I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the struggle that is learning to let go of things. I have always struggled with wanting to hold onto things. Some people, like my sister, would describe my habits as one day becoming a hoarder. My problem is that I attach memories and sentimental value to nearly everything. I have this really terrifying, somewhat irrational, fear that one day I’ll forget everything I know and will need items to serve as reminders. It is something I am working on getting better at. Then, life decided it was definitely time to think about the concept by forcing me into a position where I would have to let go despite the crushing feeling surrounding my entire body.
I don’t want to fully go into what all happened, because I’m not emotionally strong enough to make myself go through that yet, but on Wednesday, April 4 I had to put my dog to sleep. It was one of the hardest experiences I have had to go through. I had been struggling to accept the fact that he’s been deteriorating for about a month now, and when the time came that I had to face reality that night I was in shock. I had to realize that the pain he was facing wasn’t going to go away on its own and we had to let him go.
It’s been 3 days and I’ve gone through a lot of emotions in trying to cope with it all. My brain’s natural reaction when bad things happen is to numb m memory and pretend like it actually didn’t, so it’s the reminders of seeing where his bed used to be or not having to take him out on a walk first thing in the morning that brings tears to my eyes and a closing sensation to my throat.
I’ve been trying to hold on to what I can by keeping his collar in my room & photos of him at my desk at work and on my phone. There is a healthy balance though that has to come between holding on & letting go. My instinct is to want to keep his bowls where they were and not clean up the dog hair from the living room floor, but I know those are relatively insignificant things that aren’t important to hold on to. Having his bowls in the kitchen isn’t going to bring him back, but having his collar or name tag near me brings a sense of comfort in the remembering. I’m still trying to figure out what I can do with his collar to help me remember by either making a keychain or necklace out of his tag.
It was hard to let Buddy go because it was like I was letting a piece of my uncle go as well. Buddy was my uncle’s dog who we took home after my uncle unexpectedly passed away. Having Buddy with us made that horrible time during my life better. Having him to take care of and love on made each day brighter. It was like having part of my uncle’s life with me all the time. There were so many memories involved with Buddy it was extra hard to come to grasp with not having him anymore.
There is a constant struggle between deciding what (or who) to let go of and what is worthy to hold on to. It varies from person to person & situation & there is no right or wrong answer. Maintaining a good relationship with letting things go lessens an emotional strain & lessens the clutter that you could accumulate in your lifetime. We have to have a healthy relationship with letting things go in order to stay healthy both emotionally & physically. It’s nice to have things that bring memories to us, but too many of a good thing is a bad thing in all situations.
I now know that in Buddy’s situation, letting go was the right call to make. Even though it hurt worse than I could have ever imagined for me & my family to go through (& still is a giant ache in my heart right now), I know he is now in Heaven with his dad (my uncle Bobby) eating all the pizza, peanut butter, and Dairy Queen Dilly Bars that he can hold. His vision has been restored and muscles made brand new to run & play. It must have been a glorious reunion and I smile thinking about the day that I will join them again.
It’s been a hard week & I know it has been just as hard or harder for many others, so leave any prayer requests in the comments.
You are loved.