As I woke up to the alarm the second morning after the loss of our beagle Cricket, I made myself get up and start my normal routine. The previous morning, I had let myself sleep a little later since I hadn’t slept most of the night. I slept better that next night, but still was awake at 4 am and had cried more and then dozed back off to sleep with Lab mix Luke at my side. I was determined to stick to routines on this day, probably as much for my own sanity as for Luke’s or our cat Samantha’s.
I headed to the kitchen where my pot of coffee was ready and poured a cup as I always do. The next step in my routine had been to check on Cricket. She would have gotten up with the Dadz, maybe come back to lie by my legs in bed for a while, but then gone back out to sleep on the chair in the living room (occasionally it was the couch, but lately the chair had become her favorite place to nap), most likely because Dad made it cozy warm out there by getting the wood stove going before he left for work. I never touched her but watched her sleeping peacefully, and then I’d take my coffee back to bed and snuggle with Luke for a bit.
On this morning, I knew as I walked to the chair that she wasn’t there….but I couldn’t help myself. I touched my hand to the empty chair and said “I miss you so much, baby.” Then I went back to bed for a bit and got up to our normal routine, or as normal as it could be now. I would feed Samantha first, since she was probably mewling from the time I went back to bed with my coffee, and listening to me saying “I’ll get up soon, sweetie!” Then I would watch the news for 10 – 15 minutes and feed the dogs just shortly after that.
It used to be that Dad would feed the dogs in the mornings, until he started his new job and was getting up much earlier. We decided it was too early, and I would take over that duty. I always waited a little bit after feeding Sam, since Cricket was usually still sound asleep in her chair when we got up, and for a while her appetite hadn’t been too great in the mornings. Though her appetite had been good lately, I still stuck to waiting. Eventually, I suppose I’ll no longer wait, but I’m sticking to the routine for now for both Luke’s sake and my own as well.
That was another difficult thing these last few mornings; making meals has become much too easy. Cricket got medications and supplements, and every morning I’d put some of her pills in a pill pocket, and the others in with her meal, which consisted of kibble and other fresh food ingredients put on top. Preparing Luke’s meals seems way too easy without all the added medications and it is ready so quickly I feel like I’m forgetting something. I know I’ll get used to that in time too.
Finding the new normal is not easy. At first, I wouldn’t let my hubby move the pet stairs away from the couch; I just couldn’t bear changing everything all at once. The stairs were for both Luke and Cricket, but Luke never uses them and it’s easier for the humans to get to the couch without having to step over them. But now they’re gone, and there is an empty space next to that empty chair.
I have a brand-new quilt waiting to go on our bed. It’s bright and cheerful in spring colors, and I look forward to it brightening up our bedroom. I hadn’t put it on yet because Cricket was occasionally having accidents in bed due to the medications she was on; and I didn’t want to have to wash it right away. The frequent washings of the old quilt, along with both dogs scratching at it, has left many holes in it. But somehow, putting that new quilt on the bed feels like just another thing I’m changing because Cricket is gone (even though I had planned to put it on eventually anyway). At some point, I’ll be ready, and that pretty quilt will bring some cheer to our bedroom, but not yet. I guess it just doesn’t suit my mood right now either.
It’s become my new morning ritual to go to that chair and touch it and say something to Cricket, like “I miss you, girlfriend.” I suppose eventually I’ll stop doing that but for now it feels like something I need to do. By the way, that favorite chair of Cricket’s is where my hubby wrapped her in a blanket and laid her down to take her last breaths.
I don’t want to dwell on my sadness, as hard as it is not to, and I don’t want people who come to read this blog to feel sad every time they do. I’ve always been an optimist and I know things will get better and that will come back. In that spirit, I’ll leave you with a happy story about that empty chair:
The Dadz usually sits there at night to watch TV, and I’m on the couch. If Cricket got there first, she’d lie on the blanket thrown across the ottoman, between his legs. But on occasion, if she’d gotten up to go outside or get a drink, Luke would take the spot. Cricket would come back in and head up her little stairs and start to go right to the chair. Now Luke is protective when he is with one of us at times, and he will start to growl when she does that.
