Grieve In Your Own Way

A grieving process is a very personal one, everyone goes through it in their own way at some point. No one has the authority to judge you or preach to you about how long it will take and how it should be done.

It is tempting but never compare yourself with others.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve and there is no timetable, no time frame to stick to, you just take whatever it takes and as long as it takes.

I remember one night when I was lying in bed next to my dog Jamie, I asked him: Hey, Jamie boy, what am I going to do if one day you are gone? He looked at me with his big round eyes as if he was saying: What are you worried about? I am the one who is going first, I am not worried. You just take one day at a time… Then we both fell asleep.

The next morning when we woke up, we continued to live our lives like it is business as usual. I went to work, he stayed at home.

It has been a month since my dog Jamie passed away on the 6th of March. Though I have stopped crying, I am still grieving the loss. What can I say? Time flies? Time heals? What a load of cliché!

I do not need to convince to the world that Jamie was more than a dog to me. The way he has changed my life and continues to change is way beyond words.

A month ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone about my pain and sadness over Jamie’s passing, she then pointed out something which I had never thought of: Ted, you did not choose Jamie, Jamie chose you. He came into your life for a purpose, when his mission was completed, it was time for him to go… Those words of hers were so profoundly powerful and true. Looking back, from the start how I had Jamie when he was only a 2 month old puppy, it explains everything.

Last week came a new addition to my place – a memorial I set up in a corner of the living room – a hall table which I put together and decorated with a couple of photos of Jamie, his favourite toys and of course his ashes and a tiny part of his hair I clipped that night he passed away and have kept it inside a little jar since. Interestingly, the scent of his hair has not faded even up till this day.

This memorial, Jamie’s final resting place is where I can reminisce, commemorate and connect with him spiritually. It is full of sunlight during the day and has lots of good energy around it. It will be the last thing I see when I go out and the first thing I see when I come home.

They say water is life. When there is a sign of water, there is a sign of life. If you believe it then you will see why every morning I go preparing a bowl of water and place it in front of his photo. People can say I am in denial, superstitious, or whatever they like, but for me, Jamie is just having a long sleep, he is hibernating somewhere. One day, when I am gone, he will be there waiting for me and we will meet again. 

Dogs have feelings, too. Just like humans, they experience fears, sadness, excitement, happiness and all that, but they do not dwell on the past, they do not worry about the future, they simply live in the present, in the moment. This is one of biggest lessons I have learned from my dog.

What now? What is going forward? It is the legacy Jamie has left behind that I will continue on while living through the pain of losing him. Ironically, in his such short span of life, for 12 years and 10 months we had lived together, he has been the greatest influence on my life. For that, I am forever grateful.

Last but not least, dare I say: You have never been loved till you have been loved by a dog…

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