Making the decision and then saying goodbye to your best friend is so difficult. It’s one of the most selfless things we do, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The only thing that is harder is dealing with the emptiness afterwards. The grief can be overwhelming. Not only do you miss your friend, but if you were dealing with an illness like we were, you miss all the things that you did daily to care for her. All of a sudden you have so much more time, that you really don’t want. You miss the routine of your former life.
It’s the quiet times – early in the morning when I go for my run and in the evening before I go to bed – that are the hardest. This is when I think about what is gone – my best friend, my hiking partner, my tennis ball-loving girl, my shadow and supervisor, and my sweet girl who loved me more than anyone and who I loved beyond measure. I miss not only every little thing about her, but the life we had together – the weekly adventures and the bond we had. It’s been nearly 6 months and I still have moments of complete emptiness. So how do I deal with it?
Dealing with the Grief
I handle my grief by keeping busy and doing things to memorialize Karlie. I wrote a book about our adventures and created this website. We donated her stroller to a shelter for older dogs. We took memorial hikes to her favorite places. And one last SUP board excursion with her PFD and collar. I purchased a ring made with some of her fur and a bracelet with the date of her last day and nickname. They make me feel like a piece of her is with me. I keep some of her things in a basket with her picture, ashes, and collar on top. I keep them in a special place that I see daily. It makes me happy to see her beautiful smiling face. We also adopted another dog. I’m not sure I was ready, but I’m glad we adopted her. She keeps me busy and makes me smile.
It’s important to know that you probably won’t just get over the loss of your best friend. In fact you likely will never get over it, just learn to live without her. You’ll develop new daily routines and patterns, but still miss the old ones. I’ve found that I have good days and sad days. I can be doing fine and then something reminds me of her. It either brings a smile to my face or makes me sad about what is gone. If you find there are more sad days than good ones it may be time to look into a support group or grief counseling. There are many resources online and in person. Some are listed below. Just know you aren’t alone and find an outlet for your pain – talk to someone, write about it, or find some other way to express your grief.