She stood guard by his graveside and refused to let the groundskeeper anywhere near Chris. She cried along with us, and it was a struggle to get her to leave.

With Mercedes now almost 14-years old and Gizmo nearly 11, our family knows what that means. Mercedes has begun to lose her eyesight, to cry more at random times as if to tell us she is hurting, and to start looking around for her “Daddy” to come home at any minute. Gizmo has begun to slow way down, with skin allergies developing almost daily and his joints just not working the same as they used to.

What do you do when you know “it’s time” to face the inevitable? It’s time to let another piece of Chris go and start some of our grief all over again. Even though we know it’s hard, we know the time is close. We know it’s the right thing to do.

Our family has big plans in mind. Just like Chris, Mercedes will be cremated. Our kids have planned a ceremony at Chris’s graveside so that Mercedes and her daddy can be together once again. From the beginning, we told our kids that Uncle Chris needed us to take care of Mercedes and Gizmo for a while. We said that when Uncle Chris was able to take them back to live with him, he would tell us. This gives our kids a way of understanding that letting go of Mercedes is okay – and the reassurance that she will be with her favorite person in the world.

Our family has set the date. Until then, we are going to love Mercedes like she has never been loved before. For those who have faced this same grief years after your loved one passed, know that we are all in this together. Our fur babies are a part of our loved one, and letting go of them is just as hard. Love them while they are here and know that your loved one appreciates you loving them while they couldn’t – until they meet again.

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