Samantha (black Cocker spaniel) at 80 days old

Weekend Coffee Share | Sunday, 21 February

Thank you for joining me for coffee, this morning. The past few weeks have been disorienting, and many adjustments are being made. I’ve been quite ill, although recovering, now, and a little more than a week ago, my husband also came down with a severe head and chest cold.

In the midst of it all, sometime on Thursday or Friday, our dog Samantha contracted an infection. We took her to the vet, who spoke with us about options and outcomes. We stayed that evening while she was under sedation for her exam, and then the vet administered a shot to end her life.

Samantha (black Cocker spaniel) at 80 days old
The First Week in her new Home

Our previous Cockers had lived to 15 and 14 years. Losing Samantha before her eighth birthday came as a shock to us. When Al and I got married, though, he had a buff Cocker spaniel named Brandy, who died at age eight or nine.

watermelon, hazel nuts, sushi, carrot and celery sticks, yogurt, milk and pulled beef
Breakfast

There has been much grief in our families in recent years due to family illness and death. One of my coping mechanisms in the past was eating. Not to kill the pain, exactly, but to keep busy. Filling the time until the intensity of grief faded. Mindfulness in living has been helpful. Taking deliberate care in selecting groceries and preparing meals helps me to focus on doing, accomplishing what needs to be done and engaging in activities that bring us together. Staying healthy makes life easier. I’m also recovered enough that on Tuesday and Thursday (for the first time since April, I think) I got on the exercise bike and put in three miles each day. I am starting out with three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

What I am discovering this time around is that the attention to activities is slowing down my thinking and also bringing mental and emotional processing to the forefront of my mind. Mourning: Al and I had already planned that when Samantha died, we would look for two young dogs to bring home. I remind myself that just as Samantha was not my dog Ladd (1993-2008) or Al’s Rascal, who died at the end of 2012, the new dogs will not be Samantha. They will not be replacements, but new and individual. Just as I and my siblings were/are unique, even though we came out of the same family. There is loss, there’s grief, but there is also an openness and adjustment to the new relationships and bonding.

For the time being, we are leaving the clean, empty wire kennel in the living room, conspicuously empty, so that we will remember that Samantha is not here anymore. In two weeks or so, we will collect the urn containing her ashes and put them with the other urns in memory. And remember her with joy, as we do other family members as the pain fades.

I would tell you, today, that it is good, not going through loss by oneself.

I hope that the coming week will be a joy to you as our lives and yours continue to unfold.

Lizl

For more Weekend Coffee Share links and posts, visit Diana at Part-Time Monster.

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share | Sunday, 21 February

  1. So sorry to hear about Samantha. I had two cocker spaniels when I was young, and they were both wonderful, quirky little dogs. Sending you lots of pleasant thoughts as you recover from being sick and from the loss of Samantha. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This morning I enjoyed with you French Roast coffee with half-and-half and Splenda. I had a bagel, unusual for me. I like bagels. I simply don’t keep them around. This one was sesame.

    The photo of young Sam is entirely endearing. No, the next dogs won’t be Sam. But you keep two communities, human and canine. They grow and condense some, evolve, and grow again. You keep these communities going.

    Here, we had more snow this week, then freezing rain. Much of the slippery part is gone, now. I’m thankful for that.

    I hope you have a week of remembrances and new blessings.

    Like

    • Thanks! I saved my muffin (chocolate chip) to eat after my evening meal. I’ve now switched to tea, but I had half-and-half in my first cup of coffee, this morning, also. What is it with this weather? We’ve lost most of the snow cover around here. At least between our house and the grocery store, which is about all the traveling I’ve done the past couple of days. We’re looking for more snow here through Wednesday night, off and on, but with highs in the 30s.

      Sam was quite photogenic but not fond of having her picture taken. She would spend many hours curled up on my lap or Al’s and was pleased with being cosseted. I do shudder to think of going through puppy/dog obedience classes again. This time, now that Al and I are retired, it might be nice to get some simple props and do some agility games with the dogs in addition to obedience training. I understand that when bringing two puppies into the home at the same time, they should be trained separately. We will now have time.

      My previous dog, Ladd, was a professorial type. He would toss his rubber ball down the stairs, carefully bring it back up, and toss and watch it bounce down the stairs again. Then he started catching the ball in his mouth when I bounced it to him, and finally he started tossing it back to me when he caught it with a twisting of his neck. He got quite good at that. He was an interesting dog to share space with. 🙂

      I appreciate your presence.

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