For as long as I can remember, I was always puzzled when people considered a suffering loved one's passing as "a relief." I just couldn't get my head around the concept. Probably because I was fortunate not to have experienced such a loss myself.
Three days ago, I had my beloved thirteen-year-old Lab put to sleep due to advanced arthritis. Poor guy's back legs finally gave up after three years of the condition worsening over time. It was very sad to see such a lively, life-loving bundle of affection and dopiness gradually go downhill.
Once it was over, I wailed like I never have done for about fifteen minutes... and then there it was. Relief. He was no longer in pain. He was no longer suffering. There was no more "Hey, he looks like he's doing okay" before a walk, only for him to want to come back home after twenty seconds because he couldn't handle the strain. He was finally at peace, and the last thing he saw before he slipped away was those he loved most and who loved him most: his family.
I feel pangs of sadness every now and then, but then I think about what he was going through, and a feeling of relief washes it away. It's a very peculiar feeling. I now understand what it means to be relieved following the death of a loved one. I feel guilty that I am not more upset, but I suppose that is just part of the grieving process.
Tried to close his eyes after he passed away, but he wasn't having any of it. Stubborn bastard even in death 😄
Love you, Barney ❤️