Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Rest in Peace, Little Guy

 In my last post I was crowing about overcoming the fear of getting the covid-19 vaccine. I got it without any major problems but that doesn’t mean life went back to normal. The morning that post published I woke up to Levi missing from his dog bed in the bedroom where he usually stays an hour or two past when I get up. I couldn’t find him. But OH! MY! GOD! I found ten piles of assorted poop, pee and vomit all over the house, but no Levi. I looked in all his usual places…the library where he waits for the dogs across the street to appear, his bed in the kitchen where he keeps me company when I’m on the computer, on the couch in the living room where he likes to chill out if I have the TV on too loud, in the dining room where he likes to lay spread eagle in a ray of sun which is/was his happy place and I even looked in the laundry room where he’d sit if he’s afraid I’ll leave without telling him good-bye. Finally, in the last place I looked---naturally---I found him in my art room where he never hangs out. He had just finished vomiting all over his front paws and looked like death warmed over.

After leading him out to the kitchen and getting two baby gates out to corral him in where future bodily fluids would be easier to clean up, I called the vet. "Bring him in tomorrow morning but call back if anything else develops.” Blah, blah, blah. He wanted to go outside so while he was out there Resolve Carpet Cleaner and I went to work. When I checked on Levi he had dug himself a nest in a snow pile and was doing the circle thing dogs do to lay in it. He had peed, pooped and vomited again and it was only 40 degrees so I made him come inside. He walked so slow a turtle could have won a race against him. Inside, he drank a full bowl of water then vomited it back up which promptly put me back on the phone to the vet’s office. We agreed he should go into the Animal Emergency.

I’d been there before but Covid-19 had changed everything. You couldn’t even get into the building without ringing a doorbell which I couldn’t find and ended up calling them on the phone to come let me in. They gave me a tablet to fill out with mine and Levi’s information. I’m pretty computer literate but that tablet and I were at war with each other. Finally I got the generic forms done. Then came a page of consent and charges to initial and last, but not least I had to sign a Do or Do Not Resuscitate order. By then I was a nervous wreck. Tears formed as my mind flashed back to when I had to sign a DNR for my dad when Hospice got involved with his care and while my dad was sitting across the table from me looking as healthy as ever. In fact he lived another seven months after that and didn’t suffer any pain from his lung cancer until the day before he died. Signing Dad’s DNR order was in the top five most difficult moments of my life. I digress but someday I should write a post with that title.

On the consent form for Levi I checked and initialed that they could resuscitate, if needed, at the tune $400 to 600. Because of Covid-19 they wouldn’t let me wait for them to run some tests to get a proper diagnosis. I had to go home and wait for them to call. I thought he probably had a blockage of some sort and he'd would be as good new after running up my credit card a few thousand dollars. I was not prepared to hear the veterinary recommend that it would be best to put Levi down. One day he’s running around acting normal and happy with no known medical issues and the next day he’s too sick to try to save? I couldn’t wrap my head around what she was telling me. 

She said he had severe diabetes, severe dehydration and severe pancreatitis and his heart was in distress. And apparently, when diabetes comes on sudden like it did and pancreatitis is involved the aftercare would be really hard to manage IF they could even get him stabilized with a 3-4 day stay in the hospital and even that possibility looked grim, she said. I asked about the aftercare and she said two shots a day, frequent testing and lots of accidents with his bowels and blabber for the rest of his life. My youngest niece has a diabetic dog and it takes her and her husband both to get the injections in her baby plus they diaper her at night and when they go away. I have/had trouble getting Levi cornered just to brush his beard. I didn’t have a lot of time to decide whether to start lifesaving measures or to go back to the hospital to be with Levi when they put him down---quaint little euphemism, isn't it, putting a pet down. He was in so much pain that even touching him, the vet said, made him whine or growl and he’s never growled at anyone or anything in his entire life except an oak leaf when he was a puppy.

You see stories on Facebook about people who have terminally ill dogs and they want to make their last day on earth special before bringing them into be euthanized and I would have liked that for Levi. With Levi I would have taken him to Starbucks with the car window rolled down to get a puppuccino, we would have stopped by his groomer for a little bromance baby talk. We would have played tug-of-war with his favorite toy, I would have let him bark at the dogs across the street without scolding him and I would have let him mark all the streetlight poles on the block. Levi’s life was simple but he sure made mine richer.

