Re: The awful void
You used words I have used to myself when I lost Lucy last Christmas--"the end of an era." It marks the loss of a beloved soul in our lives and is a sad milestone of our own lives changing in ways we'd prefer it didn't, never to be the same--the unknown lays ahead. It's scary.
Losing a souldog does leave a terrible void, one we TRY to prepare for but can't possibly. Let's face it, our day is broken up in to "dog hours" and earmarked by things we do with and for our dog--the sweet wake-up licks, feeding, playing, grooming, walking, naptime snuggles, belly rubs, the goodnight rituals we all have..........and when they are sick we become extra vigilant.
They in turn are our companion, our intimate keeper of secrets, the one we talk to without judgement, the eyes we turn to look in when we need to feel that blanket of love and trust that their gaze casts over us, they are our babies and our protectors at the same time, our brother, sister, child, our exercise buddy, our quiet comforter in hard times.
When they go---we have to redefine our day, and our role in life. We no longer have those roles that our dogs give us, the void is so very deep and we define ourselves in so many ways as "my dog's mom" or something similar.
And with the Rainman--I applaud you for not shunning him, as it's easy to do in grief, especially with a more emotionally shut down dog. He does need you now, even though tending to him might be yet another reminder of the contrast between he and Jasmine.
When Lucy died from the same thing....I could barely function. She was part of me, I half expected that I would go with her, as we were inseparable.
And it marked the end of the Lucy and Aik era--a wonderful time in my "doggie life" of two great friends, fric and frac. I realized last summer, sitting with them by a lake, watching their exuberant joy in swimming, that I no longer wanted to pursue dating relationships, that I wanted for nothing in my life--I had the perfect little family right there. I wanted it to stay that way forever. Even then, the cancer was probably growing in Lucy and life was about to change.
You do have hard times ahead, but sometimes it helps to reframe our thinking--as hard as it is and it won't come soon. It's such a cliche, but we were gifted to have dogs like this, they are also teachers and we can take what they taught us about life, kindness, forgiveness and joy and keep that in our hearts and use it out in the world.
We can feel bad for people who will say "she was just a dog" and know that their lives are forever void of the incredible love and connection we are able to have with a dog.
You will adapt--and it does take time. And you will find your own ways to honor her, memorialize her, and celebrate her as well as mourn for her. I "talk" out loud to Lucy every day--it comforts me. I ask her for help in difficult situations and **** if I don't feel like she has been an angel on my shoulder.
If you have spiritual beliefs about where our dogs go--embrace them.
As for you---one day at a time. Sleep, eat ice cream, wear pajamas or watch late night tv--whatever it takes. Be kind and gentle to yourself, you have endured a terrible loss.
And take one day at a time--you don't have to make ANY decisions, now, tomorrow or the next day--or month. You can adjust to the idea of Jasmine being gone and regroup.
I chose to foster a dog after Lucy left, I knew I was not ready for another and frankly, my heart was shut down. I fear I may never love a dog like I love her. Even Aik, my sweet rock of love, is a simple soul who adores me, but the connection is very different.
Fostering helped me feel like I was doing something good in Lucy's name, cheating death one way when I could not cheat it the way I wanted. And it gave me a reason to get out of bed. My little foster taught me that a soul can endure years of neglect and joylessness, and still be happy and wagging to get up in the morning. That helped me. When she left, I was sad, but felt like I'd healed a bit.
6 months later, I have a pup. I got her from Lucy's breeder. She does not make me miss Lucy any less, but she is a loving, fun little girl and silly goofiness is back in my life.
I too, wondered if I should be dogless--for the same reasons you did. It is a very personal decision.
When I looked at my life and thought about what had brought me the greatest joy--it was my german shepherds.
But....you have to make NO decisions. You can do both--when the time comes, you CAN travel, do those things. If your heart comes to a time when it is open to the love of a dog--of whatever breed, you will know.
You will know.
Do nothing in haste--the one thing you have now is the ability to take time out from big decisions.
I am rambling now, but I do understand this pain all too well.
One last thing--I have gotten comfort from some online dog loss support groups--it is helpful for some folks.
I raise a glass to Jasmine today, and your love story with her.
Aik vom Haus Gold "The Rock" Age 11
Zuzu--gsd DOB 4-21-09. Naughty n' nice
Lucy, Black GSD 2/1997-12-25-2008.
" T'was Heaven with you Here."
Dweezil, WGSD. RIP, 13
Moon, WGSD. RIP , 12
Shining found treasures both.