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Everyone knows the feeling—that painful feeling when you lose your beloved pet.
You have to let it go forever. Unfortunately, I also had to live this painful experience. Last August, I said goodbye to my Flash. He was a French Bulldog. His loss was unbearable for me because he was my best friend, my purpose in life, my everything.
However, I was fortunate to have the wonderful mental support of my dear friend actress, Rachael Carpani, from the time I made the decision to put him to sleep until now. She had had the same experience years before and so helped me through this difficult time.
I had to internalize a lot of things myself first and also become aware of them. Dogs live in the here and now. They do not think about what was yesterday or what tomorrow could be. They live in this very moment, and nothing else matters. It is our job as their so-called herd leader to make sure that they are doing well and also to look after them when they are doing badly and in pain. They themselves don’t know what to do in such a situation, but they know that we do something about it for them.
Of course, it doesn’t make a dog miss you any less, but it does make it a little easier. With time it becomes more bearable. You learn to live with the fact that an important part of your life is missing. I had to fight hard with the parting, made myself reproaches whether it was the right decision. Rachael had the right words for me, “Flash knows and expects because of his life experience that you take care of him. All he knows is that you can fix this. It’s brave to make that decision. Flash, just go take a long nap!”
As banal as these words sounded to me at first, they are actually logical. I began to understand that no matter how much I sank into grief, it would not bring Flash back to me. While it was a brave decision, it was also the hardest one I’ve had to make. But I am not alone in such a loss.
We have memories that stay with us—but which also bring sadness at the same time—because every new memory I create will never happen again with Flash. He will no longer do this or that. But I have those very memories with him, which I will never experience with anyone else the way I do with him.
The loss had me much under control for a long time, many nervous breakdowns I had to live through, often phrases popped into my head like, “Flash, why didn’t you take me with you?”
Rachael knew how to help me without probably realizing it. She had touching words for me, followed by uplifting ones. I had to get back to taking care of myself. “Flash can’t see you, but if he could, what would he want you to do?”
Exactly! He wouldn’t want to see me so sad.
Over and over, I tried to internalize just that—that he was happy when I was too.
“The memory stays and doesn’t go away. It’s about you now, what I want you to do to take care of yourself. That would make Flash happy too if he was here. He’s fine, you don’t have to worry about him.”
These conversations did incredible good and helped me more and more to deal with the loss, to bear the pain, and to know that he was better where he was now. He was no longer in pain.
She was an incredible mental support in this case, and I am grateful for her to this day.
“Make yourself happy, do something that makes you happy. Because you are important. Do things that make you laugh, you get to laugh and you get to smile.”
She was absolutely right, and in fact, it made me feel better and better. I was able to bear the loss better and better, talk about it more easily, and pass on the advice she gave me to others.
“If Flash was sitting in front of you, he’d be like ‘why isn’t she smiling?’ Because Flash is happy.”
To this day, such soothing words from a dear friend are priceless and valuable. Perhaps, without this mental support, I would have been broken by his death. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that I want to pass on all the loving advice to you, you out there, who are reading these lines right now. As much as the loss hurts, our lives go on. We are allowed to grieve, and everyone does it in their own way and for different lengths of time. Everyone takes the time they need.
Thank you Rachael for being my rock during this time.
Thank you for being such a great friend.
All the best for you all.