© Heidi Marcinik—All content and images . Powered by Blogger.

Transcending the Grief of Losing A Pet: A Bucket List Celebrates Life

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My dog, Josie, was a New Year's Eve puppy, and she would have turned 10 years old this past New Year's if the disease hadn’t taken its toll on her. When Josie exhibited unusually sick symptoms, I quickly took her to see our vet. Lab results reported chronic kidney disease, and my heart sunk to, what I thought at the time––a point of no return. The connection shared between Josie and I felt atypical regarding a human-animal bond––even the animal communicator we visited sensed the bond between us. To think of losing her ‘soon’ to kidney disease wasn’t something I was ready to hear or think about, let alone accept.

I remember feeling numb with grief and could hardly look at her without knowing I’d be saying goodbye much too soon. Surprisingly, there was a turning point in this grief process that made all the difference in preparing to say goodbye. I no longer recall how the idea came to me; one day I decided to make a bucket list of things to do with Josie while she could still enjoy life. I knew this would allow me to move beyond the grief and celebrate our time together right now––now is all we had.

It almost goes without saying that being a pet photographer photographs were an immediate priority. They were no fuss photographs; they captured her as she was right then and there. That’s what was important to me. I gave myself permission to photograph the good times and the not so good times as I wanted the photos to reflect real life. As difficult as it was, I even photographed her last day living on this earth doing what she loved to do––sunbathe.

Once the bucket list contained some of my initial ideas, I shared it on Facebook encouraging my friends to add their own thoughts. Many jumped at the opportunity and suggested practical and humorous thoughts such as: making a debut on the cover of a dog calendar, eating cat poop, enjoying a huge bone, traveling to NYC, swimming, exploring local wildlife areas, visiting drive-thrus that hand out dog treats, and the list goes on. Engaging my friends in this way was very enjoyable and comforting, and the feeling of support was immeasurable.

Pet Friendly Embassy Suites
At the top of this bucket list, however, was my personal desire to bring Josie to see the ocean and run the beach for the first time. So friends and I headed to the east coast beaches where Josie not only ran on the beach, but also met a few long-time friends and family members (with a surprise introduction to a family member’s cat!). A few months later, when it came time to say goodbye to Josie, I was thankful for my friends and family to have had the chance to meet her and know how important she was in my life. 

Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with grief and loss; some of you may find this idea very helpful in transcending the grief of losing a pet––I certainly did. Creating the bucket list helped me move from grief to celebrating the remaining time I had with Josie. While I still have the ache in my heart, I always carry those bucket list moments that made all the difference in the world––our little world.

Website: www.sundogpetphotography.com
Visit me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sundogpetphotography
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sundogpetphotog

(c) 2012 All Rights Reserved. All photos are property of Heidi Marcinik.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Most Reading


Blogger news