+ animals

hard lessons and saying goodbye


Photograph by Susie Ewbank


Ugh, I hate this post so much. It’s not even written yet [although there have been several attempts] and I already can’t stand it. My aim is never to dump a purely negative post into the universe, but some days it’s hard to put a positive slant on what’s happening.

I think a lot of people with chronic illness would say the same thing. I think that sometimes our world gets so small that we cling to the few things that remain, and when one of those things isn’t working out, it’s as if the ground crumbles beneath our feet. You can try your hardest to find something good in there or distract yourself, but our options are generally limited.

That’s been my struggle since I said goodbye to my precious Celie dog. She became a major player in my little world, and a lot of days it seemed that she was all there was. In spite of her health, I felt like I hit the jackpot. Celie had nothing but love to give and won over the hearts of all who knew her. She was meant to be in my life, and if I knew what I know now, I would have still left the shelter that day holding her in my arms.

There is one key factor I would change, however. I wouldn’t dump so much of my happiness onto the shoulders of this little dog. I would try to love her without needing her to be happy. That was my mistake. The sadness I’m feeling is more than grief that will fade with time; it’s emptiness. It’s a reminder of a quiet house, a thin social calendar, and not enough to do. It’s the realization of how little I had without this dog, and being overwhelmed with the thought of rebuilding when I don’t feel strong enough.

This year I learned that in order for me to truly manage my pain the responsibility must be mine alone. I can seek treatment and council, but gone are the days of relying on emergency appointments and prescriptions to get me through the rough days, no matter how difficult they may be.

I now realize that the same principle must also be applied to my emotions. I’m not truly happy if I can’t find happiness when things aren’t going as I’d like. This state of being cannot be circumstantial. I would like to think that I would have been able to learn this lesson with Celie dog in my life, but perhaps that was never going to happen.

So, for now, that’s what I have. It’s another piece of this crazy puzzle, and I just need to figure out what to do with it. Thankfully, I’ve signed up for daily meditation basically through the end of the year, so I have a lot of opportunities to mull it over.



  • linda maumus

    Dear Anne- in life there are bad moments and days. you seem to be handling it so well. it’s ok to be angry-I would be. but you’re a stronger person than I am. there are things I will never understand-the short life of Celie dog and your chronic pain comes to mind-and it just doesn’t seem fair. sending love

  • Kenz

    My sweet friend…

    I have missed you and your posts; I have been thinking of you late into the night and into the wee hours of the morning as I feel my dearest Ophie move around at my feet…trying to get comfortable and always touching me. My heart aches for you in a way I cannot express. And at the same time I feel that ache, I feel so much admiration for you + Celie and how life was for the two of you. I hope more than anything that you are able to hold tightly to moments spent with her and lessons taught by her. I know there are many. I also know those may hurt right now.

    You are loved, thought of, and valued, Anne. Your Celie girl will always love you.


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