Explanation for my absence this last week: an unexpected and core-shaking loss

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As many of you have noticed and commented, I haven’t been online in the last week. Given my 365 Daily Challenge and normally frequent interaction, it was unusual and unexpected. Even when I went on a two-week vacation last fall, I briefly posted each day to stay connected with all my online friends. There would only be a few things to keep me from blogging or responding to comments, and unfortunately, I experienced one of them this past week.

Ryder Reg

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ryder was my ten-year-old shiba inu dog, who had a huge presence not only in my life, but on this blog. As you can probably tell by my use of the past tense, Ryder is no longer with us. It’s taken me several days to even be able to return online and to try to let everyone know what happened. This will unfortunately be a very sad post, and if you prefer not to read it, I completely understand. I know how many people enjoyed hearing from Ryder, and I wanted to at least let everyone know what occurred this last week. You can skip this and just read a happier memorial here.

Ryder has taken anti-seizure medicine for most of his life. We ran regular tests once or twice per year to check his blood chemistry, as the medicine which prevented seizures also has the ability to destroy his liver. When we went to the vet ten days ago, as I could tell Ryder was too lethargic by normal standards, I expected to adjust his medicine and possibly add something else if he was starting to become arthritic. Unfortunately, when the blood test results came back, it showed his liver was severely impacted and that we needed to take quick action.

The recommendation was an immediate transition from one anti-seizure medicine to a newer one, but given the potential for Ryder to take on more side effects, the ideal course was to load a higher than normal dosage of the new medicine while slowly weaning him off the old medicine over a five-day period. Ryder was very ill over that weekend and stopped eating by Sunday morning. He was disoriented, vomiting and refusing to take his medicine. Both W and I were very worried, but knew it would be a rough transition. We expected him to recover within a few weeks.

After last Monday’s Ryder Rant, where he mentioned he was feeling blegh, things quickly deteriorated. When we wrote that post, I had every expectation of continuing my regular posts that week while Ryder recuperated from whatever was ailing him. Part of me knew he was going to become a different dog, but I didn’t expect the true extent as to how bad the situation had become. I checked again with the vet that Monday morning to let him know that things were getting worse. Given Ryder’s refusal to eat and take his pills, the vet scheduled an immediate ultrasound to check his liver and stomach.

At 2:30 that afternoon, we took Ryder to the veterinary hospital and had the ultrasound. When the technician brought Ryder back to us in the waiting room, I could see it on his face. By 3:30, the vet let us know that Ryder’s liver was beyond repair. I knew my worst fears had come true. I’ll spare everyone the details of the next few days, but Ryder was never able to leave the hospital. We checked him in for emergency care and tried for two days to load the medication into him, get him to eat and ease any pain. We knew there was a very small chance that things would turn around, but there were a couple of attempts made to help him, so that we could truly understand if his liver might function once the old medicine was out of his system.

By Wednesday morning, we knew there was nothing left to do. I made a few deals with whomever controls this world; I offered up a year of my life to give Ryder more time with us, and I begged for something else I loved (being a writer) to be taken away from me, instead of Ryder. I knew it wasn’t rational, nor did things even work that way – but I would have done it if were an option. When I accepted that Ryder only had a few more days, W and I focused on getting him healthy enough to bring home, so he could have a day in his own apartment where he could spend his last moments.

Throughout most of the week, W and I visited him in the hospital several times per day, for several hours. He was given extra medication, IV drips and constant attention. When we came home for breaks, we spent the time staring at the walls or the phone, in fear the call would come that he either had a seizure or things took a turn far worse. Luckily, Ryder’s last few days were seizure-free, and at most, he was uncomfortable and confused as to what was happening to him. We knew he wasn’t strong enough to make it home for even a few hours. I am disappointed, angry and sad I couldn’t give that to him.

On Wednesday afternoon and evening, he roused a little bit to give us a few lucid moments. We sat with him in a small private pet waiting room where he licked and kissed us a few times. He took a few spoons of his favorite vanilla bean ice cream, and slept next to his favorite toys. On Thursday morning, my parents came into the city to visit Ryder, as he loved them dearly. They were able to say goodbye and help comfort us. In the afternoon, W and I held Ryder for the last time, cradled in our arms, where he passed away peacefully.

