Thursday, March 31, 2011

Making Something Larger Than Sorrow




The veterinarian thinks my beautiful dog has cancer and I feel my heart is about to break. I know many of you have gone through this also and probably much worse and so you will understand. I have gone through much, much worse stuff myself over the years. In the big scheme of things I know that losing a dog is not a huge deal to many. Life in Japan right now must be absolutely devastating. But life here, in this house, will not be the same without our pet.

Wheaten Terriers pups have dark muzzles and rust colored fur - they lose that coat and become lighter as adults.

Our beloved canine companion came to us after the dark days of Sept 11 and after we had already lost another much loved dog that year and also one the year before. Almost immediately, our lives changed for the better and the happiness factor took over as we focused our family energies on nurturing and teaching a puppy to live among humans. He made us laugh again. Silly puppy! Some of you without pets will not understand how much solace they provide.
 
Are you kidding me? You throw the ball and then you want me to bring it BACK to you?

I really am trying hard to be creative on a daily basis to get through. Making things is a nice distraction from this and other stressful stuff going on right now. I am not looking forward to having more surgery next month, for instance. Sometimes worry is like a big dark cloud over my head and nothing gets done around here. But if, when I feel the sad feelings coming on, I begin to make something, I become calmer. All of my energy gets focused on something a lot more pleasant. That's not to say the sadness goes away, but it becomes diluted a bit and doesn't take center stage anymore. It's always helpful for me to channel those negative thoughts into something creative.


Ah yes, time to make yet another quilt! A few days ago I had the urge to play with color some. My daughter's quilt was already planned and the colors picked. So I put it aside for a little bit and started making simple Pinwheels after I saw an antique doll quilt I could not afford. Cheaper to just make my own and much more healing. The colorful antique Pinwheels became stuck in my mind, day and night. They remind me of how my head is swirling right now - Pinwheels of chaos attempting to take over my brain if I let it. As I slowly focus on choosing just the right muted colors and reproduction prints and sew the simple pieces together I sense a calmness coming on. I am bringing something simple and lovely into the world. Never mind the stress.


Does this ever happen to you? A friend once told me she made her largest, most complicated quilt when she thought her marriage was on the rocks. Throwing herself into making the quilt gave her a whole new perspective. I don't have the energy to work on my Dear Jane right now but I wonder just how large this Pinwheel quilt is going to have to be if it's to become larger than my sorrow.

64 comments:

Impera_Magna said...

(((((Hugs)))))

I'm sorry to hear about your precious dog... have been there and it's awful.

I too am dealing with something unpleasant things in life by sewing & creating... best therapy in the world for me. Though it doesn't remove or eliminate the sorrow, working with fabric and creating something does dilute the sorrow/fear/worry/etc.

Robyn *Ü* said...

So sorry to hear that Kathy. It's never easy when this happens to a family member. Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

For all the happiness a pet can bring into our lives there is double sadness when it's time to say good-bye because the time together is never long enough.

Susan said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your precious furbaby! I have also "been there and done that" and I know it's not easy. Quilting is wonderful therapy, but as I'm sure you already know time is the best healer. Hugs to you!

Litamora's Quilt & Design said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog being so ill. It's never easy to deal with this, but we've got no other choise, do we? I know how you feel, and I hope you'll find the easiest way to deal with it. Either with quilting, or talking to a good friend that listens. You will always bring the good memories with you, and with time the heartache will heal a little bit.
Hugs,
Laila

Joanne said...

I am so sorry to hear about your dog.
All the best.♥

katie said...

I am so sorry to hear about your dog. He is such a cutie. They certainly do steal our hearts don't they.

Leeanne said...

Warm thoughts coming your way.xxxxx

I am Just One Mom said...

So sorry for your news. But love your perspective on the scope of our personal line of sight. Japan vs your terrier.
Before our basset had his final day, I called and arranged for a local vet that makes house calls. In Beau's own bed, next to his favorite Calla Lillies, the vet helped him be relieved of his suffering. It was so much better for our children. No lugging (an already in pain) Beau to the vet's cold, sterile office. No leaving him on the stainless table.
If such an occasion can be "good" -- this one qualified. Perhaps there is someone in your area that provides such a service.

