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Colleen Conway's blog

how does one swim with sorrow?

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Today I am suppoesed to be happy. I turned 28. I have practice tonight. And this weekend, my first swim meet since getting back in the pool two months ago. But I am absolutley heart broken.

Yesterday I had to do something I always thought was so wrong in logic, put down my bestfriend who I have loved more than anything in the world for the past 7 years, my pug Ernie.

Ernie is/was not just a dog. He literally seemed human, with his huge eyes and facial expressions, his extremely naughty behavior, he got away with murder. I bought him as a junior in college in California, kept him in the dorm as contraband until my roomie and I moved off, and he was with me through lawschool in Rhode Island, and with my family in NJ where he would run around in the backyard with the other dog. On my wedding day he was dressed in his own little tux and top hat and was stepping all over the back of my train while I yelled for someone to put him in another room lol. He just recently made it to my husband and I's first and new home, but he wasnt himself, because he was sick. Ernie had bowel disease or cancer, the vet said that basically more tests would be futile and either way it would be chemotheraphy, suffering death and somehow by bringing my crying baby daughter with me, and crying my eyes out to the vet, they perscribed steriods that gave him what seemed like a LAzarus new start, for two months until this past week when they stopped working....he stopped eating...and he was basically starving to death and losing control of his bowels. So yesterday, while at my parents house, because I took him home so he can be where there were lots of people who loved him, I knew it was beyond time to end his suffering.

After losing control a few times he walked up to me, and I asked him if he wanted to go outside which he hasnt done in a few weeks and I did. He was sitting outside, and seemingly enjoying the fall day. And after ten minutes or so I had to go pick him up and take him to put him down. At the vet, I held him in my arms, told him I loved him soooooo much, he was such a good boy. The vet told me he would release the barbituate and within seconds ernie had died. I got this random warm feeling of intense love to the right of me, which must have been Ernie's spirit thanking me for putting him out of his misery... I buried him in our backyard in a special box with memories written all over it, with love, the pjs I had worn recently, and his first toy ever, a curly tailed racoon, literally, a toy from where I bought him that they threw in for free because when they used to let him around and run loose in the store he used to always steal it off the wall, by his head. And he is in a spot right by our outside slate porch and a rose bush, so our family and other dog will always be around him.

Cried the whole day yesterday. And I dont think of myself as a cry baby. Its just coming out, streaming. I just will miss him so much. I had to come back to my own home, so my husband and I drove back with our daughter and when we pull up to our driveway to our home which is an hour 30 away from my parents, in the dark, the only light that is turned on, is this huge stained glass angel display in the front top window space of our house that we have never turned on since being here for two months. My husbands like "omg thats so weird" and I was just sort of like I guess that means everythings ok. Even though it may be an amazing sign, I will still miss Ernie so much. Waking up today and knowing it was my birthday, and he wasnt there to let out first thing in the morning, and his sleep pillow is just there empty in the kitchen is heart breaking. I loved him so much.

How will I get in the pool tonight, how could I ever swim? How does one swim through grief? I dont know. I guess only time will hopefully help things.

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  1. ekw's Avatar
    I am so incredibly sorry. My dog, Beckett, is incredibly dear to me and has been since I adopted him 4.5 years ago. I've lost pets before, though never had to put one down, and it's heart-rending.

    I think trying to swim tonight is a good idea, but be gentle with yourself. If you can't get through the workout, stop. You have suffered a real loss. Do what you need to do. That may mean postponing your birthday happiness. There's nothing wrong with that.
  2. Colleen Marais's Avatar
    Thanks ekw i really appreciate your thoughts
  3. mcnair's Avatar
    I'm sorry for your loss too. At this point you swim not for any other reason than to feel alive, to celebrate Ernie in your thoughts while you swim through the stress of a life change like this. Having experienced great loss myself a couple of years ago, I found that movement, breath, prayer was sometimes the only thing I could manage to do.
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Me too. We have two elderly pugs who have developed pancreatitis over the past week. We thought they. Might die this weekend but they've made s little progress. Still I know I shall. Soon enough be back joining you in the world of pug bereavement.