Anticipatory Grief

Now that we have decided to hold off on having our little doggie, Scottie, put to sleep, I am finding that I am struggling with extended grief, anticipatory grief.

When the date was set for yesterday and we spent the weekend with him, doing special things for him, it was some of the worst pain of my life; the pain and the sadness of knowing those were his last days overwhelmed us. But at the same time, with a date set, even through the pain I was finding acceptance. Now? Now I am feeling something even worse I think.

I am so happy that we cancelled the appointment and that he seems to be doing okay, although not great. He is still eating and drinking water, and playing at times. He doesn’t seem to be in any pain and hasn’t yet had another seizure but he has tremors that come often and we know another seizure will eventually come. Now, not knowing when, after I had already started to find acceptance which is now gone, now I feel a sadness that is even deeper. The grief seems more profound as I watch him, and hold him, with no real clue as to when the day will come when he passes on his own or when we have to take him in to the vet.

I know I would be devastated right now if we had kept the appointment and Scottie was gone, the tears would be harsh and never-ending for a while. But then life would go on as acceptance and healing set in.  But still having him and knowing he probably doesn’t have a ton of time left, I am stuck in that sadness and grief every day. And it’s not that I wish we had kept the appointment – it’s that I don’t know what to do with all this emotion that will continue indefinitely now. We have been home with him the last couple days but we both have to go back to work on Thursday and Scottie will be alone for half the days. I worry so at that thought and what could happen when we are not there.

When my father was in a coma and on a ventilator and we set the date for removing him from life support, it was different. He was in a coma, he couldn’t look at me. (It also helped that I was suppressing all emotion at the time). But with little Scottie, he looks at me, he lays in my arms where I can not only see but feel the tremors, and it breaks my heart over and over again. I feel like I am in a constant state of grief. My husband has noticed and I am trying to at least have a calmer exterior, but inside…

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9 thoughts on “Anticipatory Grief

  1. I’m so sorry about your father, and your dog. I’ve never lost a parent, but I know how hard it is losing a dog. That pain can go so deep, and I’m so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dear friend, I’d like to extend a hand and tell you; go to a quiet place unload yourself and have a good cry, it will be a good release and after get your music, listen and realize that life is always going to be better than it seems.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so very much. That’s a pretty good idea actually. I just haven’t had any time alone, but tomorrow I will. I am so good at swallowing emotions and i have been trying to let myself feel lately, sometimes successful, sometimes not. But I will keep trying…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand completely. I went through this with my wife having cancer, and even afterwards she was having severe health problems. I was always afraid she would die. She is doing well now though. Peace to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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