Dog trains man

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Faces Of Love And Growth

For this year's Pet Blogger challenge, I tried to close the door silently behind me in advance, and made a short announcement, to continue to blog about Viva after her passing.

Every effort I did to look back at blogging in 2013, and ahead at 2014, ended in me rambling about Viva in relation to the blog. Who would seriously want to know the ins and outs of that. The PBC is a blogger party, always been, and I wouldn't want to crash it.

Hopefully this scared you off.

Because if I would have joined, it would have looked something like this:


The one thing you know what is coming when you read a dog book, there's a big chance the star will die in the last chapter. There is not a dog book I can pick up and start reading, without bracing me for that end. Will it come, or not. Just as you feel you have gotten to know them, they pass. Don't even get me started about movies, in which it is almost a certainty.

With blogs it is different. A blog is many times a diary of a person behind the pet, and the blog continues after the main character, or one of them, has passed. Rarely will it continue to share more about the beloved pet that has passed, apart from the first stage, where the pain of the loss is so poignant. The beloved pet is not forgotten though, as it still is mentioned with love when we comment on other blogs that will find themselves in the same situation.

Why is it we stop blogging about them, just like a book, I wondered?

The Faces Of Love

Having lost Viva while blogging, I think, I can first now understand why it is difficult, apart from the way how we cope with our own grief. The grief is also vivid and always present with our audience. It is something we all share. Far the most of our readers have actually lost a pet before and are reminded about their own loss again. The comment, "I know how you feel", isn't fake, it is heartfelt.

When you realize that, it gets more difficult to continue writing about your beloved pet that passed. Each post will re-open wounds with your readers, and you might feel guilty about that like me. Even when you write about positive and fun memories, there will still be a tear among the smiles, as they know you wrote it, and wonder if you still grieve, just like them.

I wish we didn't, because we often start blogging for the love we have for our pets. During life it is expressed in being proud, in happiness, joy, but also guilt, embarrassment and worries. After life, it is pain and grief. They are all different faces of the same love.

We all grieve differently, but before we stop blogging about a beloved pet, we should realize we would still express ourselves from our love and not the pain, as we always did. And love is always worth reading in my book.

Really no one needs to go through grief alone. We may feel alone or that we live in our own world, but that doesn't have to be true. Our blog can be exactly that gateway to share with others.

And Growth

We don't cope with loss or get over it. We do learn to live with it and grow. I believe every loss has meaning. My heart is a vessel, housing all the dear ones I have lost, and make me a better person.

When we lost our cat, "Pjevs", four years ago, he taught me as I wrote in The Cat Behind The Dog Blog, how I could grow:
"I always regretted never to have expressed how much Pjevs meant to me. And on Pjevs' first anniversary after his passing, I vowed to him I will do better for Kenzo. I started blogging a month later."
It was around the time Viva joined our family. Naturally the promise extended to her too.

I will probably first let go of grieving publicly about Viva when she makes clear on the first anniversary of her passing, or whatever time she feels fit, what she intends to add to my heart. Then I will know that whatever I will write, Viva wrote it too.



  1. Your post deeply touched my heart. I completely agree about dog books and movies (which is why I rarely read/watch them.) And what you say about blogging is true, too. Though our pets might no longer all be with us here on earth, they're still with us in our hearts and thoughts. Even if we don't directly write about them, they're influencing what we write. At least that is the case for me.

  2. Very well writen and if this does not touch every one of your readers, they need more love in their lives.
    We all have an individual time schedule for when pain fades and takes a background role. It is good and healing to remember the good days, the funny moments, and readers also want to remember those times.
    Blogging from the heart, even with tears, is what makes a better community.

  3. I think of the challenge as, well, a challenge, not a party -- and this year has been as challenging for you as it has been for me. Trying to write about loss without getting mired in it is very difficult but, to me, blogging is about keeping it real, even when it's painful, and you've done that beautifully. I think Viva's final gift to you has been to become a muse, a kind of writing angel, looking over your shoulder and bringing out your most eloquent writing. I agree, she will also tell you when to stop. Right now, I'm glad, through my tears, that she is dictating wonderful stories of her life and her loss.

  4. As you know, I'm facing this same dilemma. I wonder if you experience this too, but I have people UNsubscribe from my blog every time I post, now that Lilly has died. I'll be honest. I fight the urge to email those people directly, telling them to stick it in their ear.

    I plan to continue writing about Lilly's illness, at least for a while, but like you, I probably will soon stop writing about the grief ... even though it remains crushing with no end in sight. When my mom died in June 2013, a friend sent me a book that essentially said that people only "tolerate" someone else's grief for about a month --- and that was for lost humans, not pets. I suspect the timeline is shorter for pets.