I’ve spent much of the last week in a complete daze. I haven’t slept. I barely ate. My eyes have not had a moment without filling with tears. I couldn’t speak to anyone on the phone but the vet or my parents. W has been and felt the same way. We have been unable to go out or see anyone. While the rest of my post is all about how I feel or what Ryder has meant to me, it also applies fully to W, who has been the only reason I am able to function right now.

My heart is broken, and my entire core is unsteady. I lost grandparents, godparents and friends when I was much younger, and it all devastated me as a child or teenager, but this has truly been my first major personal loss as an adult. I’m experiencing everything from anger to guilt, but I know it is part of the process and will get better in time. I cannot look at his food & water bowls, bed or toys without breaking into tears; yet, I will not be able to put them away anytime soon. I haven’t just lost a pet or a close family member. I’ve lost a part of me, perhaps the single most important part of my humanity.

I tend to be quiet and shy, preferring to be alone rather than in groups or with others. I have often been told I hide my emotions/feelings and tend to have tunnel vision over what’s going on around me. Ryder changed all that. He taught me how to be selfless. He showed me how to put someone else first. He helped me realize how to care for someone dependent on you for nearly everything. Ryder has been a part of me for ten years. Every part of my day revolves around him, and always has. He was always healthy, but he took medicine twice per day – and I couldn’t easily adjust the time frames without impact. I was always on the lookout for a potential seizure. I talked to him all day long. He had a voice in our day and decisions.

I’ve decided to share two separate posts today: this one, to let everyone know what happened and explain my absence, but then a second, which you can see here, to tell everyone what Ryder meant to me. This very special dog changed me when he came into my life, and I fear he has changed me again when he has left my life. I know we all feel like this when we lose someone important, but for me, I’m scared that I will forget him, or that I will forget my humanity and my ability to love others again. Right now, seeing pictures of him, or sharing memories, doesn’t feel like it will ever be enough to connect with the real thing.

I am beyond grateful to everyone who checked in on me, or to ask about Ryder, in the last week. Despite being completely destroyed emotionally and uncertain where I was or what I was doing most of the time, it helped to see your messages. They made me cry more. They made me happy to know how much he was adored. It is in these life moments where I believe there is goodness in the world that will always overpower the negative and the evil. Thank you for being part of Ryder’s life and listening to me speak from a place of raw emotion. I’ve tried to control the extent of my words, as I want to look back on this time and remember Ryder with love and not sadness.

Humbly yours….  Jay

(It’s okay to LIKE the post, as I know it comes from a good place.)

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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196 thoughts on “Explanation for my absence this last week: an unexpected and core-shaking loss

    Betty said:
    January 22, 2018 at 6:14 AM

    I’m so sorry for your loss.I know how much it hurts to lose a beloved pet. Gentle hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    tylerus said:
    January 22, 2018 at 7:50 AM

    I’d suspected this and, having been this situation a couple of times, thought it best to leave you to your “quiet time”. I felt I’d actually known Ryder through his wonderful/humorous rant posts. Words can’t ease the pain or grief, or fill the emptiness, of losing a beloved friend and confidante, but I offer them nonetheless: I am so very sorry for your loss, Jay. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 22, 2018 at 8:12 AM

      Hi. I appreciate your kind words — they do help. It was a bad week, but I’m so glad I could share him with everyone in the Ryder Rants. Thank you for thinking of me. xoxo

      Like

    bwbookreviewers said:
    January 22, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    I’m so sorry for your loss, James. It’s always hard losing a pet.

    – Caidyn

    Liked by 1 person

    Stephanie said:
    January 22, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    Jay, I’m so, so very sorry for your loss. I read this post last night when in bed about to fall asleep, and it just broke my heart. I wanted to comment then, but I admit that I was crying and just couldn’t. Everything you said is so relatable, and I completely empathize with your pain. Losing your dog is I think the worse pain you can have unless it is losing a child or spouse. They are a part of your soul and losing them is losing a piece of yourself. There is a bond between you both that is unlike any other. When Branna died in November, I cried every day for over 2 weeks, and I still cry at random moments over her and think I will for a long time. I don’t think you get over it as people insist I will, but you just learn to adapt to life without them while always wishing they were still here. Ryder was a truly special dog and so well-loved…you and W gave him such an amazing life, and thank you for sharing him with all of us. I know my words can’t take away your pain, but I hope you know that I offer my deepest condolences to both you and W right now. Much love! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 22, 2018 at 11:18 AM

