This post is from Debbie, who recently lost her dog, Gunner. Grief can be a paralyzing thing. It is said that misery loves company. I suppose that’s why group therapy is so successful. We can get together with other people who are in our same boat and console each other.
Dr Randolph, I just read the rest of your story about your Pearl and I found myself sitting here crying thinking about my battle with trying to get Gunner to eat while he was sick. We tried everything you could think of and the one thing he would still eat up till the end was baby food meat sticks, But one little jar of them for over a 100 lb dog you knew wasn’t enough to keep him going. I used to eat oatmeal every morning and Gunner would eat it with me then that stopped so I know the feeling of how it feels to think you found something they would eat only to have them reject it the next time you offer it to them. Reading your article was like hearing that I did ok in trying to give anything I could just to get something into him. My veterinarian even told me Gunner is tough since almost everything he told me to offer Gunner he turned down. Well for us it has been a month and were still not doing too well. Still way too many tears each day from my husband and myself. I hope you and your wife are doing well. We’re still telling each other were not ready for a new dog, but I almost think we need something for us to love. I will keep you posted. thanks for sharing your story, it was hard to read but it was also good to read. Thank you, Debbie.
After Hurricane Katrina Brenda really worried about me. We had 32 feet of water at our house, 8 feet of which got into the lower level and ruined nearly everything there. We would see someone in the soup line or ice line and they would ask how we were and I’d say, “We’re doing fine.”
“How bad was your damage?” was the standard question everyone asked everyone else.
“It wasn’t too bad,” I told most people.
She didn’t say anything to me about it for months, but one day Brenda asked, “Are you really that deep in denial?”
“Denial? What do you mean?”
“You go around laughing at all kinds of damage we have, you tell people our damage wasn’t too bad. I think you’re in denial about the disaster we’ve been through.”
“No, the boys and I mucked it all out, remember? I lost my entire woodworking shop and every electrical tool I had, along with many hand tools, remember? I personally hauled them to the street for FEMA to carry away, remember? After the boys left I scooped out the mud, power-washed the lower level and choked on the bleach fumes, remember?
“Here’s how I look at it: I still have a pulse, I woke up on Tuesday, August 30th. Hundreds of Mississippians didn’t. Many of those who did had no home to go back to. We do.
“As for the laughing, I have two choices: laugh or cry. If I don’t laugh at what we’ve been through I’ll go crazy (I probably should have said ‘crazier’), so I laugh every time I see something I can laugh at.”
It was that way with losing Pearl, too. After we thought she would certainly be gone in 24 hours, she lasted another ten weeks. As sad as that time was, there were so many fascinating, interesting and entertaining things that happened. In the course of her choosing what she would eat each day we found humor. Indeed, just yesterday I was laughing with a family friend, Wanda, about the powdered-sugar doughnuts she ate.
Sharing is a natural, human coping mechanism in the face of disaster. Many people have written to share how they have related to the story of Pearl’s passing.
Pearl would love that she could be a comfort.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.