The Loss of Routines… And a Pet
By Laurie Carter, Communication Director - October 16, 2021
We said goodbye to our sweet Frizbee last week. She was a Schnoodle who arrived on a plane from Minnesota 18 and a half years ago. She was Ryan’s best buddy and my shadow. The tears are still flowing and our hearts are broken. After so many years and then her declining health, you know it’s coming, but it doesn’t make the loss any easier, but a loss I hadn’t anticipated has also enveloped me…the loss of routines.
I lost most of my family before I was 30, but I hadn’t lived with them in many years. I had a home that provided a sanctuary from my grief. There weren’t reminders everywhere I turned. While I loved my family dearly, they weren’t part of my daily life…my routines. Frizbee is different. She is everywhere. From the moment I wake up until I lay my head down again, she is there. She wakes me up by shaking herself loudly. She gets her treat/pills before I get my coffee. I grab a seat cushion for her to lay on while I read the paper on the patio... the urgency I feel to finish that coffee to take her for a walk…gone.
Working from home for the last year and a half enabled us to be inseparable, so she had a bed in almost every room. She spent her days near me in the study. I routinely woke her up if I was leaving a room for any length of time so she could follow me to the next room. Her beds are still there, but there are no jangling tags, and I miss them.
I’ve thought a lot about grief and the loss we feel from routines that are no more. I now have an inkling of empathy for those who have lost a loved one who lived with them and the void they now have in the loss of daily routines that shape our days… routines that now offer up pain and sadness every time they rear their ugly heads. I even used her name in passwords (I’m thinking that might have been a poor life choice, but I don’t think I had passwords before we had Frizbee.).
I will create new routines and time will dry my tears. I will focus on wonderful memories and browse through a million pictures taken over the last 18 years…just not yet. Today, I am grateful for the neighbors who come out to greet me on my walks offering heartfelt comfort as word spreads. Our family is comforted by the texts and calls from friends, and I thank God for a faith community surrounding us.
Days will become weeks and weeks, months, but like so many of us, I will stumble on reminders and routines that become memories, and the emptiness I feel for my little friend will return and tears will fill my eyes. Today, I thank God for the gift of pets who enrich our lives and make us laugh…and cry. I will lock the front door at dusk tonight and not wait to do it when I take her out before bedtime. I will not look for her at the front window standing on two legs trying to see me when the garage door opens. I will create new routines…just not yet.
The vet gave Frizbee a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles and whipped cream on top. The mom in me almost blurted out that dogs can’t have chocolate! Thankfully, I caught myself before the stupidity of my statement fell from my mouth! She loved it and ate about half …she weighed 8 pounds and it was a big cupcake! There was whipped cream on the end of her nose that I almost wiped away but didn’t. Would that we all die with whipped cream on our nose!
Surrounded by her family sharing unbridled love and gentle stroking, she slipped away into the loving arms of God…well done good and faithful servant…we will miss you, Sweet Girl.