When I was at my therapist’s I brought up the death of my dog that occurred the beginning of this year, as well as other pets I’ve had to put down in the past, and how I felt about it when those times came. I admitted that I wasn’t especially distressed over my decision—the one time I got really emotional was the night before we’d bring my dog over to the vet to be put to sleep, and the following morning I was just sort of…zen. And I felt that way about the death of Chloe, my lizard I had put to sleep at the end of last year, too. I felt I made the right decision in not dragging out their lives, especially when they were now more or less just a shell of what they’d originally been. I’d rather they died peacefully, than discover them suddenly dead, without having had the comfort of their owner beside them before finally passing away.
I told my therapist I wondered if there was something wrong about how calmly I accepted their deaths, if it was a sign I was just horribly detached or what have you, and she reminded me of my bad habit of guilt-tripping myself over everything, and to focus on the positive instead. Being emotionally distraught over someone’s death is fine. Being calm and accepting of someone’s death is fine.
And looking back to how I was in my early teens, it’s pretty remarkable. I vividly remember days where I’d be sobbing over the fact that my dog would eventually die, even though she still had plenty of years left to live. Then, ten years later…I grew up with my dog, I spent all the time I could with her, and when she was ready to go, so was I.
It makes me wonder how or if I’ll feel the same way about my own death, eventually. It’s something I still haven’t quite come to terms with, and suffered some anxiety attacks from thinking about it over the summer. But, I’m still young. And I hope, as the years go by and I gain new experiences, I’ll eventually come to terms with my own death as peacefully as I have the ones close to me in the past.