Briefly, On Running and Grief

Published in: Just For Fun

Breathe in, breathe out.



One foot in front of the other.

These are the things I kept repeating to myself on the treadmill this morning.

Breathe. One foot. Keep going.

Everything’s been a little harder than usual since the other day

Haven’t really wanted to eat or exercise, although I tried to run today, and I’ve been sleeping like crap, too.

I thought I’d braced myself mentally for what happened this week, but I guess not. I’m fine most of the time, but then a wave of grief crashes over me; it comes in waves.

I’m okay when I’m focusing on something, like trying to take pretty pictures or writing a blog. I think I’m the kind of person who buries herself in her work when something bad happens… I guess you learn something new about yourself every day.

The minute I stop and let my mind wander, my eyes well up. I’ve been crying at random times, like while getting a glass of water from the kitchen in the middle of the night, standing by the corn chips at Trader Joe’s (that was awkward), sitting in my car yesterday after a pedicure. (It was a good pedi, too. For that one, fleeting hour I felt almost like myself again.)

El Hub holds me and says, “Shauna is in puppy heaven now, playing with all of the good dogs like Kolohe and Bell.” But there’s a hole in my heart.

Even with all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life, all of my faults, she loved me unconditionally, without judgement.

I made myself go for a run this morning even though I really didn’t want to. As I settled into a rhythm, I started thinking about the times Shauna and I ran and played together, her smile, and the last time I looked into her eyes in the backyard, just the two of us, as the wind rustled the apple trees and the wind chimes tinkled.

I stroked her cheeks and whispered to her over and over, “You’re my good, sweet girl. I love you so much.”

At some point on my run, the tears just mixed with the sweat until I couldn’t tell them apart, and I thought to myself how lucky I was to love and be loved like that.

Breathe. One foot. Keep going.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

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  1. Ami S. says:

    My heart goes out to you. Always remember the good times and cherish them for what they were. <3

  2. camille says:

    :(

    <3

    My thoughts and condolences to you and your family. Just reading about this makes me tear up. :(

    I'm glad you went for a run. Distractions help. Exercise helps.

    Keep on swimming. Or, keep on running. She's watching over you now. <3

  3. Aida says:

    Oh Karen, I don’t even know what to say to you… I know words are no comfort. I’m thinking of you <3.

  4. Jen S. says:

    Hugs Karen….I have a 19 yr old terrier mix. I’ve had her since she was 6 weeks old. Had her longer than lots of things, relationships etc. I cried for you when you posted the other day, and am tearing up now. I feel your pain, and will feel more of it one of these days, soon. Your friend…Jen

  5. Katherine M says:

    Running and yoga have always been my saving graces when I am going through a rough time. I am so sorry for your loss and I get in my own way how much grief you can feel over losing a beloved animal friend (I don’t really like the word “pet” because animals are so much more than that to those of us that own or are around them a lot). People who don’t like or hang out with animals don’t get that mutual, unconditional love that you and an animal buddy have for each other. I have never owned my own horse but I loved each horse that I trained (and each barn dog) like my own. Those horses and I were great friends and they were there for me through some rough times.

  6. Gina says:

    There’s no statute of limitations on grief; know your readers offer you countless condolences. I hope your wonderful memories will bring you much joy in due time. :)

  7. RedWeatherTiger says:

    Oh, Karen. Your words rings so true. You have to accept that you will probably feel this way for a long time. There is no quick way through this grief…I am still mourning for a dog who passed away five years ago. And a cat who died last September. And a dear little hairless rat who died just three weeks ago. Yes, a rat. He was our boy, and we love him, and his loss has left us with an empty place. These animals are my heart. Losing them is the worst thing I have ever experienced. I have come to realize that crying in public is not a sin nor a reason for shame. It just is what it is. You are human, and you love your dog. That will never change. But it will become easier in time to cope with her loss. Much love and many hugs to you, dear Karen.

  8. Marian says:

    Karen,
    I’m so sorry. I know how you feel. I lost my Felix last August and I haven’t been able to post here since. Your relationship with Tabs always reminds me. I still read here every day and I will continue to post now.
    At Christmas, I gifted myself with a kitten. He’s a red tabby male and I love him but it’s not the same. There was no pet I ever felt so close with as I did my Felix.