Mari said...

As sad as it is to lose them just think of life without having known them. Every time I have lost a dog that is my mantra. Here's for a happy ending for your pup. I have an almost 12 year old dog who is doing on 4 years after the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. We've never looked back after surgery. You both are in my thoughts.

WoolenSails said...

Sadly, there is always something bad going on in the world but for each of use, our personal trials can be just as bad, especially with our furry babies. I hope things work out and it is something that can be operated on.

Debbie

Stray Stitches said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your poor pup may have cancer :( People without pets do not understand that they are not just animals that live us, they are part of our family. Losing one of our furry little babies is one of the hardest things to go through. Nobody and nothing else gives such unselfish love as a dog. Your blocks are beautiful. May they bring you some peace from you worry and sadness.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

I am so sorry to hear about your furry friend. I've been there and it is hard. How come is it these pups steal our hearts? There is always a little place in my heart for the one I lost. Could not go back there and start over, although we tried, it just was not the same. It's just not an easy thing to go through.

Terrie Sandelin said...

Oh, yes. I understand so well. We lost our beloved dog very suddenly to cancer last summer. We still miss him. I suspect we always will. But dogs teach us so many important lessons -- I think one of them is that there is always more love in our hearts. Wyatt is no longer with us, but now we share our home with one of his cousins -- the indomitable Cooper, a bundle of exuberance and joy that makes us smile each and every day. Still, I know that right now you have to deal with losing a beloved pet. I am so sorry.

Me and My Stitches said...

So, so sorry about your dog. It's true that they are our best friends, so of course, it is difficult. Enjoy the time that you get to spend with him and keep creating to help your piece of mind.

Anonymous said...

I know how you are feeling re: your dog. It is a sad time. We went through it 3 times - 2 dogs and a cat. It was never any easier. We no longer have any pets but enjoy my daughter's new puppy - a Portuguese water dog. And yes, quilting is a wonderful way to focus on something more positive.

Good luck with your surgery.

Charlotte

Rita said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. Our pets are such an important part of our daily lives and when they hurt we do too. Losing a beloved pet is so very hard. I truly understand what you are going through.

Merilyn said...

Kathy, so sorry to hear about your little dog, I know the devastation of the diagnosis cancer, I lost an 18 yr old furbaby a couple of years ago, and yes it does break your heart!
Has the vet given you any treatment options at this stage or is the situation past that point?
It all seems to come at once doesn't it? my thoughts and prayers are with you and your dear little companion. Thankfully you do have an outlet but sometimes even that seems so trivial in comparison to the ache you are living through. I am so sorry.....

Betweens said...

It is a timely post Kathleen you are right at not being alone. I had to lay my pooch of 14yrs to rest Tuesday. It was not easy and now my house seems very large and cold.
I send condolenses your way not to worry your pup will be with good friends. I have just put on one binding and 2 prairie points on 3 queen size quilts to help with the ache I am feeling too...creating does help

Sue said...

I began to cry as I read this post as just last Sunday we lost our precious Elmo (our dog) to congestive heart failure. My heart will grieve for a long while and I surely do know of the pain you are dealing with right now. To me our well-loved dogs are not just pets...they are true companions...always at our side..always faithful to their beloved owners. I will certainly be praying for you. I am so sorry to hear this:(
When my father died fifteen months ago, it took a couple of months, but I did begin to pour myself into something else and of course for me, that was making a quilt. It is like therapy as it does keep your mind off of the sorrow so near.
I have not yet had the desire to do anything other than just simply miss my little friend right now, but I know that soon, I will put my thoughts into something else to lessen the sorrow of an aching heart.
My thought are with you and I do mean that. I hope that you accept this hug from me.
God bless you.

Sue

Lori said...

Ah, I am so sorry. I do think there is healing power in sewing. It will only fill the gap temperarily though. It may end up a really big quilt.

QuiltinMama said...

I'm so sorry to hear that about your sweet dog. Folks without pets just don't understand and that pets are the relatives you get to choose. I'm hoping for his sake and yours that it's NOT cancer.

Jan said...