      You’re such a genuine and kind soul… I remember your loss, and it made me worry about Ryder. We never really know what the future brings, but having good friends and solid connections makes it all the better. Thank you for everything. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

        Stephanie said:
        January 22, 2018 at 3:23 PM

        Aww, thank you Jay! You are so sweet! We don’t know what the future brings, so we must enjoy every precious minute. Yes! Good friends and connections make things so much better! You’re welcome! xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

    N. N. Light said:
    January 22, 2018 at 12:03 PM

    Oh Jay, we’re so sorry for your loss. Remember what we said in our email, take your time and know Ryder will always be with you. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 22, 2018 at 2:47 PM

      Thank you. I am doing better today. I’ve pushed myself to go back to the gym for the first time in 10 days, and now I’m working on some future posts, catching up on all I missed and putting together a to-do list, so I can see what’s on my plate to readjust to. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    misifusa said:
    January 22, 2018 at 12:20 PM

    Sweet Jay, your ability to write how you feel is extraordinary especially at this sad time. Please accept my heartfelt healing hugs for you and for W. My heart is with you all as this isn’t easy to bear and we all loved Ryder as well. Your blogging family mourns Ryder’s loss with you. God Bless…we are all here for you, especially me xo

    Liked by 1 person

    overthehillontheyellowbrickroad said:
    January 22, 2018 at 12:20 PM

    I am so very sorry to hear about Ryder. The Ryder Rants were always my favorite posts. I’m sure he is smiling down on you and wagging his loving tail.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 22, 2018 at 2:51 PM

      That’s so sweet – much appreciated. I kinda like the idea of him looking ‘down’ on me as I write about him and everyone comments. It makes me feel like he’s getting all he deserves. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    CJR The Brit said:
    January 22, 2018 at 12:39 PM

    I am so sorry. To lose a pet is like losing part of your family. Sending hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    PerfectlyTolerable said:
    January 22, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    I am so sorry about Ryder. Losing a pet is such an awful thing, and I am so sorry for you and W. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 22, 2018 at 2:56 PM

      Much appreciated. It’s awful… I suppose all loss like this is. I don’t know people deal with it regularly. Our vet was so sad, not sure how she does it with each pet.

      Liked by 1 person

        PerfectlyTolerable said:
        January 22, 2018 at 4:30 PM

        When my Fiance’s dog passed away the vet was amazing. Everyone in the office was genuinely sad and they wrote him a card, and every member of the team signed it and wrote a personalized note. It was very touching. They also made a paw print mold for him that he has in a shadow box with her collar. The Vet was so considerate and I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for them in that line of work.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        January 22, 2018 at 9:06 PM

        That’s an amazing gesture. I’ve been lucky to have wonderful online friends.

        Liked by 1 person

    Judy said:
    January 22, 2018 at 2:09 PM

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Crying with you.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 22, 2018 at 2:59 PM

      Thank you, Judy. I appreciate it. I’ve cried a lot this week… enough for everyone else, probably. So don’t let it go too much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Atwood Cutting said:
    January 22, 2018 at 3:19 PM

    Dear human friend of my own human,
    I’m sorry that Ryder has passed from your life. I know how it is. My own human still mourns for my predecessor, Baxter, and I know she still misses him. But she found me after he went away, and I am so glad she did. I do my best to fill his shoes, and yet I am a totally different cat, but she loves me just as much, but in a different way. I guess that’s the way it goes. But I know that one day you’ll find another four-legged friend to love, and who loves you as much as Ryder did. It takes time, but your heart will heal. You are a super nice human, and any dog (or cat) would be thrilled to come to live with you.
    My meows to you, nice man.
    Yuri, the cat

    Liked by 1 person

    Lashaan (Bookidote) said:
    January 22, 2018 at 9:52 PM

    My sincerest condolences James. I’ve only met Ryder through his rant really recently (and thought it was you) and knew since then how special he was to you. Having heard that his health wasn’t looking too good in recent days was saddening but I am truly soulless at the thought that he has left us. I do hope you’ll recover in due time and that you’ll take these couple of days, weeks, and what not, to recover and remember him, especially during his happier days alongside you. Take care, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    bethanyk said:
    January 23, 2018 at 3:03 AM

    I am so very sorry for your loss

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    January 23, 2018 at 8:35 AM

    Once again, I can only say how much I feel your pain and grief. Ryder was your baby. He felt everything you felt, he challenged you, he loved you and he made you a better Peron. Our fur babies are precious and I know Ryder felt your love. Hugs from me to you and W.