Every room in this house has something in it that is his and the next few days are going to be SO hard as I remove his presence. In the past when I lost a dog I always knew I’d eventually get another so I’d keep some dog stuff around for that day. But now my head and my heart don’t agree on whether or not I can hold on to that idea or if it’s time to let another door in my life slam shut. For now I’ll put all his stuff in a big box, put it in the garage and pull a Scarlett O’Hara and worry about what to do with it all on another day.

The photo at the top was taken on Levi's adoption day. He was 14 weeks old. The photo below was taken of Levi resting in peace just barely 13 years old. I asked the vet if it would be weird to take that photo and she said "No, lot's of people do it." It cost $712.19 for Levi to die at the hospital and it will cost another $125 for his cremation. Not that the money mattered to me. I would have spent their estimated of $4,000 to $5,000 to fix him if he'd been fixable with a better prognosis for his aftercare quality of life. But the emergency hospital vet was discouraging that choice, not sure his little heart could handle what they'd need to do and I didn't want Levi to suffer because I wasn't ready to let go. He will be the first dog I've ever had who didn't get buried and that hurts, too, for reasons I can't figure out. I'll have to decide what to do with his ashes later on. Now, I need to cry…. I still can't believe it all happened so fast. He was happy and full of energy one day and the next day he licked my hand seconds before he passed. ©

1/23/2008 to 3/3/2021

41 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Levi was a beautiful presence in your life and will remain one in your heart. Viv x

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  2. My heart just breaks for you. Our furchildren are so important and special to us. Molly and I send you a huge hug♥ RIP, Levi♥

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  3. I feel your pain as we had to let our beautiful boxer girl go last week. They really are our "children" and it is so hard having them gone. So sorry for your loss of Levi and I believe he will be playing with my Aimee at the rainbow bridge until we meet them again.

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  4. Oh, Jean. I read this with such shock and dismay. I'm so, so very sorry. Levi was a handsome gentleman and fine companion, despite being a curmudgeon about many things. That was part of his charm. He always knew a loving and safe place with you.

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  5. I am so very sorry. This is such a painful time. I would put some of the dog stuff away because you may choose to get another puppy in your live. We've always done cremation and gave the little boxes.

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  6. I am so sorry for your sudden loss of Levi. I have been reading you for a long time and have enjoyed hearing about his exploits. You certainly made the most loving decision for him. Levi will be missed!

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  7. Oh Jean, I am so very sorry. My heart hurts for you. The unexpectedness of it must be so brutal. I am just glad you had eachother for as long as you did. You were both blessed.

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  8. Jean, I am so sorry. You did the absolute right thing for Levi. There is nothing else you could have done. I know you are still in shock with Levi's health taking a turn so suddenly. I went through the same thing with my dog Peaches last May. It's hard to understand how quickly their health can turn to where we can't keep them living. Take your time with your grief and remember the wonderful times with Levi.

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  9. I am so sorry that you had to let Levi go. Heartbreaking for you I know. You gave him a very happy life and lots of love and he gave you lots of love and joy back.

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  10. I am so sorry to hear of Levi's passing. The story you described really embodies what I've always believed - that having him happy and full of life one day, only to pass the next day, is the absolutely best gift Levi could have gotten. No long lingering illness, no painful medical interventions. But the suddenness, with no time to prepare emotionally, is so cruel for the one left behind. I always loved the relationship you and Levi had and hope you can keep those memories at the forefront, rather than the more recent days.
    Nina

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  11. I am sorry to hear about Levi. You and he had a terrific life together and I hope happy memories of him can comfort you during this sad time.

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  12. As hard as it is, I know you did what was best for Levi. So, so sad for you. I have loved reading about his exploits and I know you'll miss him intensely.

    When we had to make that decision in August (because of advancing cardiomyopathy), we agonized for weeks and weeks (is this day? is he doing any better? do you think he's worse?). I have stored my favorite dog bed, our dog crate folded up and a few other things. But going through the house picking up all of his things was really, really difficult. I teared up reading that part of your story.

