Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Pain That Never Goes Away

Me and Babydoll

Another sad post here.

I've been lucky most of my life because I haven't lost too many loved ones.  

Now I am of an age where my more of my friends and relatives are dying with increasing frequency.  I am reminded of something my grandfather said a year before his death at 87 years of age.  He said "The bad thing about getting old is that all of your friends have died and there's no one to talk to."  I have never forgotten what he said and I knew it would apply to me someday.  I think that day is coming.

This year on September 16th, my Mother died at 86 years of age.  She would have been 87 this past Christmas Eve.  This year Christmas was difficult for me.

I am now witnessing my best friend's slow descent into the fog of dementia.  I am losing him.  His body is still here but is mind is fading away.  I don't know what is sadder: to have a friend die suddenly or to see them die a slow death this way, losing all dignity in the process.  I know when he dies another part of me will die.  Getting old is painful in more respects than physical. There is the heartbreak.

Perhaps I had no bigger heartbreak than the loss of one of my pet Pomeranian dogs.  I know I should feel guilty saying this but I don't.  The pain I feel in my heart for the loss of my Mother will never go away,  But her death was different.  She had a long and healthy life.  Her death wasn't unexpected.  She had accomplished all she set out to do in life.  

My partner and I have had a total of five Pomeranian dogs during our time together.  They are all gone now.  We don't have any dogs now because he doesn't want to go through the pain of their loss again.  Both of us miss our dogs but perhaps none more so than a silly named dog called "Babydoll."

"Babydoll" was one of two pups of our male (Horace) and female ("T" short for Tiffaney). Both Horace and "T" were 16 years old when they died.  They lived a long and good life.  "Babydoll" was only 11 years old when she died.  

Babydoll (on the left) with her Mom  ("T") and Dad (Horace)
Her death was sudden.  One morning, at the dawn of the day, Bill saw that Babydoll was sick.  He lifted her up in his arms to take her outside.  She died in his arms.  It was that fast.  Bill went into shock.  He cried and wailed.  She was also his favorite.  Bill would not let me take her from his arms.  He wandered all over the house wailing "Oh Babydoll, why did you leave me?"  I'm getting emotional now just writing about that traumatic event thirteen years ago on a cold February day.  Poor Babydoll, she died just as the sun was rising.  She never saw the light of that new day.  Perhaps that is why I am so sad when I witness the dawn light rising.

By the time I was able to pry Babydoll out his his arms around noontime, her little body was stiff with rigor mortis. Bill's eyes were red and swollen from crying.  I didn't know what to do.  My heart was hurting not only for the loss of our loved pet but to see Bill in such pain.  I wanted to do something for him but didn't know what to do.  

I took her lifeless body to the basement and put her in an Igloo freezer chest for burial later.  

The reason why her death has affected us so much was that it was unexpected.  She was always challenging her mom for dominance (there always has to be a Head Dog) in our little trio of Pomeranians.  He always teased her that she "would get her turn" when Mom ("T") kicked the bucket. 

Poor Babydoll, she never got her turn.

Now this is hard for me to explain.  Up until the death of this little Pomeranian dog pet we had, I never cried for anyone who died.  Never.  In fact, I still haven't cried for the death of either my father or my mother.  I don't know why, because I was very sad when my Mother died, not so much when my father died (just telling the truth here).  I miss my Mom terrible but I've never cried.  I got choked up a couple of times but never cried.  Heck.  I cry every time I watch "Dark Victory" with Bette Davis and I know how that ends!  So what is the matter with me crying like an idiot over the death of this little, four pound, ball of orange fur with a terrible, short fuse temper (and she had one, believe me.)  

I don't know.  Maybe there was somebody or a spirit inside that little dog that went before her time.  But what I do know that is to this day, all these years later, my heart aches with a pain that has never relented for that little dog.  


  1. Ron,

    Always, always hard to lose a pet. How many have we said goodbye to. We know going in this day will come, especially when we have adopted so many older animals to give them a home and also several, which problems we knew would shorten their lives.

    It is hard to have them die, but for us, much harder to see animals who must live out lives without a good loving home. That is why we do it and continue to do it.


  2. Hi Ron, I LOVE your blog, your writing, your honesty - and yes, I totally get how an orange (or black) ball of fluff can break your heart like no other xxx

  3. Folks like you and your family Lar renew my hope for mankind because of your kindness and care the animals we have domesticated and who depend on us for a life without pain and deprivation. Bless you.

  4. Buskitten,
    Thank you so much for your comment! You understand how a four pound ball of fluff can capture one's heart. Interestingly, we got Pomeranians as pets because my partner doesn't like cats (I do.) He thought Pomeranians were "close enough" to cats which, of course, was totally untrue. But still, he fell in love with them anyway. I wish we could get another one. I miss loving one and receiving their love in return.
    You mentioned your cats. Coincidentally my very first pet was a stray tabby cat. I called him "Bobby."

  5. Ron, in my life, I have had dogs, cats and children(humans). If people with children read this, they will hate what I'm about to say. Before children, my pets were my children. I did everything for them and made every decision based on them. After I started having children, my pets became secondary. However, I can honestly tell you that I have the same feelings for my children as I did for my pets. I know, that may sound weird. Your feelings are legitimate. You lost your babies.
    Your Friend, m.

  6. You understand Mark. Pets are our "babies." I never had children but if I did I'm sure I would love them too but it would be a different kind of love. I think why our love for our pets, especially dogs, is because they have a love for us that is nonjudgmental and they depend on us totally for their survival. That's why I cannot forgive someone like Michael Vick for what he did to his dogs. I've always felt guilty that I cried for the loss of my little Pom and not for the loss of any human being.

  7. I continue to believe the death of a pet is like no other, and it is often quite worse on us than the death of people.

  8. Stephen and I lost our Boston Terrier "Margo" this past Summer. She was the second of two. The loss of our first followed close on the passing of our friend Larry, whom we had cared for team-fashion with other friends when he was in the last stages of AIDS. I found myself having to do things like duck into the janitor's closet in my workplace to avoid being found sobbing in the hallway. I had thought at the time that I was transferring unresolved grief at the loss of Larry onto the loss of the dog. Now, I know better, that they were different losses, but somehow equal. Larry would approve of that statement. Take care.

  9. Spo,
    I've always felt guilty that the death of my little dog affected me more than any person up to that date. Only the recent death of my Mother has affected me as much, but in a different way. I felt like I was the protector of my little dog and somehow I let her down before her time was over. Thank you for your kind and caring comment.

  10. D. Dave,
    Thank you so much for your kind and caring comment. I don't feel as ashamed now that I cried at work every time right after the death of my little dog. I was glad my desk was near the bathroom because every time I felt the tears well up in my eyes I would retreat to the bathroom and have a good cry. I hurt so much with the death of that little girl. I still hurt when I think of her. If there is any solace in death, it is in the fact that I may be reunited with her if there is a heaven.

  11. You should get another pet. there are so many dogs and cats at the shelter that need a good home, likes yours.I love your site and the music. Peggy

  12. Thank you Peggy. I would love to get a dog and/or cat at the shelter but my partner cannot stand to have another loss. However, if I survive him I will definitely pay a visit to the shelter and rescue several of my critter friends. That is what I am looking forward to.

  13. john pilos,iheartpomeranians12:11 AM

    To live in the hearts we love ❤ is not to die...


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