The guilt...its always there

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-28-2009
The guilt...its always there
4
Sat, 05-29-2010 - 1:45pm
Its been a year and a half since my sweet Brutus passed away. I've had many pets throughout my life but he was special above the rest. A big strong dog who felt compelled to protect me physically and emotionally. Incredibly intelligent and perceptive, he was so attuned to facial expressions. Whenever he saw me sad, immediately he would try to do something about it...licking the tears off my face or just looking into my face with such sympathy and care in his eyes. And, he loved to make me laugh. He would do these crazy-dog routines and the more I laughed the more he would ham it up...and it would always end with him panting looking up at me with a big smile on his face. I saved him from the dog pound but in the end it was he who saved me. He got me through an abusive marriage, literally protecting me at times. During the illness and death of my mother I isolated myself and would have gone mad had it not been for that caring sympathetic way of his, always there...always attentive. And then he was there again through the turmoil of my divorce. He was a shining light through those dark times. And after he got me through that darkness, after I had healed... he left this world, as if his mission was over. He was nine years old and still strong and youthful in spirit. There had been no warning of the tumors spreading on his liver and spleen until one night they ruptured and left him dead. The vet said if we had known, there was little that could have been done. The cancer he had was quick and agressive, having formed and spread within a few months time. To this day, that does little to console me. The guilt I feel never subsides. Not only for not having known he was sick, but also for not having been with him the last 6 months of his life. I had moved half way around the world. Sure, I had plans to come back for him, bring him there...and foolishly thought I had time. The day after I arrived home to visit (after having been gone for 6 months) he died. I am thankful that at least I had one more day with him. Had he died while I was gone it would have been much worse. People who knew the two of us and our bond said it was as if he had been waiting for me. Still, everyday, the guilt eats at me. This wonderful being who had been there for me in my darkest times, and in the end I was not there for him. Sure, he was happy at my father's house and well cared for, but the guilt is still there. And, it was not the first time I had left him. Another time, I followed my then husband across the country to try to save our marriage...leaving by sweet Brutus behind. Now, I wish I would have savored everyday with him that he was alive on this earth. And, I wish he had never known the feeling of being abandoned by me. Thank God he got to see me come back for him again before he died. But, still the guilt consumes me.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2008
Sat, 05-29-2010 - 2:55pm
Hello Dear Brutus' Mom:
I am so sorry for the sad loss of your friend Brutus.
How I feel for you! It is hard enough to bear the loss of a beloved pet, but the evil guilt really gets at you and endures long past the tears.
I lost my dear little Yorkie 18 months ago at 11.5 years to sudden kidney disease (she was so fit and well and I never knew she was sick until she was so near the end) and will for ever feel guilt about letting her go, as she was in so much discomfort and pain. At the time I just thought about her and what she was going through, but very soon after the guilt took over - and it never goes away totally; you always think you could have done more or something different.
We can only console ourselves with the knowledge that we loved our babies and we did what we thought was best for them. I am sure that when you were away Brutus had a great and happy time, so no need for guilt there. How incredible that he waited for you to come home to pass away - now that is true love for you. He did not want you to feel guilt and that is why he waited.
So just think of the wonderful times you had together and the sensitive support he gave you in your hours of need. He is happy now playing over the Rainbow Bridge, and will let you know in some way that he is fine. So watch for signs!!!
Warmest wishes,
Marge
Avatar for cl_whispersmom
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 05-30-2010 - 2:46pm

{{{^Brutus'^ Mom}}}

With my heart,
 
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-28-2009
Sun, 06-06-2010 - 3:42pm
Thank you Minnimarg and Whispersmom. It is truly nice to read compassionate words from others who really understand how I feel. Minnimarg, I'm so sorry that you had to make the ultimate hard choice with your little one. Like Whispersmom, the pain from the shock over losing Brutus so suddenly was overwhelming. But, I know it would even harder to see him slowly deteriorate and suffer. To see the vitality and vigor lost from that strong proud creature would have been to much to bear. I live in Africa now and have a fantastic life here...I'm really living out my dreams, but the there is so much regret over having chosen to come here rather than staying with him for every day he was on this earth. I wish I could go back in time, and make a different choice. Yes, my head tells me the outcome would've been the same. But, it makes the good things in my life in the present feel bittersweet and sometimes hard to appreciate. And, then yesterday something special happened, perhaps a sign indeed. I came across a movie for sale called Hachi. Having been abroad I'd never heard of it and the jacket cover didn't say what it was about. It floored me with emotion that film, there were so many parallels to my story. Like the film, Brutus was an Akita and he had come to me as a puppy in a strange and mysterious way..abandoned and lost. He had so many of the same behaviors and traits. But, most of all the, what really touched my soul was the movie's main point...a true story about a dog who greets his owner at the train station everyday when he comes home from work. One day the owner dies and doesn't come home, but for the next 9 years Hachi returns to the train station everyday to wait for him. I kept thinking of my Brutus waiting for me to come back before he passed on...it was as if he was communicating to me through this film, telling me not to feel sad but to remember our special bond and his love for me. And, today I could feel his presence....along with a certain peace.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2008
Sun, 06-06-2010 - 4:30pm
Hello:
Your reply is very sweet.
First I am so happy that you have found a great life in Africa. But it is sad that you still feel so much guilt about your lost and dear pet. Your head is right, staying with him would not have changed things. And don't forget he DID wait for you to say goodbye. That was so meaningful.
I will have to get that movie Hachi, it sounds very touching, and I am happy for you that it gave you some peace. Yes it most probably was a sign from Brutus that you should live your life in peace without guilt. You took him in and loved him and he knows it. He is happy now so please do not fret any more, he would not wish that.
Hugs and God bless,
Marge