  9. Laure says:

    Karen, I think you’re being really strong and I admire you so much for the way you’re handling the loss of Shauna.

    I agree a thousand times with REDWEATHERTIGER. Grieving is hard, but it will get easier. Maybe not any time soon (every one deals with things in their own time and no one ever has the right to rush you), but every day it’s gonna be a little better (even if it doesn’t feel that way now). One day it won’t hurt so much anymore, though you’ll probably have times where it will hit you all over again. (I know I still do) That’s all part of the grieving process and everybody deals with that differently.
    Anyway, sorry if my rambling is incoherent, this is a subject very close to my heart.

    Take care, Karen.

  10. Ruchita says:

    *hugs* I’m so sorry you’re going through a difficult time now. Pets are family members and are such an amazing and special part of our lives. I hope that things get better over time. Take care.

  11. Anna says:

    Karen, thank you for sharing your life with us readers. Having lost our beloved beagle 3 years ago, my eyes well up with tears as I read your blog and your readers’ stories of similar loss. I admire your strength, vulnerability, resilience, and grace as you mourn Shauna. El Hubs, keep up the great work holding our Karen. Tabs, keep shaking your booty. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Angelique says:

    oh I am sorry with your pet. Pets are like family. I have my own too, she’s a poodle and her name is Barbie. And I could not imagine how terrible would it be losing her. Keep strong and always remember her in good times.

  13. Katrina says:

    Thinking of you. My baby (chocolate lab) has been gone for almost two months and everyday is a journey. I still talk to her and call out her name, it’s so weird that she was here one day and just gone the next. I put all her toys away and my husband just asked me where they were, I told him I couldn’t stand to see them. I had the best 7 years with her but I wanted more. I can only hope that she was a lesson in life and there is more to come for me but it’s hard. I’d take her back in a heartbeat.

  14. Alison says:

    I’m so sorry, Karen. Losing a pet is the hardest thing. I send hugs from Sacramento.

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad that Shauna had your family to love her while she was here.
    BlushandBarbells recently posted … Friday Chaos Blog Hop!

  16. Jackie says:

    Karen, I feel your pain. I had a cat from the age of 3 until I was 18. I literally grew up with her and she was a part of the family. I still remember when she was found outside when she was a kitten and once I saw her I begged my mother to keep her…at 3! It was an immediate connection. Let yourself grieve, but it will get better. I learned to remember to remember the good times rather than the end and the grief I went through. Remember the blessing of having your ‘sweet girl’ in your life for as long as you did. XO

  17. Phyrra says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. I know she was family to you and how hard that is to lose your pet.
    Phyrra recently posted … Anastasia Catwalk Tutorial

  18. musical says:

    Sending you hugs and sunshine, girl. <3

  19. Georgina says:

    It’s strange how we try to hold it together and contain our grief over loss. I think there’s a lot to be said be for just letting it all out; things will be different as there’s a hole in your life. I used to beat myself up over getting weepy, mostly because I was embarrassed. But there’s no shame; you’re a richer person because of it. Things WILL get easier, they just won’t be the same xxxx

  20. I’m so sorry for your loss Karen. Don’t be too hard on yourself right now. Give yourself some time to grieve and look back on the amazing life Shauna had with you and your family. It’ll get easier with time. Hang in there.
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Lakme 9-to-5 Lipsticks (Peony Goal, Pink Bureau, Scarlet Drill) : Review, Swatches, FOTD

  21. Nicole says:

    Death sucks, put simply.

    My husband told me it’s horrible knowing when an animal lives because of the love it has for its human owner. He had to force feed his golden during the last few months of her life and she put up with it.

    Doggy heaven is much happier with Shauna in it.

    Much love for you and your parents.. And keep on trotting!
    Nicole recently posted … On the horizon: my next handbag

  22. Rose says:

    This was a beautiful post, Karen. It is not uncommon for me to think of the animals I have loved and lost on a regular basis. I think one of the only things that helps to lessen the pain (for me at least) is thinking of the good life I gave the animal for as long as I had it, and had I not taken care of it and loved it all those years, who knows what kind of life it would have had. I’m speaking primarily here of abandoned shelter pets and stray animals, who in most cases have lived a varied and difficult existence. Knowing in your heart that you cared for it so much to feel this kind of pain is proof of how much you gave to it during its life. My condolences to you.

