I’ve been thinking a lot about grief the last few days. Winston’s sudden and unexpected passing was a gut punch like none I’ve ever experienced.
I’ve been lucky (as such) that my grandparents all passed expectedly. They had health issues, were old. The grieving process was protracted. Months in most cases. So when the end came, it was a mix of sadness and relief. Their suffering had come to an end. My parents are healthy and well, and I look forward to many more years with them.
Terrance and Philip, my best buds, each passed similarly. Both grew old, though not old enough IMO. Health issues came upon them, and when they passed (with an appointment at the vet), the grief wasn’t as sharp. I’d prepared myself. I’d said “goodbye” and “I love you” a lot and knew both were not having a good life any longer. Their ends were as much a relief as anything else. Their suffering was over, they were one with the Force.
Don’t get me wrong. I cried in all these scenarios, a lot.
Winston was different. Earlier that day, he and his brother were piled on my lap for cuddles and petting. That night he laid on his pillow near the kitchen island and watched us eat dinner. As we were watching TV he got up and went outside to potty, and came back in. Then he died. In the span of two minutes, he went from getting comfortable next to Nicole to making his last noise, a drawn-out groan/whine. Then he was gone. We still raced to the ER, but he was gone. I was next to him on the couch when his last breath came. My heart shattered.
The next day was the worst in my life (to date). I suppose second worse, given the night before. I cried, a lot. So much I gave myself an allergy attack or something so I was crying and sniffling and my nose was a snot faucet. Good times. It wasn’t pretty.
That night I turned the TV on, and the episode of Bull we had started the night before started playing where it left off. When Winston made his noise, I hit pause, and the rest of the night was a blur. By the time we got home, the TV had turned itself off.
Winston wasn’t that old; as far as we knew from his vet, he was healthy. His departure wasn’t planned or hinted at. There was no mourning him in advance. I never said my “goodbyes” and “I love yous” in advance. I know he knew we loved him. He had a good life full of treats and hugs. But still, I’d give anything for 5 or more years so I could say it a lot more.
The second day was better so far. I still expected him to walk by my office on his way to lay in the sun on the back patio to zip out and back in from going potty as fast as he could because it’s cold out. He hated being outside in the cold. His food bowl is still next to the water dispenser thing. It might be there a while.
This post is about me, writing about it helps get the pain out. I know it’s worse for Nicole. Winston was her little man.
I know with each passing day that will fade. My mind will get used to his absence and no longer expect to see him; I both look forward to that time and dread it because then he’ll really be gone.