Goodbyes are hard


Our little Sydney didn't make it. A week after we learned he was dying, he quietly died in my husband's arms. I never got to see him again.

It will be a sad spring. He was this constant, faithful presence during all of our shared history, and it's so strange to look to the years ahead and realize there will be no little white dog trotting along on our family adventures.

I was reflecting on why the loss of a little dog should hit me so hard. When I am so surrounded by love, and family, and children, why is there now a huge hole in my heart? Children have their own place in our lives – but they grow, they are strong, they develop their own lives. Every day they are metamorphosing into new, vibrant beings. Someday they will leave, and that is the natural order of things; that is as it should be. 

A dog is constant. A dog never changes, really, except to grow old, and they depend on us all their lives. A dog reminds us of what matters most in life: friendship, faithfulness, simplicity, unfettered joy, unconditional love, and forgiveness. We miss our Sydney so much.

A Poem For the Grieving 

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there, I did not die.


23 thoughts on “Goodbyes are hard

  1. Margaret Pollak

    Our family dog died a year after my grandfather and I feel terrible saying this, but her loss was even harder on us than that of my grandfather. There’s something about a loving presence being with you every single minute of every single day and when you no longer have it, it’s just heartbreaking. I still miss Pandora.
    I’m so sorry to hear about Sydney, but it sounds like you loved her well and will remember her always.

  2. Jennifer Margulis

    I’m so so sorry that Sydney died. I think you will miss him for a long time, maybe even forever. I hope you’ll be kind to yourself. Even surrounded by love, you are allowed to grieve for as long as you need to. He sounds like he was so special. I wish I could get him back for you. That’s a wonderful, beautiful poem.

  3. emily

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. May your sweet memories of Sydney be a comfort to you during this sad time. My heart is with you.

  4. Leah

    I am so sorry for your loss!! I got very misty reading your post, as you really hit the nail on the head as far as a dog role in our lives! I really hope that your heart will mend soon! Try to remember the good times 🙂

  5. MyKidsEatSquid

    I’m so sorry. Dogs really do become part of the family. My kids get upset when their teachers won’t let them include the dog in family pictures that they draw at school. Thankfully, though, it sounds like Sydney had a happy life with a loving family.

  6. Cassi

    I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I understand how devastating it is to lose a pet and the hole that it leaves in your heart. Thinking of you.

  7. banu

    I am really so sorry for sydney,I understand you, I lost also my lovely Pax years and years ago and we were really so sad and we never forget him. Now Bidik is my little doggy. They are the real truehearted of our lifes.What can I say more….

  8. Bodhihouse

    I am so sorry for your loss. I want to thank you for sharing your sweet story. We have 2 dogs that mean the world to my family and I know that it will be hard to say goodbye when the time comes, but your story has made me re-think what saying goodbye means.

  9. Beth @ Upper West Side Mom

    Our dog Sally died when D was about Anna’s age. She was really sick and we kept her alive long after we should have. This sounds so silly to say but at least he didn’t suffer for a long time.
    We got a new dog this fall and Molly, our new dog, is a black and tan hound mix like Sally was. At first I was worried that every time I looked at her I would be sad but that’s not the case. Molly sometimes reminds me of Sally but in a really sweet way.

  10. Sheryl

    I know how sad this is. I’ve lost so many dogs through the years and each time it hurts just as much as the time before. You’re right; dogs are a constant and always with us; kids grow into independent beings. I’m hoping, then, you can keep your special dog always in your heart.

  11. Michele

    I’m so sorry, Christine! Sydney really sounds like a wonderful dog and I understand the special place they can have in the family. Thinking of you and the kids.

  12. ejorpin

    Heartbreaking – so sorry for your loss. It is surprising how hard the loss of a pet can hit us, but it does, and you have summed up why so beautifully.
    Our two mutts have travelled with us from Sydney to Hong Kong, next stop Seoul – and they are indeed a constant. There is something so comforting and grounding about patting a devoted hound while they sit next to you on the couch, especially when the rest of the world seems to constantly shift and change…
    My thoughts are with you x

  13. Nancy

    I am so, so sorry to hear about your Sydney. May the beautiful memories help you though this tough time.

  14. Ellen

    Just found you via Crafty Crow – it is difficult to lose a beloved member of the family. I’m sorry to hear about Sydney and how especially quick it was. Hope you and your children can focus on the good times you had with him.

  15. Meredith

    I just read this post. I’m so sorry to hear about your little Sydney. I have the exact same poem on the back of the frame that holds the photo of our first greyhound, Lacy. It’s brought me so much comfort. I’m a believer in the Rainbow Bridge, too. It also brought me a lot of comfort in the early months after she passed. Thinking of you.

  16. Babette

    My heart breaks for you and your family. I know how hard this is. What wonderful additions dogs are to our families and how we miss them. My thoughts are with you. Thanks for sharing the poem.

  17. Alisa Bowman

    Og there is something about pets. I think it’s become their love is so unconditional. And they are all so different. No two are the same. So they can’t just be replaced. Sorry for your loss!

  18. Candace

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My partner’s dogs have become our dogs too, and last night Greta (a Dobie) slept between my two children for the first time. It was so touching. I honor your grief and the role Sydney played as a very important part of your family.

  19. Sharon Waldrop

    I am so sorry to hear that you lost Sydney. It is very difficult to lose a member of the family and I am sending you a heartfelt hug!


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