    Liked by 1 person

    DaisyGal @ DG Book Blog said:
    January 23, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Oh James, I am so sorry for your loss. I know it is so hard to lose beloved pets. Not to overstep, but if you believe in Heaven, know he is there running free and full of energy, and you have a new angel that will be with you forever. At least that’s what I tell myself about mine. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 23, 2018 at 11:06 AM

      I’m sorry you’ve been through this before, too. I appreciate the kind words. It’s comforting to think about them running free and happy, even if it’s not with us. Hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Aislynn d'Merricksson said:
    January 23, 2018 at 6:13 PM

    Oh, Jay. *Hugs* There are no words for the loss of a beloved furbaby. Our thoughts are with you.

    (And, having lost a kitty through similar circumstances, I’m here if you need or want to talk)

    Liked by 1 person

    RobbyeFaye said:
    January 23, 2018 at 6:57 PM

    Jay and W,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. I know there are no adequate words for a loss like this. We know one day it will happen, even so, when it does it is truly devasting.
    Treasure the memories and the pictures, too. Eventually, the pain will ease a little and your pictures and memories will mean so much to you.
    Hugs to you both~

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 23, 2018 at 11:10 PM

      Much appreciated. I look at his picture nearly every hour of the day, just to push thru it. Messages from online friends like you have helped too. Thank you. Hugs.

      Like

        RobbyeFaye said:
        January 23, 2018 at 11:51 PM

        Oh, Jay. I just cry for you! I know it’s so hard to go through, too. You are welcome. Lots of hugs back to you and W.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        January 24, 2018 at 7:54 AM

        Xoxo

        Like

        RobbyeFaye said:
        January 24, 2018 at 4:52 PM

        Sending you and W lots of hugs!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    dtills said:
    January 23, 2018 at 8:15 PM

    Oh my gosh Jay, I had no idea! I have been in Mexico and trying to catch up with everyone. I was on the verge of messaging you to see how you are doing and I then thought to check your blog. I am so sorry for your loss! I am in shock right now-obviously I did not expect to read this. I thought you were just busy with book edits. Please know that I am thinking of both of you during this sad time. I can only hope that some time has passed and you both are feeling a little more stabilized in the face of this huge adjustment. Only the best of wishes being sent your way my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 23, 2018 at 11:15 PM

      Thank you, D. I totally understand and didn’t want to worry everyone. I needed a few days to get thru everything too. Thanks for your kind words. We shall chat soon. Hope you had a great trip. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

        dtills said:
        January 24, 2018 at 7:09 PM

        I am here when you are ready my friend 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    AJ said:
    January 23, 2018 at 8:26 PM

    Oh jay I am so sorry for your loss!! You never really get over losing a pet- they’re such a big part of your life. Ryder’s Rants will be missed:(

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 23, 2018 at 11:15 PM

      I appreciate it. Makes me feel better seeing all the love and care for him. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

        AJ said:
        January 23, 2018 at 11:28 PM

        Big big big hugs to you!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    hsimone said:
    January 24, 2018 at 3:52 AM

    Aw…I’m so sorry to hear this James. I can only imagine what you are feeling now because dogs just add so much joy and purpose to our lives. Thank you for sharing something so personal, and I’ll keep you and your partner in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    Sassy Brit (Reviewer) said:
    January 24, 2018 at 7:46 AM

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Jay, I know how hard it is, I’ve lost a dog a couple of years back and she meant the world to me, too. It’s so hard not to type this and cry!

    I know I didn’t know him in person but he looked a fantastic dog, and could certainly tell a few stories, 😉 Best of all, he knows he was loved and that’s the main thing. He had a lovely life, as mine did, too. And that’s what you need to remember x

    My other old dog is getting totally spoilt now!

    Take care, chin up.

