Athletics Magazine

What Remains

By Brisdon @shutuprun

So strange the things you find comfort in.

This morning I went for a run – of course I did.  As I came to a familiar corner, I saw two dogs in the yard. They were both black Cocker Spaniels, one who looked freakishly like Lucky (except he was not nearly as cute and had four legs and two eyes – boring). I stopped to check them out. We all handle things differently, and someone else might have found it too painful to stop and say “Hi ,” But, for me, seeing these two dogs running, playing and barking brought me comfort and made me smile. Maybe they reminded me of a healthy Lucky before tumors and diseases and old age.

I just picked up Lucky’s remains. For now I am keeping them close by on his empty bed, beside me.


That’s a small amount of remains for a 22 lb. doggie. Morbid? I don’t know. Depressing? Sure. It feels right for the moment. The box is sweet, but doesn’t suit who he was. Need to find another urn or something for his ashes. Picking them up somehow made it all the more final. The assistant’s voice choked up as she said, “I know he had a long and good life.” “Yes,” I said through tears. “He did.”

The water in his bowl was full on Saturday. Now it is evaporating and for some reason the stupid disappearing of that water pisses me off. I feel like that symbolizes him leaving us for real. Weird how you find meaning in odd stuff when you lose someone.

Every day is a tiny bit better. The worst is forgetting and expecting him to be there when he’s not.  Sometimes it all seems surreal and I’m reminded that grieving is such a process. The thing is, grief does not have to be about losing a pet or person. It can be about non living things like:

  • The inability to run due to injury
  • Moving away from a place
  • A relationship ending
  • Getting laid off
  • Receiving a scary diagnosis

It all counts as a major grief/loss and we move through it similarly (stages here). It’s not linear though. You might bounce back and forth between stages for a long time. If I had to pinpoint, I’d say I skipped ahead pretty quickly to stage four:

Depression – Bloody hell. This is really happening. I feel sad. No shit! Is my reaction appropriate for the circumstances? Hell yes. So, I take it in, sit with it, make no apologies.

Although last night I was in stage three:

Bargaining –  What if I had done it differently? If only I had done it differently. Can't we just go back in time and forget this whole thing? I have to be careful here to not blame myself. Let the guilt go. I did my best with the information I had at the time.

Someday I’ll find myself at five:

Acceptance – It happened. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, but it happened. I’ve now got a new reality and one that will take time to adjust to.  Sometimes this just means having more good days than bad ones.

There you go. Textbook Psych 101.  What a fun past few days it’s been. Maybe I’ll go fill up the water bowl.

What kind of grief/loss do you find on your plate right now?


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