Missing: Cadi-Bug; Later -- Updates

I am completely and totally leveled and devastated by the death of Cadi -- it is a different grief experience to lose a relatively young dog and to do so abruptly. I am traumatized by it all, replaying the events of the day over and over, and trying to learn and make sense of it all -- but it is senseless. Mostly I just cry...

Last week I received an amazing gift in the mail from Jennifer -- she had the four generation picture transformed into what looks like a water color, and then had it framed. It is beautiful -- and now with two of the four generations gone so quickly -- well, it means even more to me...

I am filled with words about this  experience but they are still a jumbled mess, and I know to respect the process and just wait for the right time. I will say how much it means to me that you all understand how special Cadi is, and share my sorrow at her loss. And her children and grandchildren are suddenly even more significant to me -- they are her legacy and she deserves an absolutely awesome legacy because she didn't get to finish what needed to be done in her life.

I look at Sydney and I see Cadi -- and I see Cadi's legacy and Cadi's gift to me -- and I cannot bear to be away from what I have left of Cadi. And so Syd is going everywhere with me right now, as is Harper. Sydney is especially comforting at this wickedly awful time...

And so we will honor Cadi with our continued updates of her grandchildren -- I will post Holden and Lainey later today. But now -- I have to prepare a talk that I am giving today for medical professionals about communication at the end of life. How ironic is that? And doesn't everyone just understand that my life has stopped for right now and I need to sit in bed and cry and eat cookie dough?! Apparently not...

I am starting to feel like the Universe hates me -- or maybe I am being tested in some way -- or maybe my string of bad luck is going to turn and be followed by a string of really good luck and therefore I should buy a lottery ticket. Whatever it is -- there it is and I will deal with it. But it isn't pretty. And it isn't fun.

This is a last picture of sweet Cadi, taken at the clinic hours before she died. She was sitting with Galen, wearing a cone when I got back as she had taken out an IV (I should have warned them -- she was good good at that). I fed her two cheeseburgers and took off the cone since I was there to watch her -- but here is her picture with cheeseburger crumbs and a cone...

If love and tears could bring her back, she would be home again...


Let's start with Toby's report about Holden:

"Holden wishes he could be in Montana to give both of his first mommies, his aunties and his grandmom a hug and nose poke, because he is very good at that.  Today he weighed 49.7 lbs!  He had a fun weekend helping with outside yard work, stripping weeds off the fence in preparation for power washing and staining. I couldn't have done it without him! 

All of his deciduous teeth are out, except for the upper K-9's, which I'm really hoping I don't have to extract!  3 words to describe his temperament would be:  mellow, sweet and easy! 

He's just an absolute love!"


And now Cindy's report about Lainey:

"This was not an easy email to write - a very sad day!  I decided that I needed to do it anyway as a tribute to our wonderful and loved dogs, however long they may be with us...

Lainey brings a lot of joy to our family as do all of our Kaibab dogs - we are forever thankful for all that the Bowmans do to breed such special dogs! The love that these dogs bring also amplifies the sorrow when we lose them... Lainey is a very special girl - I would describe her as loving, sensitive, and intelligent.

I chose these two pictures to show just how fast they grow and to emphasize that we must treasure every moment as we never know how long they will be with us...

Thank you, Toby and Cindy. Cadi's grandpuppies are so lucky to be in such fantastic homes.

Today I drove in to Missoula and did what I had to do, which included giving two separate talks to hospital staff about effective communication at the end of life. Well, first I cried some more and then I actually wrote the talk in the two hours before I had to give it -- Joan can attest to my particular talent in this regard.

Anyway, as I drove in to Missoula with the three soldiers I have left (and they are all disabled and bandaged up and on crutches -- except the one on the stretcher), I said, "Soldiers -- this has to be good because this matters to real people who are hurting just like we are."

The three damaged little soldiers sucked up all the air they could and delivered a blisteringly effective and heartfelt talk on how to communicate with patients and families who are dealing with the end of life. And with all the emotion of grief just under the surface and with the aching awareness of what it means to real people, it was one of the best talks I have given -- and I do not say that to brag because I don't care about such things right now -- I say it because it is true and because I wanted you to know that the real, raw experience and emotions of grief can be transformed into something that has meaning.

But that thoroughly exhausted all three little soldiers and so we cried all the home because the biggest wound is the one you cannot see...

And then we took pictures, because taking pictures is one of our favorite things ever -- but someone was missing -- and so we cried some more.

But we still got some good pictures to share...

But now is dinner -- meal time is especially awful because we have a bowl order and now there is one missing. This means more crying.

I keep calling and calling but she doesn't come back. This is unreal. Like a worst nightmare -- only worse...


by Greg R Peirce on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 06:45

You can see in her eyes her love for you. Greg and I are sheding tears along with you this week. All our love from Bend.

by Ruth on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 06:51

there it comes again...the tears are rolling! I love this picture of your beautiful baby girl.
I cannot believe how quickly your baby is here then just gone, it is so hard. Beautiful Cadi!

by Lori Simidian on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 06:55

It seems that the Universe is treating your heart like a pinata, but like a pinata your heart is filled with good things - sweet memories and general goodness. Unfortunately it is shattered right now so the pain overwhelms it all. I wish you comfort and peace as you try to come to terms with a senseless loss. I never met Cadi but she was a beautiful girl and I know how special she was from your blog. My heart is with you.

by Barb on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 07:31

What a beautiful picture! I love it!
I am glad you are finding some comfort in Syd and Harper.
Thinking of you.

by Kay Morrow on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 08:17

I know it must be hard to carry on after such a great and sudden loss. It brings back memories of losing Cadi's brother Dillon 2 years ago. It's especially hard to lose the young ones who haven't reached the end of their path in life. Many thoughts are with you and the sun will shine again eventually.