    As one of my good friends said to me, I hope your heart heals quickly. And I hope your happy memories are a comfort. <3

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  13. I'm so, so sorry. Doing what's right for them is always so hard on us. Reading your amusing stories about Levi was always such a pleasure.

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  14. Jean, I write this with tears streaming down my face. You gave Levi a wonderful life and the best death he could have even though I know how hard it was.

    My you be comfirted by the thought that so many people share your sorrow.

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  15. It's a sad day in the neighborhood. Kindest regards, Jean.

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  16. Tears down my face...the photo of Levi could have been my dog, Nasha...also adopted as a puppy and having to be "put down" (ugh) due to lung cancer. My heart goes out to you. They are just the most loving breed I've encountered. My heart goes out to you.

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  17. I’m so sorry. I love the photos.

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  18. OMG I can’t believe this. I’ve been following you for a number of years and always heard about Levi and his adorableness and cute antics. I am so sorry! Ive had to put four dear ones to sleep and it truly was the hardest thing Ive ever done..the most emotional thing. I’m not religious but have always felt that if anyone deserves a heaven, it is our dear pets
    who ask nothing and give only pure love. Again I’m so sorry.

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  19. Jean:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Through your blogs I feel I knew Levi so well. I know he was yours & Don's savior after cooper died. Its not easy loosing the pet who brought so much joy in your life. praying for your strength for you to get through this another trauma in life.

    hugs,
    Asha

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  20. Oh Jean, I am so very sorry to read of The Mighty Levi's passing. My heart goes out to you at this time of great loss. It's such an awful memory for me, of when I had to let my Lucy go. But I remember reading a fellow dog owner's words online: better weeks too early than a day too late (when it comes to making the euthanasia call). I brought Lucy's ashes with me to my new home on the island (yet I dumped my husband's in the river before I left...what does that tell you about my priorities/feelings...HAH!).
    May your memories of Levi bring you some comfort...Hugs,

    Deb

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  21. My heart goes out to you for the loss of your dear Levi. May his memory be a blessing.

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  22. I've thought about you and Levi a lot over the past few days. My vet told me "The one gift we can give them is to let them go when life becomes too hard for them." And it's the hardest gift to give in many ways -- it cuts a piece from our hearts. But you did the right thing, hard as it was. It was unselfish and full of love. Like Levi. Your heart will take a long while to heal. Grieve as long as it takes. If we didn't love them so, it wouldn't hurt. But we wouldn't have loved.

    You said it best when you wrote this: Levi’s life was simple but he sure made mine richer.

    Yes, he did. And the stories you have shared here and in your other posts have made ours richer as well. Big hugs.

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  23. No one knows how much a pet can mean to a person until you've had one. And no one knows how much pleasure and friendship a pet can bring. No one knows the depth of loss when that pet passes. I am truly sorry, Jean. Levi sounded like a wonderful friend and companion. Sending a big hug and prayers for your broken heart!

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  24. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Every passing, every experience of grief is unique and yet I'm sure many of us can relate to so much of what you experienced and how you are feeling. Maybe you can take some solace in knowing this particular sadness is shared by many who have known the broken hearted feeling of losing a much loved pup companion. RIP Levi. We loved knowing you from the loving posts Jean shared with us.❤️

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  25. So so sorry, reading your post with my almost 13 yr old Yorkie on my lap reinforces the fact that a tomorrow is never a given. At this point it's anyone's guess as to which of us will pass first but I have left strict instructions that our combined ashes are to be scattered in a field of Texas Bluebonnets.

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  26. I am feeling so sad for you and I have tears for you as I read about your Levi's passing. I hope you get some comfort from all your friends in the blogging world who are also upset for you.

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  27. So verg sorry to hear this. Hoe verdrietig.
    Met lieve groeten,
    Lian

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  28. Ah, you poor girl. I know so well what you are feeling. When I had Millie put to sleep just over a year ago my heart broke. But then it had broken when the other dogs died. Because I feel I am too old to have another one (although that may change if one adopts me as has happened before) the emptiness is more noticeable this time. At other times I always rescued a new dog after a few months.

    But isn’t it wonderful that Levi licked your hand before the end? Just hold on to that and the love for each other that you undoubtedly felt.