We’d encourage her to come sit with me instead, and she’d turn around slowly and start to do so. But as soon as she did, Luke would be jealous of that and jump up and over to sit next to me. Cricket would then stop, turn around, and go to her spot on the chair between Dad’s legs.
We’re pretty sure that little beagle knew exactly what she was doing, and just how to get Luke to leave the spot she wanted in the first place. Our Cricket was a smart little beagle, and she knew exactly how to get everything she wanted. She made us smile every day and eventually those happy memories will ease the sadness and fill that empty chair.
sand spring chesapeakes says
Awe Cricket! Learning a new normal is so hard and sad at times. I did the same thing you have done after a loss. I would still divide up 4 pieces of food at the end of a meal for each dog after Norman left. This was a sad but beautiful post!
Thank you so much, JoAnn. Hubby and I still wait for each other to put our plates down on the floor after our meals…..we know it doesn’t matter now but it’s such a habit! Luke gets two plates to lick now, so at least it’s fun seeing him enjoying being so spoiled. ♥
Sending hugs and love.
Both are much appreciated, thank you. ♥
Ellen Pilch says
Losing a loved one is so hard. Sending you hugs.
Thank you, Ellen. All hugs are much needed and appreciated!
Little Binky and Granny says
We’re so sorry for you, Jan😿Soft Pawkisses to comfort you❤❤❤
Thank you so much. ♥♥♥
Jodi Stone says
I love that you touch her chair every morning and talk to her. I don’t think they can ever really leave us, because we have so many wonderful and cherished memories. I feel like the hardest bit about losing someone is the ones you live with every day. For those of us who love you and your blog and of course, your dogs, we feel the loss and share your grief. But we don’t look at the empty chair every day. And you do. So if you want to write about how sad, or lost you feel, I think you should do it. People who love their pets will understand, and those that don’t…well, I’ll just be nice and not finish that.
I’ve been thinking of you a lot, and want you to know that. <3
Thank you so, so much for your understanding and caring, Jodi. Normally I try to hide my sadness more, but for some reason this time it feels better to share it.
Knowing you are there for us means so much. ♥
Unfortunately, you know too well it will take a long time to get over the tears and reminders. Mom still talks about Katie a lot, especially with me when we are out on walks. Everything changes even though you want it to stay the same. Take time, snuggle and cry on the ones you still have. They are feeling the loss too. So sorry you have to go through this, but living with a dog is worth the pain they leave us in when they are gone.
That is true. When I hear people who lose a pet say “never again” because of the pain, that just makes me sad. They will miss out on so much love, and let’s face it, pain and loss are part of life and loving.
The changes are so tough. It’s so hard to accept that things are different now, and to let go.
Lynn LaChance says
I love everything your blog friends have said here, Jan, they truly understand-and it’s nice to know they don’t expect your posts to exude happiness and optimism right away. Cricket will be with you forever and just hoping eventually as you say, looking at that chair can bring a smile, of the wonderful memories. Thinking of you every day
Thank you, Lynn. You know more than anyone that I tend to keep my sadness to myself; because I don’t want to make others feel sad. But this time I’m letting it out a bit more….I just feel the need, and think that it’s helping me. It’s so great to have friends that truly understand that.
GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES says
This will take time, unfortunately no one can tell you how long. You’ve lost a part of yourself, and you have to learn how to live without her. Don’t rush it, and don’t worry about us. Write your emotions and we will ride this roller coaster with you. We’re a community of pet loving parents, we are here for one another. We are here….
A roller coaster is definitely an apt description – some days are not too bad, others are the pits. And some it can just change hour to hour. Thank you so, so much, Cathy, for your understanding and love. ♥
The Island Cats says
Hopefully the sweet memories you have of Cricket will help turn your tears to smiles…but we know how hard it is. Purrs…..
