I don’t know what to say

What’s your response when someone tells you a member of their family has died?
Do you nod sympathetically and say:
“I’m so sorry.”
Or, do you grasp their hand and say earnestly:
“Oh goodness, I know how you feel, we lost *insert name here* last year.”
Or, do you admit, like a friend did when my Dad died that you:
“Don’t know what to say.”
The reason I haven’t written a blog post for ages is that, I didn’t know what to say.
In February, my dear, darling Chelsea *who was the inspiration for starting this blog* died.
I tried to write a blog post shortly after she died, but I kept crying – and just didn’t know what to write.
Many of you reading this didn’t even know her – but I know lots of you“ will understand the vast range of emotions I have – and am still experiencing.
Grief is a strange beast – it makes you do and think strange things.
I remember getting angry because someone else had told a friend Chelsea was ill – but they hadn’t bothered to text me and find out how she was.
Another person totally ignored a text I’d written to him saying Chelsea had died.
That’s how they deal with it – and I’ve learned – after the death of my Father and two guide dogs that I can’t be responsible for how other people feel about things.
Another thing losing Chelsea has made me think of is that we, as guide dog owners have to go through this process – twice – about 6 times in our lives.
Now, let me explain why I say twice.
When we retire our precious guide dogs – we grieve for the working relationship and bond we shared.
For many people, (including me) our dogs literally save our lives on numerous occasions.
Some guide dog owners – for many reasons retire their guide dogs outside the family. and it’s not for me or anybody else to tell them they’re wrong.
However, for those of us who keep the dogs in the family – we have to go through another form of grief, when the guide dog, who we might have lived and worked alongside for 8 years dies.
It’s awful!
But I have chosen to have a guide dog to help me – and although I know there will be many more tears in my life-time – I wouldn’t want to lose the immeasurable confidence, independence and love guide dogs give to me.
For that, I will always be grateful.