When I got the call that Sherman’s ashes were ready to be back up, I couldn’t get there fast enough.
I just wanted him back home.
As I pulled into the vet office I could feel my hands start to get sweaty.
I took a deep breath, stepped out of the car and told myself to keep it together.
The office was bustling and I squeezed through the people avoiding eye contact and walked up to the receptionist and told her I was there to pick up ashes.
She looked at me with sympathy and told me to step around to the other side and that she would go get Sherman.
After a few minutes, she walked around the counter with a bag and a pawprint.
My heart immediately sank and the tears started forming.
She carefully handed me the bag and ginmorous pawprint and then said her condolences.
I took a deep breath, grabbed the bag and pawprint and hurried up out the door.
When I got to the car I placed Sherman on the seat next to me and started sobbing.
I sat there for a good 15 minutes and just sobbed.
It was right then that reality set in.
I was never going to be able to physically touch and see him again.
It didn’t seem right that he was in that box.
The box seemed small.
Did he lose that much weight over the past few months?
Did they give me the remains of the right dog?
I eventually got myself together enough to begin the 30-minute drive home, the whole time keeping my right hand on the box and talking to Sherman.
When I got home I took the box and set in front of Leroy.
I think he knew because he gave it a good sniff and then rolled over for some belly rubs.
With past dogs, I normally carefully store their remains in my hope chest along with a few of their favorite things.
I’m not ready to put Sherman in there.
I need Sherman out in the open where I can see him and where he can watch over us.
I was reading a poem the other day called “Dogs Never Die, They Are Sleeping In Your Heart.”
Sherman is still very much alive in my heart and he will be forever.
I am having trouble with his death.
I’ve gone through the anger and now I’m on the sadness.
The sadness comes in waves, mostly when I go to say goodnight or when I wake up in the morning.
I still say good morning and goodnight to Sherman out loud.
I hear him barking sometimes and I’ve had nightmares every night since he’s been gone.
The only nightmare that I can remember is the first one and it was coyotes howling.
The was a pack howling in the distance and one howling outside my bedroom window.
In between howls, there was a soft voice calling, “Mama, Mama”
I woke up in a sweat and tears running down my face. No one in the house heard anything.
The other nightmares have just been odd, no rhyme or reason and kind of abstract in nature.
I’m sure there’s a reason, a connection or something going on with the universe and me, and I’m just hoping they stop soon.
I’ve felt the guilt too.
The day Sherman died I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
I worried about Sherman for so long. Was he in pain? Was he happy? Did he want to leave us but couldn’t let go? Was he suffering?
The day he died, all of that worry was lifted but the weight moved to my heart.
I feel guilty that I felt a sense of relief if even just for a moment.
Sherman’s feeding station, cooling mat and his toys remain in the same spot.
I’ve set up an area of memorial for him in the room we spent the most time together.
I’m o.k. though.
I’m not depressed, just grieving.
As I approach a new chapter in my life today, I’ll still be grieving the loss of Sherman.
The grief won’t stop when this chapter ends, it will roll into it.
If you’d like to share your grief, or things that happened when you were grieving with the loss of a pet, please feel free to share with me.
Knowing that I’m not alone is helpful in my process and perhaps it will be helpful in yours.