Working with fabric definitely has a calming, focusing effect for me. What I kept thinking while reading your post is that your vet just may be mistaken, or will discover that your pup may have a treatable condition. I hope very much that is the case.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, My thoughts are with you as you struggle with this trying time. I'm so sorry and I wish only the best for you with your surgery. Your quilt is a very nice testement to the love of your friend. Karen

A Plain Path said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Plain Path said...

I am sorry to read about your dog. What is his name? For anyone who may think the loss of your dog isn't a big deal, I say that one's sorrow cannot be minimized because there are greater sorrows in life. That can never be the measuring stick.

I agree that sewing is therapy. I've used it as such, even recently it gave me something positive and cheerful during a very rough pregnancy. I have a friend who found comfort in sewing while grieving the death of her 2 year old daughter. I think many of us can understand exactly where you are.

Your pinwheels are lovely!!! Hugs!

Marianne & Marie-José said...

I`am so sorry to hear the sadness about your dog. And what the others also say it is so good to have such a nice hobby in difficult times. I also often say my dogs and my quilts helps me through difficult times. I wish you all the best. Marianne

Luci said...

Oh sweetie, I am SO sorry! My heart aches when I see your pictures. We have a wheaten too and he will not fetch a ball either! We imagine him to be thinking "YOU threw it, YOU can go get it!" Said a little prayer for you.

Meredith said...

Sorry to hear that about your little one. I hope the process of quilting helps you through this time

Barbara said...

So sorry about your doggy. We had to put our sweet kitty down last year after 19 precious years with her. It's hard to lose a good friend.

Diane H said...

It is a big deal, Kathleen. My heart breaks for you and your family. Bless you for creating something beautiful at this most difficult time.

O'Quilts said...

Thank goodness for quilting!! It brings joy in the good times and soothes the sad times. And thank goodness for quilting friends! Sending good thoughts from the Carolinas.

marian said...

Dear Kathy, i am a teary mess reading your sad post this morning. i love my cats just as much as you love your sweet puppies they are part of the family and such comfort to us..never judging & loving us unconditionally.
i know how hard it must be to keep yourself occupied during times of sadness and i commend you on being creative with your sweet little pinwheel blocks..sewing is a wonderful distraction. take care..love, Marian

Jennifer @ Stitchin' Thyme said...

Oh Kathy I am so sorry you are having to go through this with Elmo. He looks like such a sweetie, I pray he is not in any pain. I wish I could say this would get easier but I think you doing the right thing and those pin wheels look fabulous. Funny about them is I was just thinking with everything I need to finish up I feel like doing some pin wheels too. Take care and I will pray for strength for you all.

Rebecca P said...

I am so sorry to hear what you are going though. Our animals are not just pets, they become a part of our family, & the pain when we have to say goodbye is strong.
I know sitting at my sewing machine piecing something when I am sad or worried, soothes the soul.
Hugs, to you.

Betty Lou said...

So sorry to hear about your four legged friend. I had to put my little Bichon down last October. She was 17 and had had a good life but she was my little girl. Our pets are special gifts to us from God, if only for a little while.

Mary A said...

Kathy,
My sister, Cathy, is also losing her beloved dog to cancer. Your needle can be the source of great solace. Love your little one while it's still here but know that another little soul will come your way. Your precious dog will send it your way. Mary

Anonymous said...

Kathy, There is a wonderful book called, "Don't Wrestle, Just Nestle" by Corrie Ten Boom. She is also the author of "The Hiding Place". You may have seen the movie from the book. I have read it several times when I was going through difficult times and it was such a comfort to me. I highly recommend it. You can find it on Amazon, as it is out of print. Blessings and prayers, Elaine

kiquilter said...

My heart goes out to you at this painful time. It seems that the lives of our furry friends are never quite long enough--a very good idea to have the vet come to your home if you can possibly arrange it.

It's good that we can turn to quilting to distract us from the sadness in our lives... you have expressed that so beautifully.

So touching how many of us have shared the sadness of losing a four-footed companion. In our family, beginning in 1967 with Rowdy (a fox terrier, and continuing with Jasper(also a fox terrier), Rommel (a German wirehaired pointer), Annie (a springer spaniel), Flint (another GWP), another Annie (also a GWP),and now our two German shorthaired pointers, Max and Enzo (a sweet rescue), our lives have been so enriched by the wonder and delight their presence has brought, the inevitable empty collars notwithstanding. You didn't need to know each of these best dogs' names, but I couldn't leave anyone out.