    Liked by 1 person

    Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek said:
    January 24, 2018 at 7:57 AM

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is heartbreaking. I lost my dog nearly 2 years ago and it hurts and leaves a hole in you as they transcend just being an animal or even pet to something far more. The pain does fade and you will always have your memories.😞😢

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 24, 2018 at 8:02 AM

      Much appreciated. It’s amazing the connections we build with them, then the impact of the loss. So sorry you had to go thru it too, a few years ago. Thanks for the positive thoughts and look at how it changes in time. It’s helpful to chat thru it.

      Like

    Book Club Mom said:
    January 24, 2018 at 9:45 AM

    So sorry to hear this – thinking of you…

    Liked by 1 person

    frjameson said:
    January 24, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    Sorry to hear that, you have my sympathies.
    In this blog you have already created a wonderful monument to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    Jessica Robinson said:
    January 24, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    So sorry for your loss! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    meltingpotsandothercalamities said:
    January 24, 2018 at 10:25 PM

    I’m so sorry for you and W’s loss. Losing a pet really is painful, they’re truly family. I’m just amazed yo were able to write a post like this. Sending virtual hugs, and hoping everything will be okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    Robin @The Robin's Nest said:
    January 26, 2018 at 9:26 AM

    Jay and W, I am so very very sorry for your loss. Jay I know the pain and emptiness you are feeling and you have all my condolences and love. You are in my thoughts dear friend and I wish you peace, comfort and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 26, 2018 at 9:31 AM

      Thank you, Robin. It’s so kind of you to comment. I appreciate your friendship. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    Sophie Jay Hudson said:
    January 27, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    I’m so sorry. Your post brought back a lot of emotions I went through when I lost my best friend. Ryder would be extremely proud of you right now. There is nothing to take away the grief but it sounds like you have a lot of great memories and those will never leave you.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      January 28, 2018 at 1:57 PM

      Thank you for such kind words. I appreciate it. Sorry you went thru the grief too. Never easy.

      Like

    sjhigbee said:
    January 31, 2018 at 3:18 PM

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, James. It’s never easy to lose a companion. In due course, I hope you can take away the fact that you did absolutely everything you could to ease his suffering and that throughout his life, Ryder and you had so many good times together…

    Liked by 1 person

    Martie said:
    February 1, 2018 at 1:05 PM

    Oh I am so sorry for your loss. Our dogs, do become our family.

    Liked by 1 person

    E. Michael Helms, writer said:
    February 11, 2018 at 11:48 AM

    So sorry for your loss, Jay. It’s evident that Ryder was much more than a pet and friend; as you said, he was a part of you. Hold on to the good memories, and know that Ryder will always be with you in spirit and in your heart.
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      February 11, 2018 at 1:13 PM

      Thank you, Michael. I appreciate the re-tweet/posts. Hope you are doing well, especially with some of things you’ve been dealing with too.

      Liked by 1 person

    Jennifer Kelland Perry said:
    February 11, 2018 at 3:56 PM

    Sending condolences for your profound loss. I say ‘profound’ because I understand how painful it is to lose a beloved pet. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    Theveryhungrycaterpillar said:
    February 13, 2018 at 7:41 AM

    I was 14 when my furry friend died. Two decades later, the memories of him lying there, lifeless still remain as fresh as yesterday. I cried and cried after reading this. All the love and hugs in the world to you and much belated love to Ryder. So terribly sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      February 13, 2018 at 8:10 AM

      Hi. It’s nice to meet you (ignoring the circumstances). Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. It’s awful, I totally understand. I’m so sorry you cried again, but I understand the pain. I appreciate your kind thoughts. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    Sherron0 said:
    February 15, 2018 at 9:40 PM

    My sincere condolences. I know the pain you are experiencing. This post is an excellent tribute to him and his life. I do know how you will miss him. I hope that time helps you deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    Sheryl Ebon said:
    February 17, 2018 at 10:49 PM

    So sorry for your loss. I couldn’t finish reading your blog. It reminds me so much of my shihtzu I lost a decade ago and my 3-year old who’s a huge part of our family life. May you find healing in your grief and realize how lucky you are to have known such amazing love.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      February 18, 2018 at 7:29 AM

      Hi. Thank you very much. It’s 1 month today, so I’m feeling it more. It’s very hard. I appreciate your kind words and am sorry for your loss too… thank you for stopping by.

      Like

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