When I sat down to write this post, I had no idea what to say. I felt at a loss for words. Or rather, I felt at a loss for the right words. How do I put into words the piercing heartache of saying goodbye to not one, but two beloved pets in the family in one weekend? The dear pets were not mine. They were Dear Daughter’s and Dear Son-in-law’s beloved black mutt, Ace and beloved cat, Beamer. You can read the details here, but first grab some tissue.
No, Ace and Beamer were not my pets, but I loved them, as did Dear Hubby. As did our entire family. Years ago, Dear Hubby began referring to all the kids’ pets as our grandchildren. ‘Cuz that’s the way we roll. As I’ve mentioned before, we are a bit pet obsessed in this family. And that’s the way we like it.
Hearing the news about Beamer and then Ace, pierced my heart. My heart aches due to my own sadness; it also aches because Dear Daughter’s heart aches. I cannot fix her pain.
But grief is never something to be fixed.
These new losses also remind me.
This is what losses do, remind you of other losses.
Nearly three years ago, we said goodbye to another dear old dog. More recently, another beloved pet and link to the past was suddenly gone. There have been other losses, and more are coming. Such is the cycle of life and death. The trouble is, with pets that cycle is so darn short.
These fresh losses weren’t unexpected. After all, Ace was 12. That’s old for a big dog like him. Beamer was a senior as well. Both had been having some pretty serious health issues for a while.
And yet, I always hoped there’d be one more visit. One more photo. One more hug. One more stroll. One more toss of a ball. One more howl. One more purr. One more food item to keep out of Beamer’s reach (long story). One more gob of drool to wipe from my pant leg. One more goodbye. One more two-way gaze as we drove away.
And there always was.
Every pet that comes into our lives is special. The sort of bond that forms likely has a lot to do with what is happening in our lives for the decade or so we are privileged to oversee their care.
The bond I had with Ace was special. It was special for a lot of reasons. I was with Dear Daughter the day we drove to a tiny town in Minnesota, picked him up and brought him home to her apartment in Fargo. The entire drive home I sat there thinking, what made you pick this dog?
I mean, he was big. And strong. And unruly. And his eyes seemed too tiny. And he drooled. A lot. And he panted. A lot. And he understood no basic commands. None.
Let’s just say, I had my doubts.
But I was wrong about Ace. Really wrong.
Ace quickly won me over and pretty much everyone else he came in contact with, too, over the last eleven or so years. There was just something about him. He was a better dog than any of us could ever have hoped for.
Of course, Dear Daughter deserves much of the credit for how Ace turned out. Lots of work was involved. And patience. And mostly, love.
They were a good match.
Yes, Ace weaved his way into our hearts. The memories are many. Ace witnessed a lot in the eleven years he was part of this family. He was part of the joyful times, like Dear Daughter’s wedding. And he was part of the sad times, like visiting my mother when she was dying from metastatic breast cancer. He was part of every day, the ordinary and the not so ordinary.
That’s the thing with pets. They witness it all. They witness our highest moments and our lowest. And they love us through it all. They anchor us and help keep us steady.
The bond I had with Beamer was not quite the same as the one I had with Ace. I admit it, I’m more of a dog person. Mostly, I’m still figuring out cats.
But I loved Beamer too. He was one special cat. He had the most beautiful, plush fur coat you could imagine. Like a lion cub in appearance and in heart. That was Beamer.
Once I started writing this post, I realized I didn’t have to have the right words. I didn’t have to say all that’s in my heart. Neither are possible anyway.
All I really need to say right now is, thank you, Ace. Thank you, Beamer. Thank you for the memories.
Mostly, thank you for looking after our girl and for bringing so much joy into her life – into all our lives – for as long as you were able.
We wish you could’ve stayed longer, but understand you just could not.
It breaks our hearts you both left on the very same day. Double the loss. Double the heartache.
And yet, you two going out together feels almost like you planned it, one final gift of comfort you offered, that makes us love (and miss) you even more.
Goodbye, Ace and Beamer.
You were good boys, and I’m gonna miss you.
Read more about Ace and Beamer at ThatMutt.
Have you had to said goodbye to a beloved pet recently, or not so recently?
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Have you ever felt embarrassed by your grief for a pet?