Pet Loss and The Anniversary Effect

Tuesday, June 17, marked 6 months since we lost Lilly. It’s a rough week for other reasons as well. Another dog writer friend of mine calls it “The Anniversary Effect.”

Why so hard? Well, this week includes these watershed moments:

6-month anniversary of losing Lilly 

best dog blog champion of my heart border collie with a stick

Lilly with her favorite stick (April 2008)

1-year anniversary of losing my mom

best dog blog lilly and grandma

Lilly sometimes went with me to visit my mom.

Official sale of Tom’s childhood home (just over 2 years since we lost his mom)

Tom's family moved to this Victorian Era farmhouse in the late 1960s.

Tom’s family moved to this Victorian Era farmhouse in the late 1960s.

That’s a lot to absorb on top of the day-to-day grief that remains worse than you probably can imagine.

Still, all of us here are hanging in there:

Roxanne News: I’m starting to take on more work again, after a self-imposed lite period. I’m also walking / hiking most days and sitting outside while I eat my lunch and read. (After 5 years of not really being able to concentrate enough to read whole books, I can suddenly read again. Not heavy stuff, but at least I’m reading.)

Book News: I’m more than 17,000 words into writing the first book based on Lilly’s life. I still need to add ideas all of you have offered for dealing with grief into several sections, and I still need to research and write the appendixes, but I’m making steady progress.

Tom News: Tom will be relieved not to be taking care of TWO houses anymore. While it’s a big transition not to have his childhood home in his life, he is excited to see a new family (with 2 young kids and a young boxer) take it into the future. Tom took care of his mom every day for the last 2 1/2 years of her life, and he has been busy settling her estate since May 2012. It’ll be good for him to get back to HIS life again. (I’ll be glad to have him home … now, if I can just get him to RELAX!)

Ginko News: Ginko is mostly steady, but we are seeing signs that his neurological and senility issues are progressing. There’s the senile barking, of course. Waking up early (like 4:30 am) and barking until BOTH Tom and I get up for the day. And, barking in the late afternoon, until Tom comes home. Ginko is also having more frequent poop accidents, like he just doesn’t realize he needs to go, until it’s too late. He sees our regular veterinarian every 3 months now. He is due to see her again in July. BUT, he is happy and engaged. He turned 14 on May 13. That’s pretty old for a big dog, so he does sleep a lot, but he is very happy to see us … and he even likes to play a little and poke around outside.

So, the answer to the big question — How are you? is that we’re still grieving heavily, but we continue to function the best we can in real life.

I’m still trying to figure out the future of the blog. I’m considering posting just once a week for a while — a mixture of dog book reviews, updates about our lives, commenting on dog news, and discussing / debating hot topics.

We’ll see. I take it day by day, minute by minute.

Thanks, as always, for your interest and concern.

 

14 thoughts on “Pet Loss and The Anniversary Effect

  1. August 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Roxanne. I just found your blog today and I was saddened to read about the loss of Lilly and your mom and the pain you have experienced. Healing from the loss of a loved one takes a lot of time. I have a blog post on my website which may help you entitled Resources For Coping With The Loss Of A Pet. Here is the link:

    http://rachelebaker.com/resources-for-coping-with-the-loss-of-a-pet/

    I lost my mom to cancer about twenty years ago. It still hurts and I still miss her.

    I hope that you will find happiness and joy going forward with your life.
    Rachele Baker, DVM recently posted..Tuesday True Tails: A Love Story Starring Jack and ZeldaMy Profile

    1. August 24, 2014 at 7:20 am

      Thanks, Rachele. It’s still tough going, but we remain upright.

  2. June 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Sending you some extra hugs – I’ve found the anniversary effect never quite goes away. I have experienced it with the anniversary of my mom’s passing, and now I’m experiencing it with the loss of Bella. First one week, then a month… each one brings a new pang.
    Pup Fan recently posted..Caption this dog: Sleep it offMy Profile

  3. Susan
    June 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I think that once we realize that the anniversary effect exists, that effect packs a weaker punch.

    Glad to read how you’re doing.

  4. June 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    You’re amazing. I wish I would have discovered your blog sooner. I hope you do keep it up, in whatever form that may be. I look forward to receiving your posts in my e-mail.

    Casey, my guardian angel/soul mate dog, went to The Bridge 9/5/13. You and I didn’t know of each other yet. I will pass on one of Casey’s messages to me, in case you need to hear it.

    When I asked him how I could best honor him, he said, “Love yourself.” It took me 52 years to finally grasp that message, and it took “just a dog,” as some would say, to hit me upside the head with it.

  5. June 19, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Thank you for the update–I’m glad you’re making progress, but the anniversaries are difficult, every day. You have a realistic attitude, and I’m glad you’re writing your book and hopefully, keeping this blog no matter what changes it takes.

  6. June 19, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Those anniversaries are hard. Man, that’s a lot to deal with. Glad you are starting to do a little better. The grief never fully goes away. (Just yesterday I was crying about Abby and she’s been gone almost 18 months…) But it gets more … manageable I guess is the word.

    Oh, sweet Ginko. Wow – 14! That’s a great age! Go Ginko!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted..Go Wild This Summer with BookBub’s Best: 5 Book #Giveaway!My Profile

  7. June 19, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I’m thinking about you on this anniversary. The first year is the hardest – all these “firsts” without your sweet Lilly. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Ingrid King recently posted..Why Do Cats Groom Each Other?My Profile

  8. June 19, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Rox, It’s good to hear the progress you’re making. Life moves on, and sometimes we can’t keep up with its pace. But at least you’re taking bigger and bigger steps each day.

  9. June 19, 2014 at 4:02 am

    A list like that makes me swallow twice and leaves me speechless. It is a blessing in disguise I am an expert in forgetting anniversaries …
    But I am glad to hear some positive things are happening for you and Tom.
    Sending continued hugs.

  10. June 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    So much for you to process. Wishing you peace as you hold these losses in your heart.

    I lost two of my dogs in October, two years apart. I never think of Halloween without remembering our last days together. And it’s been 6 and 8 years!
    Pamela recently posted..Words Only Dog People KnowMy Profile

  11. June 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    It’s nice as always to hear how you are doing and I’m glad to hear things have settled down and you are healing.
    Brette recently posted..SortingMy Profile

  12. June 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    So good to hear an update. I understand how crippling the grief can be. Monday marked the 2 year anniversary of losing Sebastian. I was surprised that the day wasn’t as bad as I was expecting (maybe I’m burnt out emotionally because of my dad’s health status). Just a bit of longing for what used to be. I hope you reach that point, too.
    Amy Palmer recently posted..Cat Quotables-Egyptian GodsMy Profile

  13. RACHEL
    June 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Baby steps, baby steps. You’re making progress. I can see this from afar.