On Friday I posted on social media about the demise of our beloved little Welsh Terrier Wiglet. Within an hour our neighbour was at our door to say how sorry she was, with flowers to remember her by. She allowed us to talk, she allowed us to cry.
I am reminded at this time of the poem ‘Solitude’ by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. ‘Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.’ I understand that some people find these posts too painful to read, but would I be true to myself if I did not write about our pain? I write about our happiness often enough! I would not be true to myself if I did not write about my feelings at this time. I also think it will give some people comfort, to know that others understand the unconditional love of a dog.
This post is about Kindness: The kindness of the people on Welsh Terrier sites across Facebook has been huge: pictures, poems, suggestions of books to read. All of these people have one thing in common the love for Welsh Terriers. A little wilful breed of dog all of their own. Those people all know and understand that they give their hearts freely, knowing that they will be broken one day. But isn’t that what love is? Isn’t that what life is about? Going into the world knowing that with great love comes great pain, but not being afraid to do it? Those people have helped us in the last few days beyond imagination.
When in the midst of the shit-storm that is grief, the bravery of the people who have picked up the phone to us, knowing we will cry, knowing they will likely cry with us has really been appreciated. One of my friends, who is always there in the background, rang us immediately she found out what we were facing. My sister rings often to see how we are, even though we will be bringing her day down. Karen, who shared that summer of 2018 with us and three mad Welshies in France, understands, after losing Dylan too soon. It was Wiglet and her zest for life and naughtiness that made Karen fall in love with Welsh Terriers. Last but not least the old friend who has her own troubles, but I was there for her and she felt a loyalty to be there for me. They all cried with us. All are appreciated.
I have learned coping mechanisms for grief, put music on that will make you cry, give yourself that time each day, and then hopefully, it won’t bite you on the arse quite so much for the rest of the day. I had to learn those things when my mum died, I was alone with a seven year old son and I could not cry all day every day because of him.
I now have that situation with Harley and the cats, who are all grieving for Wiglet. Daisy, her old adversary, is missing the little dog who chased her. I never realised until now how ‘running the gauntlet’ was in fact a huge game to Daisy. She has looked for her everywhere, even in drawers!
I am worried about Harley, he looks for her all the time, lays in her bed, and is restless. Things will have to be considered in the next few weeks as to whether to get him another companion. We have too much love to give, and Wiglet would truly want us to. After all we showed her how to love, gave her great love, and for that she lived life joyously every day. She knows we would give another dog the same chance that we gave her. But for now it is too soon.
So yesterday morning after RD left for work, I put my coping mechanisms in place. I listened to ‘Fields of Gold’ by Eva Cassidy and to a tune that I played every morning in the ten days leading up to her death, ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence; by Ryuichi Sakamoto. It is a beautiful, soulful piece of music that Wiglet loved as she grew more frail. They were my crying songs, and that was the time I had allowed myself. I was okay, until the post arrived. In it was a beautiful card from the veterinary team that helped us care for Wiglet and keep her with us for the last eleven months. In the card they had hand written how sorry they were for the loss of Wiglet and how clear it was that she had been very loved. They had included some of her fur and a little card with her fur in it.
But the thing that put me on my arse was the print of her paw that they had taken after we had left her in their care after she had passed. It was so kind, heartbreaking but comforting at the same time. We will treasure it forever.
When people are grieving there are no words, there is nothing that can take away the pain only time. But never underestimate the power of a small kindness.