Grief, Loss, & Healing

I mentioned in previous posts that last month, my beautiful sweet fur baby, Koko died of old age. She was fourteen years old and my family had her for twelve years. It is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced. The fact that she was old and lived a full dog life with us brings me a sense of consolation but my grief was / is still so very strong.   It hurts. So deeply. She was a significant part of me. 

She slept with me and on my chest so many nights. I carried her around and loved and hugged and kissed her. I had her since I was a fourteen year old girl until I became a 26 year old woman.   It’s unbelievable that she’s gone.
I got her in high school and she was there at every stage of this life of mine.   When I struggled with depression, hospitalizations, graduations, loneliness, new people, college, just everything.

I can’t believe I’ll never hold her again.

Some moments that fact hits me so hard so deep. It cuts me. And it hurts. How can my sweet, sweet beautiful Koko be gone? Forever!? It’s incomprehensible.   It’s astounding.   I can’t believe it.

I can’t. It’s too sad. She was my baby. For about three weeks after Koko died, my grief was the number one thing I felt over anything.   I have a generally happy life so underneath my grief I felt happiness but it was drowned out by the grief. I could hardly laugh or joke and be my lighthearted self for weeks. Finally, my zest for life returned and my grief took the back burner and my happiness returned to the top again with some occasions my grief becoming strong again.

But generally, my happiness was at the front. I know grief heals but never ever goes away. The edge usually goes away in general and that raw pain like in the beginning doesn’t take over in general anymore. For many people, the raw pain may make an appearance through the years every now and then.   Maybe triggered by something or maybe just coming out of nowhere. But it’s no longer a constant after healing begins.

The raw pain of the loss of my sweet girl came back about a week ago.   I expected it would at some point. And I expected it would go again. For the last week I have been struggling hard with it. I miss my Koko and I want so badly to hold her close and kiss that sweet head again. She kissed Soooo much! She loved to kiss.

I have so many, many pictures of her and I am incredibly thankful for that even though it hurts to see them. I can see her so clearly in my memories.

I want my grief to continue healing but I don’t want it to ever go, as painful as it is. It is an indication of true love & blessing. 

It’s hard because not everyone understands the severe agony of pet loss so I cannot express my pain to everyone. Many, many people believe it’s just sad when a pet dies but not a “Real” or serious loss. People can think, feel what they will. But this is a big, and horrible loss for me.

I am angry. And I have been feeling as if I’m acting like a spoiled little ungrateful brat focusing on what I don’t have instead of what I do.

But I know that’s not true.   Grieving is ok.

Today I woke up with my heart pounding at the thought that I will never see my girl again. Not ever.

So I have to accept it. I have to. For me.

It’s not easy. But it just is. 

Shortly after Koko died, I saw a sign hanging up that said pomeranian puppies for sale. A family had a litter of puppies that their dogs unexpectedly had and they had to find homes.

We had three other dogs already and were not looking for another. My mom had to go to a check cashing place. I complained. I usually go everywhere with my mom and did not want to go but she had to so we went. I walked in the door with a heavy heart. So broken and heavy.

I stood there trying to keep my grief at bay. I looked up across the room for no reason and there was that sign!

I couldn’t believe it! Koko was part pomeranian!! And no dog can ever replace her and make it ok that she’s gone even if I love that dog just as much but I wanted to give one of those babies a home.

My mom told me to copy the info. But she said my dad probably would not allow us to get one of those pom poms because my dad doesn’t like to have more than a few pets and we already had some.

But I copied it and when he came home after work i told him about the sign. He wasn’t as thrilled as we were but surprisingly to us it wasn’t completely out of the question either. I’m very, very shy even on the phone and I rarely make phone calls to people I don’t know or know well.   Even as an adult I used to have my mom make my phone calls for me for things like therapists and stuff.

My dad told me to call the family selling those pups. Like I said before, these are not puppy mill or pet shop pups and I don’t support puppy mills and the atrocities and horror those places are full of. This is just a family with a litter of pups their dogs had.

Some how I mustered up the courage to call! And the lady told me there was one boy left! One boy waiting for his loving forever home!

I have never lived a day of my life without a pet and never will.   In my family we never ever give pets away. No matter what. No matter how bad they are. Lol! 🙂

And I  love them like people.   So I knew that boy would have a loving furever home with us.

