Trying to Move On

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Registered: 05-28-2008
Trying to Move On
5
Sun, 06-08-2008 - 3:33pm

What a rough couple of weeks this has been. I've gotten so little real work done but luckily have had some large sales so I feel I can allow myself this time off to try and heal. There's just so much I want to do to honor my beloved Taz, so much work yet to do. I have so many videos to capture onto my computer and put onto YouTube still, and I want to eventually put together a "tribute" video with lots of photos and video clips of him, but that's a LOT of work to do. My big project is creating a memory book for him. I started working on one using the book creator software from blurb.com but really wanted more creativity so am using my own digital layout software to do the pages, but it's a LOT of work, and will easily take me months to finish it. I spent all day yesterday scanning all the photos I have of him, and now have a total of 200+ that I need to go through and clean up in my photo editing software in order to be ready to use. I still want to take photos of things like his biggest trophies and ribbons to include as well, many of which were packed away in storage. I've been keeping a journal so when I remember something I can write it down, and it's amazing how many memories have come churning up that I hadn't thought of in years. But I will have to sit down and type all this up in a coherent form and integrate all that into the book, as well as the 100+ messages of condolence I've gotten from all my family, friends and other fans of his (probably won't use all of them, I have to pay by the page!) Keeping my mind busy does keep my emotions at bay a bit, but I'm still not to the point where I can really think of all these things we did and not just feel choked up with the loss and absence of him. A big part of me doesn't really want to move on, and accept that I really can survive just fine without him. I dread the thought of not being able to really remember him, the way it's hard to remember my first sheltie that I lost 10 years ago. You know, where you can so clearly picture them in your mind and remember them being there. I don't want that to ever go away.






Taz, Dearly loved by Mary Jo, 4/28/95-5/25/08

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Registered: 05-22-2008
In reply to: mjsmink
Wed, 06-11-2008 - 1:15pm
Hello ~ I hope you are doing well...
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Registered: 05-28-2008
In reply to: mjsmink
Wed, 06-11-2008 - 7:07pm

Hi Susan...I expect that we all have regrets whenever a loved one is lost, particularly when it is sudden as it was for Taz. For all the wonderful video and photos I have of him, there are many things I never got photos or video of that I so wish that I had. I never got any video of him herding sheep for instance, or rounding up my mom's bunnies. No photos or video at all of him in obedience (I had ordered a photo when he won a class at a show but never got it). No photos from musical freestyle and I only have video captures from his TV appearances which are pretty crappy. And it's funny, I do a lot of photography but I often don't take the time to groom my own dogs and take good photos of them, so I really only have a handful of really nice shots of him. Still, probably more than most people have!

And it's funny how things work out that we can look back on and be thankful for. Because they needed some video of his tricks for the TV show we did just weeks before I lost him, I took the time to film some of his tricks that I had not ever filmed before, and did a really cute video of all of them for YouTube and that they used on the show. To have video of him just a month before he died, that's pretty special. On top of that, a couple months ago a talent agent had contacted me about needing an older sheltie for a movie with Uma Thurman that would be filming in NYC. They needed some nice photos, so I took the time to brush him and take some nice portrait shots and there's one in particular that is one of my favorite photos I've ever taken of him. Had I not been contacted about that job (the first I'd been asked about in years!) I would never have taken the time to do those. And while I was disappointed at not getting the gig (Taz didn't look old enough they said!) it ended up being for the best, as he would have died before they finished filming his scenes.

I'm sorry to hear you don't have a computer...you can get one really cheap these days, maybe you could look into that? If not, there are places you can send photos to and have them work up a slideshow for you. I do think there's nothing like doing it yourself though. I am going to be working for a couple months at least on the book I'm planning for Taz, but I want something really special that I can enjoy and look through and remember him the rest of my life.






Taz, Dearly loved by Mary Jo, 4/28/95-5/25/08

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Registered: 05-28-2008
In reply to: mjsmink
Wed, 06-11-2008 - 8:02pm
Oh a couple things I wanted to add. I so know what you mean about not wanting to feel better, about not wanting to get to a place where you feel you are okay with them being gone. Personally I can't imagine ever being okay with him being gone, but I do sometimes feel like when I've had a day where I'm feeling happy or laughing at something on TV, that it's not right, it's too soon, I shouldn't get over it that easy. Of course, then some little thing will remind me of him and I'll realize, I am not the least bit over it yet. So I think these are all very normal feelings while you are grieving such a big loss.