by Carol Kracht on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 08:30

You, better than mot because of your training know the next few weeks will be particularly tough- crying all the time and re-playing everything- I lost my much beloved fluffy corgi boy Grady in the middle of the night at the emergency vet, he was only 8 years old...a year and a half ago and I am still not able to write about him and who he was what he meant to me as a dog and as a dog who taught me so much and so I an right there with you on the feeling of shock and loss and "How can the world go on?". Truly Cadi was so special here on earth and her spirit is still around- she would want you to take comfort in her daughters...Make sure you get plenty of Berner hugs today and wake those sleeping soldiers up too....Reflecting on this kind of loss today and so very sorry .....Carol

by cindy Heintzberger on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 09:04

Can't imagine how you're getting through this - now I'm crying AGAIN - that picture is beautiful and so captures the special look that was always in Cadi's eyes.
Wishing you strength as you give your talk today and lots of hugs!

by Terri Zimmerman on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 09:49

I can offer all the words, send all the love and concern and it may help but you know and I know, time and tears will ultimately ease the pain and I know...there is pain. Losing a dog is tough but even though nursing an ill one to the end is really hard...losing one unexpectedly...it's just the worst and I hate it and MA, I hate that you have to go through this. Like I always say..let the tears flow, she is worth everyone of them. Take care of you and Kim and Galen...sigh.

by Marianne on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 13:11

Ditto Cindy H & Terri Z . Mary-Ann, the tears still drop and still I shake my head...no, no, no....
I totally understand holding Syd & Harper close ~ I think Syd understands too.

Jennifer the picture is so lovely. How thoughtful to have this picture done.

by Krista on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 14:57

I am so sorry to read of your loss. I understand the pain you are going through. My first dog was a rottie named Willow. She was with me for seven years. I lost her way to early (though the loss of her at any time would still be too soon) to cancer. My parents had her sister from the same litter this past October, her name is Zuzu. My family and I understand your pain. When I lost Willow my best friend comforted me by saying "you only hurt so much because you love and were loved so much". I am sure Willow, Zuzu and Cadi will be friends and will take care of each other.

by Susan Williams on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 18:54

I am so sorry to hear of Cadi's passing. This is never easy and we are never ready for the passing of a beloved family member. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time. Cadi will live on in our hearts and minds forever.

Hold those fur-babies close - cherish each and every day... Susan

by Terri Zimmerman on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 19:20

I know it's just avoidance but MA... but just try to get some sleep. At least it won't hurt so much then and maybe she will come back to you in your dreams. I cherish those visits from the boys even knowing I bring them on. I just hate the devastation of these sudden losses. I am so sorry dear friend.

by Barb on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 20:23

I'll bet that was the best talk ever!!! One of the only things I've learned from personal losses is how to empathize with my patients. Grief is grief no matter what causes it. It hurts so much and the only thing that seems to help is time and sometimes sharing memories or being with people(dogs) we love and that understand.
I'm crying just in sympathy of how awful this must be for you.
Thank you for the updates and pictures and words from today. Blog therapy for all of us out here praying for you and yours.

by joan on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 20:27

Yes, I can attest to the brilliance you, Mary-Ann, can pull out of your hat at the last minute. I can imagine your talk today was that and more. I can also attest to you being one of the most resilient people I know, who can always find, with time, ways to reframe negative things so that some kernal of good, and brilliance, can be found. Your little soldiers are there with you; they are beaten down but still there. It's the dark of night now, and sometime dawn will begin to soften the edges of the night, and the little birds will sing, tentative at first, then louder. And you will carry on, because Cadi, and Abra and Maize, live on in your pups, and in your knowledge and skill as they have taught you so much.

by Carol Kracht on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 22:10

Breaking my heart MA.... Thank you for what you did for those grieving people-if they only knew what it cost you.... and yes, cry a river...she is likely still around in spirit remember.... and she was there tonight when you fed the dogs, she will stay at your house until you are well enough to let her move on- take comfort in that thought if you can... and if you can't ...I am wishing you peace and knowing that the tears will help you through it....Hugs, Carol

by Carmen K. on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 22:41

...to feel your great, great sadness and loss through your words. Take very special care...

by Heidi on Wed, 03/28/2012 - 00:34

I'm crying with the rest of the group. Grieving and loss are just so ... hard. I think it only takes one time to get a visceral understanding of why it's described as "heartbroken." It sure feels like something shatters when we lose a loved one. I understand so much about feeling the loss so keenly in the everyday moments. On walks, I count heads, stop, count again, and realize abruptly that my heart math is not adding up to reality's math -- I'm still trying to count in the missing. The feeding times --well, that was, and IS still poignant. The order is off in my kitchen.

And yet. There are dreams where sunlight shines again on familiar coats. I watch again in a field where a wagging tail beckons. It's not enough. It's not here. But it comforts.

So much love to you, Kaibab Family. Our family is thinking especially of you.

by Lois on Wed, 03/28/2012 - 07:45

Dear Mary-Ann
I am just so very, very sorry to hear about Cadi. The loss is always so very hard but to have it happen so suddenly and for such a young one is just not fair. Our thoughts and sympathy and love to you all.

by Randy and melinda on Wed, 03/28/2012 - 17:11

Mary Ann,
SO sorry to hear such sad news!! In this instance we can truly say we know what you are going through..and it is painful. Only time will heal...
I wish there is something we could say or do to ease the pain...but we know there is not!
Just know our thoughts are with you!!
Randy and Melinda

by Julie Hooker (a... on Wed, 03/28/2012 - 20:27

We can't really help from Park City . . .instead, we cry when we hear your pain. Right now, we don't need our soldiers. We're okay. Faith and I are sending reinforcements to help your three disabled soldiers.

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