Sean, dogs and loss

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Sean took these photos of our terriers, Pippa (tan) and Tango (black), some years ago … there is another batch of them playing together that I will post when I find it.

We have lost a lot this year. First and foremost, we have lost Sean. We have also lost several friends and people with whom we had a connection. The line ‘Good friends we had, and good friends we lost/Along the way’ in ‘No Woman No Cry’ always brings tears to my eyes, though I managed to sing it in the pub the other night without breaking down.

We lost our cat (which Sean disliked strongly), on purpose. (Don’t worry … it has a good home.) We lost various possessions … a tooth, a valued necklace (the latter on the same day as Sean). We almost lost Tango, and he seemed to lose part of himself (his mojo, so to speak). He was a happy-go-lucky little fellow, who sometimes did a kind of crazy howling that sounded like talking. He doesn’t do that anymore.

He ran out on the road and was hit by a trailer. I thought he was as good as dead, and called the vet thinking he would have to be put down. I gave up on him. After lying prone, he got up and ran around erratically, screaming horribly. He went under the hedge; Sean sat near him and talked to him quietly for ages while we waited for the vet. Tango’s leg was broken, but he survived, as a more subdued dog.

We lost a huge part of our world this year.

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21 Comments

Filed under Death, Pets, Photography

21 responses to “Sean, dogs and loss

  1. papaguinea

    Brendano, these are charming pictures. The two dogs look the best of friends and in so many pictures their heads are in perfect alignment, no doubt being whistled to by Sean! It is good that there are so many photographic memories (and tunes) that so many can share on-line. I hope these pictures, reminding us of Sean’s departure from these local fields, also mark his arrival at greener fields beyond. Sean’s absence from this world is a terrible loss to all family and friends but his arrival here and his life here can surely be seen as a blessing.

    • Thanks very much, PapaG. Yes, I have been trying to think along these more positive lines myself. I am attempting to write a poem, and an image I use is one of a time when Sean, quite young, rode ahead on his bicycle in the forest, went round a bend and disappeared. It took us ages to find him, as the forest was a maze. We were afraid we wouldn’t find him before it got dark.

      He has gone off ahead again, I suppose, as was his wont.

  2. Marya

    Hello Brendan .. Lovely photos of Pippa and Tango .. I especially love the ones of them leaping over the wall.
    I’m so glad Tango survived the trauma although not unscathed by the experience.
    You did well to get through that song .. it seems sometimes that in these difficult moments we get the strength from outside ourselves .. from my own experience I believe it’s God’s grace that assists us.
    You have suffered an incalculable loss and your grief is raw and your anguish seemingly interminable but you will be given the strength to bear it, Brendan, and to live in that diminished world.

    Marya x

  3. Thank you, Marya. I think you are right. I believe in God’s grace too, by whatever name it might be called. There is inner and outer strength to call on, and of course we must live our lives and try to fulfil our own potential.

  4. Cymbeline

    Hello Brendano. You have suffered one of the cruellest losses of human existence. I am not surprised that this feeling of loss seeps and spreads into all your thoughts.

    As ever, I do not seek to console the unconsolable.

    You have not lost everything. You have not lost your love for your son, and you have a wife and daughter who need you, as you need them.

  5. Cymbeline

    As ever, I wish you great strength, although sometimes I do not know what to say.

    I like the image of your son cycling off ahead into the forest. I also like Marya’s words about strength from outside ourselves.

    • Thanks, Cymbeline. Many people admit that they don’t know what to say, and of course nothing anyone says can bring the person back, but the fact that people care is consolation in itself.

      Lines from a poem I’m trying to write: ‘All the words in the world cannot crack/The wall between us, and bring you back.’

  6. papaguinea

    Brendano – perhaps I can post here my last version of ‘Snow at Rooksey’ inspired by both Sean’s midnight antics, making a snowman in the garden and waking the neighbours, and by the thought that a loss can mark a departure AND arrival.

    Snow at Rooksey

    If all the angels in this and other worlds
    descended to us from above, their wings unfurled,
    they’d come as falling snow, and silently at night,
    each angel framed in patterned shards of light,
    to help us cope with loss, as comfort from above,
    each flake a coded masterpiece of God’s eternal love;
    embroidered angels upon a wedding gown
    jingling, jinking, spreading out upon the ground
    on fields, on lanes, on roof-tops in the town,
    dancing, singing “what was lost is found”.

  7. Thank you very much, papaguinea … that’s really lovely. It’s snowing here now too.

  8. Hello Brendan,

    Reading your blogs gives me a strange feeling. Not only a deep and pure sadness but you make me question myself, everytime.

    I don’t know if everyone does the same. When I read, see, hear something, I immediately put myself into the place of the person in question. (Empathy?)
    Lately it gives me a tiresome feeling.

    Anyway,its hard to describe but in your words I sense a great sincerity the only feeling I admire. It shakes me and confuses.

  9. Hello Levent … thanks for this. I understand what you mean about empathy. I tend to put myself in the other person’s place too.

    I appreciate your honest reaction. I suppose I’m pretty shaken and confused myself.

    My wife says that she knows when I am about to get upset because she sees my face literally darken, as if a shadow had fallen on it. We cry every day – it’s impossible not to – but we are getting on with our lives as well.

    • I’m not sure tiresome is the right word. I mean I’m tired of empathy, I just want to ignore sometimes. We have talked about feeling embarrassed on behalve of others, with you, if you recall.

      I like the story:

      Man goes to doctor. Says “I’m depressed. I can’t enjoy life. I think of the hungry ones, I can’t eat. I think of the naked, I feel cold with them. I blame myself for every murder. Every bullet gets into my heart. I can’t laugh anymore.”

      The doctor points at the banner outside the window, which is about a clown.

      “You see that clown. I recommend you to go to his show every night. You forget all your sorrow, learn to smile and laugh again. You will restart enjoying life”

      “Doctor” says the man lowering his head “I’m that clown”

  10. Great story, Levent. 🙂

  11. Rainer the cabbie

    I talked with a passenger today about your loss.
    She lost her husband two years ago due to a sudden heart attack, leaving her and the twins behind.
    She reckons it gets better with time, and we did agree, all the kind words in the world will never replace the loss…. but it does get better and easier with time progressing.

    Its a bit like diving into this lake of yours, freezing to the bone at first, but it gets better after a while.

  12. Rainer the cabbie

    Keep Swimming mate !

  13. Dogs running out into the road and traffic do not mix. Nice photographs.

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