    After I finish telling Lilly's story, then I don't know ... maybe I'll continue writing about dog things ... until a new dog comes into our lives -- right now, that looks like maybe spring 2015.

  5. What a beautiful, touching post. Thank you for sharing, even though I'm sure it's not easy. I'm so sorry about the loss of your beautiful Viva.

  6. You have gripped my heart in the seat of your palm and wrapped your fingers tightly around it. I am so moved, tears flow - but not in utter sadness. I am moved by your faith in the loves we experience, often forgotten to be celebrated, even after the grief, and outwardly neglected as time moves on.

    Your intention is beautiful and will be met with much celebration once you unearth the right time and message, I have no doubt.

    I truly am so sorry for your loss, and I know you believe me. But we shoulder that together because of the knowing. And that knowing and shouldering will always be a positive aspect of our experience, free of guilt for making one another feel. You need to know that too.

  7. What a beautiful post. I had chills the whole time I was reading it. Thank you. I'm so sorry for your loss, and the many beautiful souls we all lost in 2013 - it was a tough year and I cried along with each and every one of them. This blogging community has helped me grieve in so many ways - but mostly because they allowed me to grieve, and they understood. I am so grateful for that :)

  8. Wow. This post has really struck a chord with me. (Thanks a lot, btw, as I try to hold it together at the office. Might I recommend an Honest Feelings warning at the top?)
    And having read today about many others who lost furry family members in 2013, I know it will be even deeper and empathetic for them, as well.
    I'm grateful that the pet blogging community is so open and supportive, because these are things everyone experiences eventually.

  9. I am so sorry that you lost Viva in the past year. I hope that your blogging plays a role in helping you heal, but maybe also helping others through grief when their own dogs pass. All the best.

  10. The Pet Blogger Challenge isn't really a party. It's a family reunion. And one thing we always do at family reunions is reminisce about loved ones who remain in our hearts if not physically beside us.

  11. Thank you for the heartfelt post! I really do understand how hard this is (though I have not yet blogged through a similar situation and hope not to do so anytime soon). I am so sorry for your loss!

  12. I understand what you are saying. Having lost our Sam too we are in the same place. Hubby advised me not to make the blog dark by reminiscing about Sam, but how could I not? This was his blog, started for him and he has been huge in our life. That first post after he was gone broke me, and each time I post without him I feel like I am pushing him farther aside. In the end, we are dog folks, and the memories of the pups that came before are so tightly woven within us. I cried when you lost Viva and when Lilly passed from Champion of My Heart. Sam's loss is still so near to my heart.

    I'm babbling...

  13. Grief has no timeline: it's infinite and eternal. Even long after the sting has gone from the passing, the memory stays on us, like a mark that can't be rubbed away. The gift of grief is that, if we let it, we can carry the remembrances forward with us and let the happy memories and our love permeate our writing and our love of the new dogs in our lives. I can already see Viva doing that for you. Even if you don't write of Viva, Viva will be in your writing. Always.

  14. Such wise and supportive comments. I find it difficult to answer each of you personally, as I revisit and try to let it all sink in. I am glad you recognize my intentions not to inflict pain upon others, and it strengthen me to know that what I expect to happen - that time that Viva will be in my writing without that I am actually writing about her - will come, as you also have experienced.

    Thank you all.

  15. Wow, I was touched by your blog as you traveled along Viva's road. And I'm still touched today as I read your comments. For those of us who allow our lives to be intertwined with our dogs, the sting of losing our dog feels unbearable. While none of us knows exactly how Viva's passing touched you, we can all draw on similar events and can very sincerely extend our sympathies to you as you move through this time. Good luck, my friend, and may Viva always be with you through your writing.

  16. Such a heartfelt post. It must have taken a lot of bravery to put this out there. This sentiment is beautiful: "My heart is a vessel, housing all the dear ones I have lost, and make me a better person." I'm going to hang onto that touching idea.

  17. My Chester is 11 and I wonder what it will be like maintaining this blog (I fully plan to) after he passes. I am not sure if it will be painful for me, like you mention, or if I will see it as a way to honor his legacy. I have no doubt that, either way, it will be a difficult struggle at times.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Sad to know about Viva. May she rest in peace.
    This is quite a touching post and I can understand your mindset when you wrote this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  20. I have been away for a while; I followed your blog from Raising Rama and I have since phased out that blog and started this one, a kind of continuation if you will. I was glad to find your blog again. I am so very sorry for the loss of Viva. Your post was wonderfully touching. Thank you for sharing.


Blogger Template Created by pipdig