cures for death by sadness

Friday, February 1, 2008


I wake up too early these days, even for me, who normally relishes waking up and getting up and starting a new day. I now wake up with tears in my eyes. I wake up feeling haunted with sadness, clouds of questions hovering thick over my head. Was it too soon, should I have waited, maybe he would've gotten up, maybe he just needed longer to rest, how did it all happen so fast, did I really know for sure, why did I rush, should I have waited even a day or two longer ... and did I betray him? It's been a week today, how can that be?

This is what happens when your heart and your intellect try to come to some sort of agreement. When you think too much, and when you second guess yourself. "I have very good intuition, in fact I always trust my inner voice, my inner judgement" says my intellect boldly. And my aching heart taunts back "you made a mistake, he might have stood up, he might have barked at the cat food ... many more times, you rushed, you fool".

I'm not like this all day, thankfully, but the early mornings, usually my absolute favourite time of day, are now tainted terribly with sadness & doubting. Last night I wrote a list of things that through the day yesterday had helped me chase away the sadness.

some cures for certain death by sadness written at 7pm last night

freshly squeezed clementine & ruby red grapefruit juice – left over Christmas fruit, a chore to squeeze but, wow, what a taste.

sleeping in my own bed for the first time in almost a month

sleeping in my bed, freshly made with flannel and down and smooth white cotton

freshly making up this nest with the help of bed making enthusiasts, kittens Gussie & Oliver

sharing some quality time with the ever elusive, Mr. Aloof, Gussie himself or my L’il Man, something about making of beds and changing of sheets brings him out of hiding every time

playing throw-the-felted-wool-cat-ball with Oliver, and watching amused as he insists on ricocheting off furniture or walls even though I’ve thrown the ball in a very straight line. An opportunity for him to show off his tricked out moves

chocolate mint ice cream, a local brand, I wished it was Baskins & Robbins

receiving a big, big hug from Sue at the post office who told me she’s been thinking about me for days

a hot thick steaming face cloth

watching Bleet as he sits, trance like, staring into the fire for ages

going for a long walk through icy pastures with Winnie Dixon

Steven Colbert holy cow! a new discovery. How funny is he? following 30 mins of Jon Stewart and with George Bush as President and the US election looming – what’s not to be funny?

a big pile of new magazines

orange pekoe tea, made in a pot and served to myself on a tray along with my favourite mug

sweet, caring condolences arriving from all directions

beginning a new book, Not Wanted on the Voyage, top of my list of all time favourites and a pick for Canada Reads on CBC radio and I thought I’d read it again, along with them. A brilliant retelling of the story of Noah and the ark.

spending some time going back through this blog and looking at all the great pictures of Jake, of my red boy, and reading all about him and his most excellent retriever life. I used to tell him each morning, as we drove to the beach, you're in first place in your division and we must get you ready for the Senior Trials - being held this fall in Oslo.

ordering a huge pile of funky typography books from dover publications - circus fonts and extra bold display fonts, etc ...

sending out a big fat invoice to customer No. Uno and having her call 15 minutes later with another big job

that's a mighty big list actually ... and that was just one day. It's not my nature to be sad - my sadness is a longing, it's a pining, I so miss my Jake.

Jake, the face of a dog who's known nothing but love


  1. You did the right thing, Susan. Sending you an e hug.

  2. thank you, thank you Mary D. I've been praying that one of you, who have been here with us all along, would leave a comment and tell me yes, yes I did do the right thing. I have been torturing myself, going over every little detail in my mind ... and I do remember I must have asked my vet, Diane, a half a dozen times that morning, when we first arrived - "Are you sure it's time?" and this morning as I sit here at my desk I keep thinking, surely she wouldn't have done "it" if it wasn't time ??

    The vet's office called this morning to tell me Jake's ashes were ready to be picked up. How can it be possible that he is ashes in a little wooden box ?

  3. Sorry I got here late... it is only just gone past 9 a.m. here in Calgary.

    Oh, my goodness, Susan!! Don't even doubt it for a second. Along with the times when he did rest and manage to jump up again...don't forget the times when he was so tired and also somewhat uncomfortable. He couldn't do it for much longer (somewhere inside you do know that)and I would hate to think how you would berate yourself if you had left it even a few hours more. was definitely time...

    He is at peace now..... please don't torture yourself any more. He was such a lovely, playful, senior dog; had seen and enjoyed so many more great years that most dogs of that size ever are allowed on this earth. It was a, it was an amazing run, for the two of you, and it was just time for it to end. I, myself, am tearfully happy that you did the right thing by Jake and did not wait until he was unable to hold up his regal head one last time.

    It was definitely the right time Susan... you must rest easy knowing that you did the best thing possible for your beloved Jake.


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