Sally Hummel says
What a sweet memory of her special chair! She knew how to work the system alright! Finding that new normal is always a challenge, but I say stick to whatever routine you want and need right now. Things have a way of sorting themselves out over time! Big hugs!! ❤️
Thank you. We are definitely going to just take our time to figure things out.
Those reminders are hard. I was lucky that I moved a couple days after Kitty died. It made it just a tiny bit easier to not see her familiar hang-outs and habits. I don’t know how we’re supposed to let them go … it’s just not ever the same again.
I waffle between putting the reminders away where I can (though I can’t do anything with that big chair!), and leaving them out because I don’t want to forget her. Not that I ever would. Sheba has been gone over a year now, and her collar still hangs in our entryway. 🙁
Mary McNeil says
I’ve lived here for 40+ years. so here are a number of resting places around the yard. Every morning I make the rounds and touch each marker. Cricket will always be with you.
I love that you do that, Mary. Thank you.
The Daily Pip says
Oh gosh, I know that feeling of the empty chair. For me it was a couch and I still (several years later) can feel our dog Pip when I sit in his spot.
This was a lovely post even though it was heartbreaking. And the last photo is just beautiful. Thinking of you and sending much support.
Thank you so much. Time only eases the pain, it never really goes away, does it? We just learn to live with it.
A hand on the empty chair….I think I’d do the same thing. There’s so much of Cricket’s energy in that spot that I’m sure it’s comforting. It’s a place where you can always connect with each other. It takes time to find “the new normal”.
The chair, and outside in the yard. I feel her there the most because she loved being outside so much. ♥
Those first days/weeks/howeverlongitakes are so incredibly hard. I’m thinking of you during this tough time.
And just when you think it’s getting a bit better….not so much. But I know we’ll make a little progress each day. Thank you for thinking of us. xo
Brian Frum says
Oh we all understand and the Dad still talks to Angel Sascha and Angel Kit. Hugs from all of us.
We bet he does. Thank you.
Shadow & Ducky's Mom says
I’m having a hard time forming my own thoughts this morning, so I’ll just say that I agree with everything that Monika, Katty, and Pam have already said. 100%.
It takes time for our tears of sadness to subside and allow our hearts to heal enough for smiles to replace at least some of them. Callie’s been gone over two years now; and I still have to grab a tissue sometimes when I don’t see her in a favorite spot.
Don’t worry about the rest of us as far as being sad. We are all as devoted to our pups, cats, whatever as you are to yours and we understand you’re going to be sad for a while. If you need to “dwell on” your sadness once in a while, go ahead. We will be here for you.
My words seem limited today too. Thank you, Sue. ♥
Monika & Sam says
Those memories initially after a fur-baby crosses the Bridge are the hardest and tend to leave our hearts raw with emotion. Time will make it better. Be gentle with yourself, and know it’s a process that evolves with each day and even the left-behind pets struggle with the new routine. Thinking of you and sending oodles of poodles comforting nose nudges and tail wags.
Thank you so much for your support and kind thoughts. ♥
in such moments of loss the whole world stands still … and when it starts to turn around again there is nothing like before…. hugs to you… and lots of potp and weim kisses
Sometimes you sit and see the world going on around you and you wonder “how can it?”. But we know it does and it will for us again too. Thank you.
Oh I know how sad these first several days are……you touching Cricket’s chair to say hello and that you miss her sounds like what I did for a very long time (and still occasionally do!) with Sammy’s favorite spot. It will always be “his” even though Teddy has made it his as well. I miss Sammy every day just as we all do when one of our beloved pets is gone. That photo of Cricket with her face in the sunshine is wonderful – yes she looked Angelic even before she became one. After all, they are all our angels on earth before they take wing for the Bridge. I send you a hug of comfort because I know that it’s what we need when we grieve…..memories and moments and time.
Hugs, Pam (and Teddy too)
Thank you so much, Pam. I know that you know exactly how it feels, and it had to be even tougher for you when you had no one furry to comfort you. I’m so glad you eventually had Teddy. I’m sure Teddy sometimes does thinks that remind you of Sammy, and when that happens with Luke it always makes me smile.