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William - A Short Story

WILLIAM
A CONSTANT COMPANION


by JEAN NORFOLK

William - A Constant Companion

There is so much pleasure and happiness in owning a dog, but when a dogís life comes to an end there is so much pain and anguish.

When I lost my dog, William, I was totally devastated. I know it may sound callous and harsh, but the grief I felt when he died was far worse than anything I had felt when close members of my family passed away. Perhaps it was because all my children now had homes and families of their own and ĎBillí had been my only companion.

When my dog died I felt such a dreadful sense of pain and loss. For the first time in my life I found myself in such deep despair. I wanted to die too. He had been my life for so long that I couldnít contemplate a future without him. Every single corner of my home had a reminder of Bill. His favourite rug where he would curl up and sleep, or the rug on the floor at the bottom of my bed which he claimed as his. I was filled with such a powerful longing to see him once more and would stand by the window and look out at the spot by the gate where he sat for hours waiting for visitors to arrive. I began to think that if I concentrated hard enough I might actually see him!

Now, when Iím out walking on my own, I feel that a part of me is missing, because for the best part of 14 years he was my constant companion. I walked, ran, played games, fed him and talked to him right through from our first tentative attempts to get to know each other, to the rich, beautiful years that followed when we had formed a relationship that was beyond compare. He was my joy and my true friend, and I simply adored him.

Having him put to sleep was the most traumatic experience of my life and I honestly didnít believe I could cope with my loss. It was catastrophic. The heartache I felt was dreadful. Now I have come to realise that when a beloved pet dies the most important thing to do is to talk about them. I desperately wanted to talk about Bill, but as I lived alone there was no one there to listen.

If my family visited it seemed that they purposely avoided mentioning him for fear of upsetting me, whilst I was longing to let out my grief and talk about this lovely old dog who had such a colossal impact on my life.

I firmly believe that grieving alone simply extends the grieving process and makes it far more painful. You need to talk about your loss with someone over and over again if necessary. Pouring out your thoughts, feelings and memories means that you pour out your grief too, and even after one such conversation your spirits are a little lighter.

Now almost two years later, I still grieve for Bill and deep inside I always will, but time (and talking about him!) has eased the burden that I carried around for so long. I now accept his passing as one of lifeís lessons.

Jean Norfolk 2006


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