Today marks 3 months since I said goodbye to my sweet girl, Pork. It feels like just yesterday, but also feels like a lifetime ago already. I truly did not believe anyone when they told me “time heals”. What bullshit. How dare someone tell me I’ll just feel better with some stupid time. Well, newsflash, they were right. While I still cry about her little face not being in arms reach for me at all times at least once a day, my life has truly grown around the grief. Everyone was right.
But while hearing “time heals” a lot, there was one thing my friend said to me the week things went downhill for Pork that has truly stuck with me. And helped me get through those absolutely heartwrenching days. Only live it once.
Only live it once
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I tend to overthink future scenarios. I’m a big “well what if this happens and goes wrong then what?” kind of person. Maybe we all do it, but I found I tend to get ahead of myself, a lot. And when I knew nothing about what was happening with Pork, I would still get ahead of myself. Think the worst. It’s only natural sometimes. For me, I just kept playing in my head having to make the decision to put her down and how hard that would be.
It All Happened So Fast
I couldn’t help but think about it constantly. I’m maybe grateful everything happened so fast at the end. Less time to worry, less time to wonder, less time in the unknown. Looking back that’s definitely something I think I am thankful for. But on the flip side of that, it made me second guess absolutely everything that week because it did happen so fast. What if there were more answers? What if we had other options? There weren’t.
A post-mortem autopsy solidified my decision and brought me great peace on the hardest day of my life. This is not a typical thing and I do not know a single other dog parent who has had this option for themselves. But the veterinarians at the University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital offered me this to help give them answers so they can better treat future animals, and I can not begin to tell you the solace that report and call from her doctor brought me.
But those few days of finding myself spiraling about the worst, I found myself saying those words “only live it once” to myself. Out loud and often. While I would default to thinking the worst constantly, and dreading the day or moment I’d have to decide and feel the pain for real, saying it to myself, especially out loud, brought me back to the moment in front of me. Which was to spend whatever time I had left with Pork hand feeding her treats until her very last snort. It forced me to be more present, and enjoy what I could. And that I am so thankful for.
Easier Said Than Done
While I know it’s easier said than done. I can tell you it makes it easier to fucking say it. Even if it’s out loud. I didn’t have to torture myself in thinking about the worst multiple times a day when I knew down the road, I’d have to experience it regardless. It was going to happen, period. Whether it was that week or years later. But you only have to live it once. As soon as I would find myself spiraling, I’d say it, and I felt an instant shift. Yes, I’d have to say it a lot, but it helped.
And that advice has stuck with me in so many ways. As someone who truly overthinks the future and also daydreams a lot, I am finding myself in my day to day thinking about that statement. I’m anxious to go to Paris, but I’ll figure it out when I’m there. I’ll probably be anxious when I’m trying to navigate the metro forgetting my french and not knowing where I’m really going. I don’t need to stress about it right this second. It’ll happen when it happens.
I also can not begin to tell you how many people have said to me “I think about my dog passing away all the time, it makes me so sad”. Friends, please, soak it in while you have them. There is no benefit to being sad about something you have yet to experience because all you’re doing is simply taking away the joy from the moment right in front of you.