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Loss, Grief, and the new Beginning

It's been a month since the dearest dog of them all, Pyni, passed away.

Pyni got sick around mid-August. First, it started with her refusal to eat, which is something this famously hungry dog never did. The illness continued and she was nauseous and in pain. We had a few good days here and there when Pyni was eating treats and the pain relief was helping, but at the age of 14.5, it was clear that the day we need to let her go is approaching... And when the vet told that even the best treatment would only buy Pyni a couple of good days - the awful but even more important decision was made.

We focused on enjoying the last moments together with Pyni as well as we could. I am pretty proud of myself for really making an effort to actually enjoy those moments with Pyni instead of just worrying and crying. We snuggled, we napped, we took extremely slow walks, and spent time trying to find snacks Pyni would still eat. My dear friends and sister came by to say their farewells. Pyni even finally got a McDonald's cheeseburger, which was something she had always begged for and I had promised to give her before she goes. All this was extremely sad yet somehow so beautiful.

When it was Pyni's time to go, the procedure itself was as serene as it can be. The vet was able to visit us at home so Pyni could lay calmly on her own spot while falling asleep. She was always afraid of the vet's office so sparing her from any stress at her final moments was significant. This is the little altar I made.

When she had gone it was time to deal with the irrevocability of it all. Grief took over me. The sadness which had been in the air already before her passing was accompanied by a mixture of fear, panic, desperation, pity and gratitude of the time spent together with Pyni. To my own surprise and to the surprise of all my close friends, I was drawn towards people to help me deal with the loss. Honestly, everybody (me included) had predicted already years before Pyni's passing that when the day comes that Pyni needs to go, I would isolate and probably fall into some catatonic state because of the grief. But no - somehow I was drawn to do the exact opposite: seeing people and other dogs, talking about Pyni, looking at pictures and videos of her...

For me, it was helpful to really dive into the deep end with the sorrow. Just wallow in it... Really meditating on the feelings which came up and how did they affect the physical body. I also posted on social media about the loss of the dearest and found great comfort in the kind words of others. Before this, I've never known how much somebody's condolences can really help. I had a faulty impression that condolences on someone's loss are just hollow words - but you can truly feel the love radiating from the people who sent them. Super grateful!

Moreover, I talked about my feelings to my friends and journaled daily to just let it all out. Here are some extracts from the journal:

"I know she is in a better place but somehow seeing her lifeless body was pretty brutal. I just want her to be happy and safe but im scared maybe she misses me wherever she is. I think she is still around here in energy but dunno im so scared she is sent to some kind of heaven or something and she is lonely there without her people and dont know how to make friends. Im scared she needs me and i cant be there for her. I miss her so much already and i just dont know how im supposed to act now. It is so unimaginable to just continue living without her. She was my life."

"My feelings go all over the place. Sometimes i can really feel the gratitude for the time spent together. Sometimes the grief takes over. Sometimes i feel pity for myself. Sometimes i fear for pynis wellbeing. Sometimes im mad at the world. Sometimes i feel guilty."

"Today i have been mostly feeling calm. The ladybug yesterday truly helped me to get the peace of mind that pyni is safe and doing well. I have been watching the video rolf made about pyni like ten times and each time it makes me cry a bit less and smile a bit more."

"I had said before this happened that we will miss pynis begging and food stealing one day - and now i would give everything to have her misbehaving again…"

It's clear to see that my thought have been all over the place - and they still are. But being merciful and compassionate to myself has been a huge relief. Just letting them tears roll out. As Clarissa Pinkola Estés says "But it is her soul that is making tears, and they are her protection. So she must keep on till the time of need is over. Some women marvel at all water their bodies can produce when they weep. This will not last forever, only till the soul is done with its wise expression." And oh, how much have I been weeping... But it helps 🖤

Pyni's death got me all more into the supernatural/spiritual side of the world. Right after she left, I started praying for a sign from her that she is all okay. And she sent it. There was a ladybug bringing news of happiness and a butterfly announcing rebirth and reincarnation. And yes, old me would have disregarded these signs completely or noticed them as mere coincidences, but this time those bugs carried a very special meaning. Just gotta have a little faith :)

When I started feeling better, it was time to kind of reorganize and revalue everything. I had been staying in my hometown in Finland because of Pyni being too old for traveling. Now as she had passed, there was no real reason for me to stay anymore. Like don't get me wrong, having the family close by especially during tough times is eeeextremely important and in general I enjoyed being back home for the past year. But yeah it was never my intention to stay forever, so I packed by bags, and landed to Croatia. The plan is to stay abroad with Rolf at least till Christmas. So far the change of scenery has felt refreshing and good :)

Yet I don't think I am hiding from the grief nor trying to avoid it in any way. Pyni was always open to express the full range of feelings - so I'll remember to keep up that too. And of course, I and everybody who ever loved Pyni and all her peculiarities will always remember her legacy: just be you - and the right people will love you no matter what.

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