People say, “are you still thinking about your dog? Didn’t he die a year ago?” How insensitive. But I understand. There are those who haven’t a sensitive bone in their body when it comes to any living creature other than human, and sometimes even the death of humans don’t seem to phase them. Let’s leave those kinds of people out, shall we?
Some people have never lost a loved creature, much less a child. There are many ways in which one can define death, not always physical, but there are other deaths–like bipolar, schizophrenia, dementia, dissociative psychosis, brain damage, comatose, and so forth. These are all valid “deaths,” shall we call them?
And then, there are the deaths of animals that became pets first, then family. And when we lose them we feel the same as when we lose a person we love.
First, I lost a daughter to bipolar/schitzophrenia. It is as if she died physically, for in her delusions I am at fault for her entire life’s negative episodes, though she has been married to a seemingly cruel and apathetic man for over 25 years. Yet, whatever may have happened to her as a child, it’s my fault, and everything thereafter. So she has purposely died from me.
In my sorrow I replaced her emotionally with a little 3 mo. old toy Yorkshire Terrier, in 2005. He fit into my hand and I immediately purchased him from his owner. He was sickly yet spunky, and very, very tiny. His presence alleviated the sorrow I had been carrying for my daughter. So Edison became the replacement family member I lost. He went everywhere with me; to the office, restaurants, department stores, and even on flights. He was my everything.
It’s a different kind of emotional tie, I thought. But more and more I began to treat him like a family member. He got special treats, walks, carried everywhere, slept in my bed on my pillow. He became so much to me, I would rather not go out if I could not take him. I even stopped frequenting some stores because they would not let him come in. Even after he died, I still do not go to those stores.
He was my little angel, my little child I lost when I lost my daughter, but not only her. I had two sons, all of them grown up, and Edison became the surrogate child alleviating the “empty nest” syndrome. You can see why he got so much emphasis in my life.
Edison died in 2017, last year. He lived for 12 years, he was 6 lbs when I was told he would never go beyond 4 lbs.
He began to show signs of what I was told might happen: he had a prolapsed trachea, common in those types of breeds. In other words, he was suffocating to death. Just before I had him laid to rest he did not sleep for three days. He stood without rest, because he could not lay down for being unable to breathe.
After his death I cried for days, and sometimes I still do. I had him specially cremated by himself for a higher fee, then given to me with his bones uncrushed in a box, where they await my death: he will be buried with me when I die. That is how much I love him, as my own child.
I suppose psychologists would call it love displacement, but I really don’t care what anyone calls it, I simply call it love.
I know he didn’t want to leave me. I could tell it in his eyes while he was trying to breathe. I could no longer stand seeing him suffer, thus, I did the unthinkable: I had him put to sleep. In life, I carried him as much as possible, and so I held him in my arms for a very long time thereafter.
My daughter remains alienated from me for over 15 years now.
In my sorrow, I decided to write a children’s book about Edison, and afterward about his companion I purchased from another person who did not care for this little female, her name being Chloe, who is portrayed in the pictures with him and in his book.
I like to say she was his wife. I have her now, and she is truly growing on me. She also is getting older; she is 10 years now and slowing down. I know what’s coming, so this book will tell all about the wonderful things I shared with my two sweet babes, my children.
I have cats, too, and now another rescued little Chihuahua. They all will have their stories told someday as well.
I am still grieving my original anchor, my little hero, and the child I hope to see again, my Edison. I did not know it then, and I did not know it even when he died… But I know it now. He was the only connection I had for the healing of that time… And now, the wound of his departure does not seem to heal, and I cannot–nor want to, forget him…
I still have his partner, I call, his “wife,” and I know, it’s kind of hard to explain. I love her, and I love my cats, all of my pets: I love them very much.
But Edison was the first pet I had after I lost my daughter. I gave him the love and care I wished I could give her, and later I gave him that love just because of who he became in his own right. I was rewarded by his very loving loyalty for those 12 years.
I will NEVER forget you, my little man, Edison… It is coming on two years in February 10th, 2019. I will never forget you, and I pray almost every single day, that God would allow our being once again together in heaven, because I am looking forward to holding you and seeing you again.