He was the last pup just waiting. They had him in a playpen and he was standing up wagging his little  tail and was so so happy to see us. He smothered me with kisses when I held him. Just like Koko used to.  And he has Koko’s face! But certainly not her personality!   She was calm and gentle and reserved.

This little boy is a terror! He’s wild and energetic and gets into everything he can get his little paws on!

He wasn’t afraid or anxious coming with us. I am so thankful that it was him there who we got to bring home. We had him for a little bit over a month and I can’t imagine not having him.

He is absolutely perfect.   I love how it’s like honoring Koko. He’s the same breed but full breaded and he’s like her life’s gift to us. I would never ever have wanted Koko to go away just to get another new dog. I wanted to hold on to her forever.   But I couldn’t and with this horrible situation we have him. This perfect five month old little pup.

Even my dad, who was reluctant at first and likes to be in control of everything is happy we got him and he calls him his son! Lol

His name is Emmy.  And everyone loves him. Even the other dogs.   Boobie who was Koko ‘s best friend in the world and was heart broken to lose Koko did not like Emmy at first. She avoided him like the plague. Now she loves him and plays with him the most! Koko did not usually play, she just snuggled.   Boobie is ten years old and all she does is play with five month old Emmy! He brought out her playful side.

Sometimes at night when I’m grieving so hard over my loss, I look next to me and see sweet little Emmy sleeping and I am overcome with gratitude and joy. It doesn’t take away my severe pain but it does ease it somewhat to know something good has come of this agonizing circumstance. 

Yesterday Emmy ripped my nose ring out! It has been pierced for about nine years and was never out! But yesterday morning when I was half sleeping it looked like a great plaything and he leapt up and ripped it out! It was bleeding! It needs special equipment to get it on and off but somehow he got the ball off and it flared up my pain disorder so bad. So my pain has been quite excruciating!   Tomorrow I have to go to the piercing place and get it put back in.

I love that sweet boy.

My mom, dad, and sister believe in signs and that things were /are “Meant to Be.”. I do not believe that.  They believe Emmy is “God’s ” gift or that Koko sent him to us. I don’t believe in anything of that sort but I love the way it all worked out.

I wanted to write something for myself to express my pain inside but also to let people know or remind people of the blessings all around, even in horrific situations. There’s always something good. It’s ok to grieve how you must as long as it takes.

I have lost animals my whole life because I have always had them and it’s always sad. But as a teenager and younger I did not feel negative or painful emotions as strongly as when I grew up.

Another sad loss I have experienced two years ago this month is the loss of a human friend, John. I never hung out with him but I saw him frequently and I love/d him as a friend. He died of an illness of the liver. It was shocking and devastating and still is sometimes. It is also one of the worst kinds of pain I ever had to endure.  But I let myself grieve and heal.

I am blessed with happy, loving, & funny memories of him.

He was a friendly, funny, and very loving man. And I am blessed to have known him.

One song that helped me cope with his death is: “Return to Innocence” by Enigma.

“Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence
If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don’t hide”

Shortly after he died I felt guilty for still feeling pleasure in things but I know I can’t stop living just because others have died. I am still here and I must go on.

My heart goes out to anyone who is grieving for any reason whether your loss is recent or many, years ago.   I hope you soon find the strength, hope, and consolation you need.

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Sweet Koko. April 1999 – April 2013

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Sweet little Emmy.

Xox0 Kim

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2 thoughts on “Grief, Loss, & Healing

  1. Koko and Emmy were and are both beautiful. I wish everyone could know the love of a pet. My boyfriend’s mum isn’t an animal person, and can’t understand our attachment to our animals… But even though they make messes, are noisy and bite, and will inevitably leave us one day, they bring such joy and peace into our lives. Your Koko sounds like she had a wonderful life. Like you said, to continue grieving means that she truly meant something – and nothing can compare to that.

    • Thank You so much for your wonderful comment! I truly appreciate it. Yeah, although having pets can be challenging sometimes and they cause some unwanted things, it is very worth it. They bring so much love & joy all around. I also wish everyone can experience that kind of love. <3. Thank You so much, yeah, Koko did have a beautiful life with me and I am so thankful. I am very happy to receive your message and know someone else loves animals like I do. ❤

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