I’ve been staring at this text box for a while, trying to find the words to say. It’s not the blog post I wanted to write, especially not this soon. I will keep this short because thinking about everything too long brings that lump in my throat. I try to go on about my day without thinking too hard and letting all the memories come to me naturally. Before I go on, I want you all to know how grateful and incredibly fortunate I feel to have so much love and prayers poured into me these past few days. I believe in the power of prayer, and I feel every bit of it while we try to heal.
As many of you heard, I lost Grumples to a silent Cancer on Monday. How does the sweetest and most energetic dog just get taken from this earth so suddenly? I think that was the hardest part to understand.
I’m not ready to write a story about how it all happened because I’m trying to move forward, and it pains me. Grumples passed away from hemangiosarcoma. In his case, the tumor planted itself on his spleen and ruptured, forcing us to make a gut-wrenching decision that day. The survival rate is usually 3-6 months after surgery and while going through chemotherapy. Grumples lived the absolute BEST ten years of his life. He was never in pain, and I didn’t want his last few months to be painful and scary for him.
Grumples was weak but strong enough to know who I was, and I spent a few hours talking and praying with him in a room at the animal hospital. Kyle and I told him stories, made promises with him, and prayed over him so many times. I asked him if he wanted to fight this, and I asked him to give me a sign when he was ready because I was never going to be ready. While Kyle and I held hands and prayed over him once again, he looked up and licked both of our faces and then rested his head back down into my lap. We both knew at that moment that was God helping him let us know that he was ready.
The hardest part is being afraid of what death will be like for our pets. One of the most important things you can do for your pet is to be with them on their last breath. I think it’s helped me in this healing process. Grumples was still laying his head in my lap, and I kept looking him in the eyes and talking to him. I prayed that God would help me be strong in this moment. I rested his head in my palms, and I rubbed his eyes and said I love you so much, and I’m going to see you so soon, and I kissed him. I made sure to keep looking into his eyes as he fell asleep. I was scared of this moment because I didn’t know how long it would take or if he would be in any pain. He went so peacefully in my arms, within seconds. Please, if anything, be with your dog or cat in their last moment of life. It will add a bit of comfort to your healing process. This was so hard to write, but I think it’s so important.
The next few days are the most painful. It’s important to cry, get mad, let everything out, and never bottle it up. Just when you think you can go a few hours without crying, the tears come back when little reminders show up. Often, we think we need to get rid of all the reminders in the house to heal, but I don’t think that’s a healthy way to grieve. I want to face him everywhere. I put my favorite pictures up, his paw print stones are on my counter, and his bed will always be next to me, and if Leo wants to lay there, he can. I don’t want to forget him to make it easier. I want to remember him so much that those memories of him soon turn to laughter. I have so many reminders of him, and I want to keep it that way. He was my first dog, my best friend, and he got me through some of the darkest times in my life.
Grumples loved food. That boy could eat! He loved chasing bubbles in the backyard, all he wanted to do was sit on the porch, especially with his Grandma, and he loved chasing bees! He always gave me a heart attack when he caught one. He loved going for car rides to bark at cows, stealing the tops of ice cream cones, and he always wanted to be rubbed. He loved playing with his brother, and it scared me how hard they would play. He and Leo were two doods in a pod.
A kick to the heart is how Leo is doing. Leo doesn’t know anything other than having his big brother around to play with, torment, and steal food from. Grumples didn’t like very many dogs, but he instantly fell in love with Leo. I’m doing everything in my power to keep Leo busy. Even though I want to curl up in a ball and cry, I’m making sure to walk him, play with him, cuddle with him, and do everything I can to keep him from heavy grieving. He’s starting to look around, losing a bit of interest in play, and seems confused. Leo has always been a happy and energetic dog, so I know he’s going to bounce back and be himself again. One of the things we did while having Grumples was leave Leo home with him all the time. Grumples didn’t do too well in public, so we didn’t take Leo too many please because we felt bad. Now, we are going to pour our hearts and attention into Leo. He’s going to be going everywhere with me, going on walks, restaurants, pet-friendly stores, and we also made the easy decision to have him at our wedding now. He’ll be coming with us, and I know he’s going to look so dapper in his suit. Leo is so important to me because he gave Grumples the best companionship, and I think he kept him younger.
It’s really hard not to feel guilty about laughing or fighting the urge just to shut everyone out. That’s not how Grumples would have wanted me to be. In fact, if I were crying, Grumples would always bark at me to tell me to knock it off. I’m going to do everything I can to move forward, try to smile, and live each moment thoughtfully as if he’s watching me.
In honor of Grumples, I will work hard at advocating for other pets who are fighting cancer. The Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that funds science and advances the health of animals around the world. Their studies have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments, and preventions to benefit animals worldwide. I’m so excited to share that we hit the $1000 goal to honor Grumples yesterday. It’s not too late to donate, and even $1 helps. All donations will be doubled up until June! It’s an incredible cause, and I want to continue to help other pets. A big thank you to everyone who donated. It means the absolute world to me; all of your messages about Grumples made my heart feel so warm. He was so loved by everyone, and I bet he felt that. Now that our local shelter is slowly getting back to normal, I will get out more to volunteer. I think Grumples is up there pushing me to be better. I feel that.
I will continue to work on my healing and moving forward with all the good things in life to come, but I will never forget Grumples for one minute of it. I truly love all of you, and I’m so grateful you got to be here with me during all of the years we spent with my sweet GG.
If you are struggling with grief or recently lost a loved one, I want to share an article that Kyle shared with me. My heart goes out to you, and I pray you have the healing you need to smile a little more each day.
I love you so much, Grumples.Luke 3:6 “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”