As for whether it makes it harder that so many people knew Taz and how special he was...oh not at all! It has been so wonderful to hear from so many people that had seen him or known him or just read his page and were touched by his story. I think that's part of the process of losing someone special, you want everyone to know how special they were and to celebrate their life with you. We do that with people by having memorial services for them, but with pets a lot of times you feel like no one really understands how truly special your precious furbaby was, and that is definitely something that I do not have to worry about. And it was part of why I loved him so much, because of how much he opened my world and brought other people into it. There are so many friends I have that I simply would not have had without Taz. So many people I met in agility and flyball that are still good friends to this day. My friend in flyball that took care of him when I recently took a trip and was one of the first that I called with the news...she sent me a little bonsai tree to remember him. I got to be great friends with the woman that got his brother from the same litter (they looked like twins too!) and another friend of mine is the only US agility handler to win a Gold All-Around at Worlds, I could never come close to matching what she has done, but she still thinks Taz is the most amazing dog ever and loves to tell people about how he dragged a yellow pages across the floor when we were in a hotel room because I needed to look up a number! Even just losing him, I've made some new friends. A woman I know that also trains trick dogs and was on Pet Star as well a few times and lost her own "heart" dog very suddenly and too young has been emailing me a lot, sharing her experiences and thoughts and all the things she went through and we've really become a lot closer and are already planning to get together and let our young dogs have some playtime together too. I really am so blessed to have had such an extraordinary dog if only for a short time and to have been able to share his life with so many people.








Taz, Dearly loved by Mary Jo, 4/28/95-5/25/08

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Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: mjsmink
Wed, 06-11-2008 - 8:53pm

{{{Mary Jo}}}

With my heart,
 
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Registered: 05-28-2008
In reply to: mjsmink
Fri, 06-13-2008 - 3:46pm

Thanks Lin for your sweet message, I've not been able to post here for a couple days as they have been really really hard for me. I thought I might get something out of joining a support group for HSA (the type of cancer we think took Taz) but found that instead I just couldn't handle everyone talking about the time they had with their dogs after diagnosis, the steps they took to prolong their lives, etc. It just hurt me all the more to not have had that with Taz, and to wonder if I should have tried to at least do blood transfusions and revive him enough to at least spend a few last hours with him, maybe evaluate if surgery would have been possible, etc. All the things I thought I was at peace with not doing just all came churning back up and I had to leave the list and try to get some sanity back. Although ironically another HSA owner posted, they also had a 13-year-old dog and were having to decide whether or not to do surgery, and were leaning towards not doing it, but having all these feelings about whether they should keep fighting and do whatever it took to prolong their dog's life as long as he still seemed otherwise strong and healthy. I sent some emails to them to try and help them in the decision and realized I was also answering my own questions. Here's a bit of what I sent (slightly reworded to make sense taken out of context), maybe it might help someone else here that is dealing with the same questions and guilt that I am:

"We, as human beings, are so fortunate to have the opportunity to help our furbabies transition from a physical form to a spiritual form, but there are also times when it is a mixed blessing for sure, and we are faced with a very difficult decision of when to proceed with heroic measures and when it is time to let go. With people, I think this decision often far more clear and any surgery that would be needed would generally be done to extend someone's life, particularly if they have the mental capability to state their wishes. People often need that time to deal with unfinished business, to feel like they did something meaningful before they died, etc. With our furbabies, we have to try and determine that all on our own and guess what they might want, but it's hard to do that without putting our own emotions on them. If they had the decision, would they want to go through a painful surgery for maybe just a few more months of life? It's hard to say, because they really do just live day to day, they don't look back and regret or need to get something more out of tomorrow that they didn't do today. I do know that my dog though would do anything that would make me happy, no matter what it took, he would have wanted to be there for me if it made me feel better. Had I decided to proceed and we didn't have any success I am sure I would be feeling guilty about that just as much, but I know he would have understood my need to do it and would have been willing to fight for the end for me. But my having him for a few more months wouldn't make my grief over losing him any less either...it would just delay it a little longer. So that's the thought I personally cling to in my moments of doubt and guilt over the decision I made, that I didn't take anything away from him that he really needed, it's just that we as humans often feel the need for some time to say goodbye and spend those last special moments. So in the end, my pain and guilt is more for myself, than for him, and knowing that makes it easier to accept."






Taz, Dearly loved by Mary Jo, 4/28/95-5/25/08

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