We have two labs, 11 and 14. The 11-year-old lab, Butter, passed away almost three weeks ago. There are still days when I don’t want to get out of bed or do much of anything, but I have to manage those urges to check out and dwell in my sadness. For my sake, but more for the e 14-year-old lab, Mari.
She was terribly confused the first two weeks. We’d go our walk, and she’d walk slower, stopping very now and then to look down the street. She’d stop at the corner of the park where all the streets and paths Butter would walk down and wait. The waiting is the saddest part because it was standing vigil. I know her old legs can’t stand for too long, but she’d wait. There are lots of stories about the loyalty and love that pets show their owner and companions – they grieve too.
So, as sad as it was to see her looking and searching for Butter, it was good that she had some motivation for going out. She has become accustomed to the absence now, and we worry about keeping her motivated and interested in life. Her age has slowed her down, her hearing is going and her eye sight isn’t very good, buy we try to keep her mentally engaged in her day-to-day activities.
Taking care of her keeps both of us moving beyond our sadness, but I know that the sadness will return tenfold she too leaves. However, I try not to think about it because time spent worrying about the future is time not spent on cherishing the present moments.
Shed no tear – O, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more – O, weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root’s white core.
– John Keats