Losing a pet can be hard, especially when you grew up with them.
Grief is one of the hardest emotions to define. It’s normal to wonder if your way of grieving is normal, even though people always say everyone’s experiences are different.
Two weeks ago, on a Wednesday afternoon, I had just left my final class of the day. I had arrived back at my apartment and was planning on spending the rest of my day grocery shopping and doing homework.
Those plans quickly changed when I got an ominous text from my dad asking if he could call me, which was especially unusual for him.
Immediately, I thought about my dog, Sidney. And somehow, I just knew. I knew before I finished reading my dad’s text. I knew before dialing his number. I knew before he could get even one word out.
She was gone.
Sidney had been sick for over a year, so I knew her life would soon be coming to an end. Even though I was prepared, the grief didn’t fully hit me until I was crying on the phone with my dad, hearing the worst words come out of his mouth.
To put it simply, it sucked and still sucks
That day, I texted all of my friends to let them know what was happening.
For the rest of the day, I felt off. I wanted to be alone, but I knew it wouldn’t be healthy to stay inside my apartment all day. So, I popped on some sunglasses, grabbed my coloring book and markers, and headed for campus. Luckily enough, I stumbled upon an ice cream truck while walking, so I grabbed a cone and took some time to indulge and reflect.
Every day for the past year or so, my dad would text me a series of silly emojis, letting me know he had just taken Sidney on their daily walk. Those messages were sometimes the highlight of my day.
Sidney had been one of the only constants in a life that was full of change. We grew up together, spent 13 years together, and I still find it hard to think about that time being over for us.
The days after her death were weird, too. My dad’s birthday was later that week, and even though I was glad to see my family, the house felt so empty. Sidney’s bed was still next to the couch where she and my dad would always watch TV together. When I went into the kitchen, I even noticed her water bowl was still filled.
When I was home, we didn’t really talk about Sidney. It was too much for everyone to handle, especially me and my dad. Still, I knew we were in it together. Spending time with my family again, even just for a short time, helped me so much. I knew that with time, we would all be okay.
As I’m writing this, it’s been a little over two weeks since I lost Sidney. I’m still in the very early stages of grieving. Part of my healing process has been talking to friends and bonding over memories of our dogs.
My friends have been great, but I also have made sure to take time for myself when I need to. If I’m feeling sad, I embrace it. I take time to respect my physical and mental wellbeing, allowing myself to get back on the bathroom floor to cry it out.
And I don’t forget the happy times. I’ll always miss cuddling with her in her bed and going on walks around the block. I’ll miss the rainy days when we stayed in and listened to jazz music to keep calm, and even though it might hurt to look back on, remembering those moments is so important.
While the happy times with my pup may have ended, the memories help me get through every moment of missing her.