Life Without Lily….

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Maybe I should have started this blog while Lily and I were on this journey together. I guess a big part of me felt the time was better spent having fun with her. And I believe I was right! But now she’s gone and the desire to chronicle her too-short life is overwhelming. Talking about her, writing about her makes me feel closer to her. The sense of loss is overwhelming at times.

The hurt is everywhere and oftentimes in places where you would least expect it. A look in the rearview mirror for a Dane perched on the backseat. A glance at an empty couch. A listen for the distinctive sound of her hopping through the house or sighing contentedly. A laugh when she hears herself or one of her brothers fart and she runs away, only to turn and look at all of us accusingly. Used green Pawz boots found on the floor of the car. A nightly ritual of helping a tripawd get into bed. A drive by Smashburger brings memories of peanut butter shakes for joyful ampuversary celebrations.

But more often the hurt is exactly where I guessed it would be. At night, when my toes peek out of the covers and I feel the chill of the air I find myself reaching to the middle of the bed to pull her blanket over her, knowing she will have rolled out of it and will be cold. I wake up in the morning and there is no “Morning Dane” laying right next to me with a big slurp for my face, a wag of the tail and some Dane-speak, presumably about how happy she is to see us and start the day. When I go to the kitchen in the morning to start breakfast for the dogs I listen for the sound of her hopping eagerly up to me when she hears me open the jar of Dasuquin chews. My feet no longer hang off the couch I have shared with a Great Dane for 9 years. My husband and I no longer playfully argue about whether Lily is “DG” (Daddy’s Girl) or “MG” (Mommy’s Girl) as Lily was prone to sometimes favor one of us with more kisses and affection over the other. We hug and there is no Lily trying to insert herself in the center of it all, our Lily Sandwich. There is no one to bark at the dogs and animals on the television and her squirrel DVD sits unwatched by her TV. The guest room bed, her “office” as we call it, sits empty with no one to watch out the window barking at neighbors who have the audacity to walk their dogs near our house. Her ball sits in the garage with no one to fetch it at the field next door. Squirrels wander around with no Lily, our inept little hunter, to chase them into trees and attempt to climb up after them. Elliott, our 14 year-old blind and deaf Standard Poodle has no guide and protector. The last cinnamon roll is right now sitting on the kitchen counter and Lily isn’t out there with her chin on the counter top talking to it, trying to coax it into her mouth. Who will graze on the lemongrass and lemon balm in the garden when spring arrives? Evening comes and the Kong’s sit in the toy basket with no one to bring them to us, sit properly, and begin insisting that one of us fill it with the most delightful treat of all, peanut butter. Oh, how many times we argued over who’s turn it was to fill the Kong! I’d take all the turns if I could just have her back with me now.

So much joy and unrestrained love and loyalty from one little Dane. When I see other people I alternate between feelings of extreme jealousy and intense sorrow….jealousy that they aren’t right now experiencing this feeling of agonizing loss. Sorrow for those same people who have never been touched by Lily and her vast capacity to love.

How long until I stop looking for her? Stop crying every day, many times per day? How long until I stop looking at Elliott and our elderly Lab, Bogart, without tinges of disappointment that it’s just them? How do we find new joy in a home where she has delivered throw-your-head-back-and-laugh-out-loud fun every single day for 9 years? As my husband has said: what did we do before Lily?

Author: Lily's Mom

Lily joined our family as a ornery puppy on December 20, 2005 and changed our lives forever. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in May, 2014 and had her right back leg amputated on May 8. She hopped on 3 legs like she was born to do it and continued to fight cancer with grace, valor and an abundant sense of humor...and always a giant smile on her face. We said goodbye to Lily on December 28, 2014 and miss her terribly every day.

8 thoughts on “Life Without Lily….”

  1. Its never too late to start a blog! I absolutely agree with your decision not to start sooner–why spend precious time on the computer when you could be spending it with your beautiful girl! Your blog can be a huge part of your healing process. Write, share Lily with us, post pictures (I love the photo you posted above).

    You write so eloquently and poignantly about the loss you are feeling. Your emotions are so raw right now and nothing can stop the pain. This is certainly the place to come as so many of us have been where you are right now and we know just how it feels. How long will it last? Hard to say. You need to go through it, however hard it seems. But it will ease over time, as all hurts do. Yes it will. One day you will surprise yourself by smiling instead of bursting into tears at a memory of Lily.

    Keep writing, go easy on yourself, let yourself feel what you need to feel, and know that you have a community of people who know what you are going through to turn to whenever you need us.

    Martha, Codie Rae, and the Oaktown Pack

    1. Thank you, Martha! I’m trying to take it day by day and have found a lot of comfort in the writing and becoming more active in the tripawd forums. The support of the tripawd community has been wonderful and really a blessing that helps me through mt grief.

  2. Thank you for starting this blog, it’s never too late to share Lily’s story and your fond memories. Cherish those feelings of her presence. It sounds like she was larger than life and, heck, those danes can take up a lot of space – on the couch AND in your heart.

    Please continue to feel all the feelings – even the jealousy and sorrow, because it comes from all the love you have for Lily and the love she shared with you. Could you share some photos with us? She looks like a character!


    1. She WAS larger than life, Kerren! I’m glad that comes through in my blog….it’s my first but I can’t think of a better reason to start. I have shared some more photos of Lily and will continue to do so in my next post.

  3. I just want you to know, and I’m probably speaking for a few others, I need to collect myself before I can even think about responding.

    We cry with you. Our hearts break too.

    Holding you lovingly in my heart tonight.

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog about Lily. Your support throughout the last few weeks with my forum posts has meant so much to me. I so appreciate everything you do for the tripawd community!

  4. It’s never ever too late to share her beautiful life with us, and I’m so glad this helps you! LOVE those photos!

    Oh man I know what you mean about going “Now what?” Everywhere you look, there is the life that you built together. It’s hard to find that new groove but at least you have Elliott to focus on and he needs his humans more than ever. All of you will create a bond that’s stronger than ever, while honoring Lily’s wishes to be a cohesive, fun pack who lives each day to the fullest.

    I’m so sorry for your loss, my heart aches for you. I hope each day gets a little better so that you can smile whenever you think of her instead of feel so sad. It just takes time.

  5. So many of the things you said resonate.

    I found myself chuckling at Lily’s antics. But then, that’s what she wants us (and you) to do: To find the joy she left and not the sorrow. Yeah, we’re all very sad to have lost our heart-dogs, but to find humor and love in absence gives meaning to “They’re always alive in our hearts.”

    With every passing day, the bad days fade a little more until we have to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come. The grief will never go away until we meet again at the Bridge. In the meantime, laugh (and dance) like no one is watching.

    Peace to you, xoxo – Pam

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