    I am so sorry. It is never easy to lose a loved one.

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  29. Blogger doesn't always deliver your posts to me on the day they go up, so I just found this. Needless to say, I'm shocked, and more than a little saddened. I'd grown fond of Levi and his antics, and I know it will take time to adjust to being without him.

    You may remember (or not -- doesn't matter) that Dixie Rose departed with the same suddenness. At noon she was napping on the sofa, and at 4 p.m. she was gone. The situation was the same. The vet suspected an aneurysm, but outlined the various tests and treatments that were available. My poor dear couldn't walk, and without function in her back legs, there would have been nothing but anguish for her. The loving thing was to release her -- even though it was so painful for me. It remained so for some time, and even now I can tear up when I remember those last hours, but it still was best.

    The people responsible for her cremation did the sweetest thing. I have a little terracotta plaque with her name and her paw print embossed. And, yes. I still have her ashes. I have no idea what to do with those. Friends have suggested scattering them, but for some reason they roll their eyes when I tell them I can't do that -- Dixie never liked being outdoors!

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  30. I am so sorry. We lost our dog in a similar way, and it was painful. Again, I am so sorry.

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  31. As I've mentioned in the past, I always loved it when you wrote about Levi. I feel like I knew him. What a great life that little doggie had. He fell into a pot of jam when he found you. I'm sorry for your loss, and I know it's a tremendous one. I will miss hearing about him.

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  32. So sorry you had to say goodbye to Levi. What a huge shock and I know it is heartbreaking. Hugs to you from another pet lover.

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  33. My heart breaks for you. We love our pets so much and it's so hard to say goodbye. You gave him a wonderful life.

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  34. OMG, I miss a couple Days and something tragic happens, I am so very Sorry Jean! Virtual Hugs. A Heartfelt Tribute is somewhat Helpful in our Grief.

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  35. I, too, missed this post when it was first posted. What a terrible experience, and the suddenness must have complicated all your decisions. You don't have to make any decisions yay or nay about another pet right now. You're grieving, and it seems to me that any grieving renews old grieving, too. We wish we could speed you through it.

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  36. Dear Jean
    I came here from Friko’s Musings after you’d left such a sweet and supportive comment (I am the ex blogger in question).
    I am so saddened to see you have recently lost your beloved companion, Levi, whom I have now just met.
    This is a most beautiful tribute to Levi and yet, at the same time, gut-wrenching account of what happened on the morning & day you discovered things were so very wrong.
    I understand and relate to all you have spoken of here. In fact, some of what you’ve shared echoes similarities in my own life (my Dad also died of lung cancer, caused in his case, by exposure to asbestos).
    I could feel your pain and distress as if it were my own. Your words have reminded me of what I’ve experienced.
    It’s always so heartbreaking losing our beloved dogs, yet we somehow always manage to open our hearts and homes to another, when we feel the time feels right. I cannot imagine my life without a dog.
    I know the great sadness of seeing all their things after they’ve died, and the self preserving need to put them away, out of sight, so as not to be triggered into a flood of tears.
    Grieve we must! In our own time and at our own pace! That is essential.
    I’m so sorry to hear Levi will not be buried in your garden, as you would have chosen. We have always cremated our dogs and their ashes are incorporated into a special raised flowerbed at the entrance to our home. Their little urns are lined up on the low wall surrounding the bed, partially hidden amongst the tangles of lush sub tropical foliage. That bed always looks beautiful! It always fills me with a feeling of comforting calmness. I sense their joyful souls.
    Alternatively, you might choose to plant a tree or beloved shrub over their buried ashes. A reminder that they live on always in our hearts.
    May I offer you a gentle, comforting hug from across the ocean. Take care of yourself.


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  37. I am so utterly sad for you, Jean. I've been off my blog reading schedule for several weeks now and missed this post. You and precious Levi are both in my heart right now. My baby is 12 1/2 and when I cuddle her tonight before bed, I will tell her the story of Levi the Mighty Schnauser and the Mommy who loved him.

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  38. Jean, I'm just reading this two weeks after you wrote it, and I am so sorry! It's hard to lose a pet at any time, but the pandemic makes these losses even harder. I'm sending you healing thoughts.

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