  23. NeenaJ says:

    The hole in your heart will mend, in time. It took me almost 2 years to recover from the loss of a beloved cat. It’s been over 7 years now and I still think of him often but, can finally do so without tears.

    Give yourself the time and space to grieve. It sounds like your sweet girl had a beautiful life. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  24. Annie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Last year we lost our pet cat, Flo, who was 17. She’d been part of our family since before I was born, and as soon as I knew she was dying I would randomly start sobbing. I know it’s really hard, but as they say, time heals all wounds. In a few weeks or months, it will be better. It won’t be good, but it will be better. I can’t give you any uplifting advice really, but just cherish the times you had together.

  25. irini says:

    I lost my 5 year old dog 1.5 year ago and it still is a painful memory… He got sick very quickly and in the end we just couldn’t do anything. Thank goodness I had another dog so he helped me get through it better. And that’s just what you need to do. Focus on Tabs, spend time with him, it will help you in the end. Sure, it won’t make you forget the pain, but it will be easier to cherish the memories you and Shauna had together. When a pet passes on it is just so darn difficult, because it is the same thing as losing a family member. Shower Tabs with all that love, cry and just think positive thoughts. Remember that the unconditional loved you shared will never be lost. I am not religious, but I believe in love. And I believe that when you love someone, they never truly die. :)

  26. Beth says:

    Karen, Shauna looks like a great dog. I know this is hard, and I am sending you some virtual hugs from Georgia. Your husband is right, Shauna is in a better place where there is no pain or limitation. I hope there is some comfort in knowing your family gave her the happy, loving life she deserved.

  27. Jennifer says:

    Karen, I am so sorry to hear that you lost a beloved member of your family.

  28. Christine says:

    I am reading your blog with my dog laying next to me. So sorry for your loss.

  29. Sarah W says:

    Your posts about Shauna break my heart…I lost a childhood pet year, and since I had moved out of my parents’ house and across the country, I didn’t get to tell him goodbye. I wish I could have told him one last time what a good boy he was :(

  30. Emily says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Two years ago we had to put down our old dog Coco; my parents had her before I was born and I literally grew up with her. It still hurts, but it means she’s no longer suffering. Remember the good times and enjoy the memories; Shauna seems like she had a happy, loving life and that’s what matters.

  31. Dominique says:

    It’s so sad Karen. :( Pets are our beloved friends, it’s horrible when they pass away. Thinking of you from France.

  32. Jeri says:

    Karen,

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I can feel your pain. I’ve put many pets down in the past and it doesn’t get easier. My cat Mia is Diabetic and has nerve damage to her back legs because of it. It breaks my heart when I think at some point I will have to put her down. She does have some pain and runs from me when she knows she’s getting medicine. Someone else said it in the comments “there is no statute of limitations on grief”. It doesn’t matter if it’s human or animal. It still hurts. I lost my father 1 yr 2 months ago and each day is a challenge. Like you said it comes in waves and you don’t know where it will hit (trader joes). Sorry so long. From Maryland. Jeri

  33. Sun says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautifully-written post, I got teary-eyed reading it.

    I am owned by two rescue chihuahua-terrier dogs, but it’s the first one, Lily, who owns my heart. I love that little girl like she’s my own human daughter (and I have two of those, too!). I cannot imagine life without her, and it’s hard to imagine that I went so long without her.

    It sucks to lose a beloved pet — just there’s just no other way around it — all the platitudes in the world won’t make it easier or make the pain go away faster. You and Shauna had a very special thing.

    Big (((((HUGS))))) to you!!!!

  34. Sujaan says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose our beautiful creatures. We are so lucky to share their lives and it hurts so much when we lose them. Thankfully time does help to heal the pain. Be gentle with yourself and allow your grieving process. My beautiful dog is 14 and I cherish every moment I have left with her.

  35. Brooke says:

    Karen -
    I have been away on vacation, but I just wanted to extend my sympathy to you. Pets become one of the family and it’s truly devastating to lose such a loyal companion and friend. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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