Milestones

This coming Saturday will be the end of our second month and the beginning of the third one without our sweet Callie.  

Someone told me recently that it doesn’t get easier, just different. That’s true.  Saying “good-bye” to her back in August was anything but easy. BUT learning to live without her sweet presence has been hell on earth. I can’t even count any more the number of times I’ve dissolved into a puddle of tears.  Or how many times Shadow has looked for her older sister and ended up letting out a long, sad sigh when she couldn’t find her.  Or how many times hubby has said “our Callie was taken from us way too soon” (or different words/same meaning).

Still, this past week and weekend was somewhat different. I was able to tell a few people about Callie’s going to Heaven without having to swallow hard on those tears. And I could laugh and smile at the memory of Ducky trying to hump Callie’s rear leg while Callie was napping on the dog bed in front of the TV. Or, at the memory of the countless times and ways Callie “took care of” her sister Shadow. 

Shadow had some milestones of her own, too.  She didn’t look for Callie as much as she had been. And the few times she did look, she seemed to accept the disappointment a little better. 

And at bedtime, instead of sleeping with her head in the opposite direction of how she used to sleep when snuggled near Callie, she curled up on the one dog bed as though Callie were on the other dog bed facing her. Heck, maybe Callie WAS there with her. Just because I didn’t see her doesn’t mean Shadow didn’t see or feel her sister’s spirit trying to comfort her. 

Since Callie’s second ACL surgery last year – right around this time of the year, too – she had not been as confident in her ability to jump up on things like the bed, the couch or chairs, or even the groomer’s table (which in its lowest position is only 2-3 inches off the floor).  About the only time she jumped up on the bed was during a thunderstorm. Her fear of the storms were stronger than her fear of hurting herself again, I guess. 

But I digress.  When Callie stopped jumping up on the bed, so did Shadow.  Shadow just wanted to be closer to her big sister than to me. (What an ego crusher!  Lol).  Now, granted it has been a long, hot summer; but we do have central air and it was on constantly until this past week…

Saturday morning, and again this morning, Shadow jumped  up on the bed and snuggled with me for about 30 minutes before deciding it was time to go outside for her morning “constitutional”.

But the best milestone of all – in my humble opinion at least – is that Shadow has been wagging her tail more often, more readily.  She is becoming her happy self again.  And she is play-bowing and play barking at Ducky again. She hadn’t  done that since Callie got sick.  

Lest I leave out Ducky’s milestones, she has been more like the lovable brat she was when Callie was healthy. For a while she had given Shadow a break.  Now, though, she’s giving Shadow the “stink eye”  again when she notices that Shadow has a toy she wants for herself.  And she started an argument with Shadow over an area of the back fence where a chipmunk or squirrel was hiding from Godonlyknows what. So Ducky has adapted to life without Callie fairly easily and quickly. But Ducky is, well, Ducky. She also has her friends at daycare to help her stay in the moment. 

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23 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Jan K says:

    It sounds like you are all healing, even if at different speeds, and I’m glad of that. The scars will always be there, but you are all carrying on as Callie would want you to. I do believe she is right there by Shadow’s side, and dogs can probably feel that even better than we humans do.

    • My Golden Life says:

      Thanks, Jan. I believe you’re right. One milestone I didn’t even think of until just now is that Shadow is beginning to show less discomfort when we have to leave her alone in the house.

      • Jan K says:

        That is so good. That is my biggest worry about having less than 3 dogs. At least with 3 you can usually leave 2 home together at most times. We very rarely leave one alone now.

  2. Patricia says:

    I agree that you are all beginning to accept and focus on present. I am so glad for the tail wags, Ducky’s feistiness, and that you are able to recall fun times with smile and laughter. Believe me, when your tears fill a pool, it is filling the same pool as mine, and the rest of ours. Just remember it’s okay. Deep breath, just like Shadow’s, and carry on!

  3. easyweimaraner says:

    It’s sadly true, it’s not easier just different… and like Shadow we can wagg with our tails a little more (hypothetically if we had one) and we can smile about some things and we can enjoy the good things a little more… but the pawprints this furkids left on our soul are furever…

  4. cocoabean2225 says:

    I lost my Daisy 2 1/2 years ago and there are days I still cry and not a day goes by without thinking about her. But I think I can remember her now and smile and the tears mean she was an amazing pup. I also thought I would have more time with her but she is not in any pain now and running around in Heaven loved and waiting for me. Callie will live in your hearts forever and it is so good Shadow is feeling better. It is a high price to pay but I wouldn’t change anything because there is nothing better than their love.

    • My Golden Life says:

      I feel better knowing we – the vet included – did all we could for Callie. She left her pawprints on all our hearts, just as Kissy did before her, and I know they are both smiling down on us.

  5. somethingwagging says:

    So happy to hear that your grief is transforming into a new form that gives room for happy memories. It is so hard.

    When Honey’s predecessor passed, I woke up every day and said out loud, “I miss Shadow.” I continued it for months–even after Honey came to live with us.

    How do these little fuzzy butts affect us so deeply?

    • My Golden Life says:

      Sam and I still say “I miss our girl” to each other at least once a day. But at least I can say it without dissolving every time. I think they affect us so deeply because their love is unconditional.

  6. Jodi says:

    I don’t think the pain every truly goes away, I think it lessens with time and we can once again start smiling at those memories. I’m sure it’s the same way for our puppies too.

  7. Sand Spring Chesapeakes says:

    Great milestones, baby steps will turn into big steps. It’s coming up on two years on the loss of my Norman and I still tear up! Some dogs just pull at your heart strings and never ever leave! Hugs and glad the dogs are happy and making you happy.

    • My Golden Life says:

      Thanks, JoAnn! My sweet Kissy – Callie’s predecessor (and my own first dog) – went to Heaven nearly 12 years ago and I still shed a tear or two over her at times. But, at least the memories make for more smiles than tears.

  8. Groovy Goldendoodles says:

    As someone told me last June when Leo passed – this was the beginning of my new normal. I chose not to rush it and let the tears come whenever they wanted through the smiles and chuckles. It still hurts, but I’m adjusting. Take your time, no need to rush into your new normal.

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