Grief Abroad

Thoughts from Alanna…

Losing a pet abroad is horrible. Let’s just get that out of the way.

This post is self-serving so if you want to skip it, that’s okay. Writing helps me deal with issues and I need to grieve, so here we go.

Experiencing loss while living abroad, or even away from home, is awful. A few months ago, my beautiful dog Jack back in Canada had to be put to sleep. It was unexpected, horrendous and so quick that I couldn’t come home to say goodbye.

How do you deal with loss without saying goodbye? Without one last cuddle or hike together?

On top of the enormous weight of sadness and loss, I feel the added burden of guilt. I wasn’t there when he was getting sick. I wasn’t there to say goodbye or be by his side when it happened. By choosing to live in England, I left him behind.

Basically there’s a lot of feels going on.

I know he’s “just a dog” and I won’t get into all the ways he was lovely, but it still hurts and it’s still hard.

Talking about him helps, whether it be friends or family or my boyfriend. Remembering funny stories helps, too, like when I had to save him from our ravine or how he used to sleep on my Dad’s chest as a baby.

Just keeping his memory out in the open helps get through the pain and remember the good times. I have a polaroid of him from my best friend that lives on my fridge, so I can see him every time I sneak a treat and I have so many pictures of him on my computer.

Losing a pet is hard, I’ve been through it before. Losing my pup while living in England feels so much harder.

I know it’ll take awhile before I can openly talk about him in public without my voice wavering, but I’ll get there. Even though I feel horrendous, I know that he knew I loved him and I will be forever grateful for having him in my life, even though it never seems long enough.

And I know he’s waiting for me somewhere, bum wiggling and tail wagging.

A shaggy black dog gets a chin scratch while laying at home