Jeanne said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your dog has cancer. My heart hurts for you. Sending hugs your way.

Beckyjean said...

My heart breaks for you.

Anonymous said...

It hurt so badly when my doggy died of a tumor I VOWED to never again get a dog!! EVER!!! I wont go through that again!

Kathie said...

I am so sorry to hear about your dog, lets hope the vet is wrong and its something he can operate on and remove.
yes make more pinwheels...just keep sewing and putting those fabrics together, happy color combo's for all the good memories and a few somber ones...
it will help you get thru this...
Kathie

Susie Q said...

So sorry to hear about your lovely dog. We went through the same with our Airedale Terrier Kelly. Also your other trials at the moment. Have faith and keep sewing. Love Susie x

edie said...

Kathy, I am so sorry. I have been in similar situations more times than I want to remember, and, yes, it was my stitching that helped me manage the pain. My heartfelt thoughts are with you. Hugs.

Cheryl said...

My heartfelt sympathy! Our pets are such an important part of our lives and their time with us is too short. One of the largest, and most complex quilts, I have ever made was the product of a stressful time in my life, so beware. Your pinwheel quilt could be quite enormous, but so therapeutic.

Maryjo said...

Hugs and prayers are headed your way...so sorry to read about your little loved one.

Anonymous said...

We had a beloved dog who had cancer...we gave him chemo and treatments for 6 years....don't give up!

terry said...

Hugs and kisses go out to you and your family.

Terry in So. Calif.

Sue Robinson said...

Kathy, I have just this week gone through the same scenario with my beloved Birman cat. However, when the vet operated to remove the tumour he was sure existed, he discovered that in fact he had developed stones in his intestine. The vet was able to operate to remove them and, as you can imagine, we were delighted that it wasn't cancer. Unfortunately, in our case, there wasn't a happy ending because our cat didn't survive the anaesthetic. We are devastated but he was 14 and the outcome could have been different had he been younger. I thought it was worth telling you - 'just in case'. I can really understand what you are going through at the moment. Love, Sue.

Beth said...

So sorry about all your troubles Kathy. I am sending you virtul hugs. Keep creating, it will help ease your pain.

Ayesha said...

This is really a good stuff, This sounds good. I like it. Photo Recovery

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Dear Kathie, I always find comfort and inspiration from reading your blog, and today I was deeply sorry to hear about your darling dog. I have a little poodle born in 2002 and have lost other dogs before. They become such a part of our lives.......I think your use of creativity to ease grief is a good one. Peace and blessings to you!

Wendy said...

Kathleen, don't worry about the rest of the world - family comes first. Just be there for your puppy when he needs you. Why don't you make him a little cancer quilt? I lost two of my precious cats in 2008 to cancer. My heart goes out to the both of you. And I agree with those who say "don't give up" just because it might be cancer.

Mary said...

Having something else to focus on really does help us get through hard places in our lives. My favorite dog ever had cancer so I know exactly what you're going through - maybe not how you feel but what you're going through. It doesn't matter if they aren't, they feel like our children. I'm so sorry to hear your news.

Karen said...

Oh, Kathleen...I am so sorry to hear about your dog's terrible illness. He is so adorable. I know all to well how that feels. The sadness can definitely take over your life for awhile, that's for sure. Keeping busy and creating always helps to ease the sorrow. I love your little pinwheels. Your fabric choices are always fun to see and so inspirational for me.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Hugs,
Karen

Heartsdesire said...

I certainly understand your sorrow. Our beloved cat of 17 years seems now to have developed kidney failure. Not an uncommon thing in cats, especially elderly cats as the vet refers to her. For us, she is not an elderly cat but a constant everyday companion. My husband is a writer working at home and this cat has helped him through many stressful deadlines. I'm not sure what he is going to do without her. And she has always been my greatest quilt tester and advisor. When she passes, which probably won't be long now, it will be a very sad time. I've started a new bright quilt, mainly from my stash and hope our Daisy will still be around to help me complete it. If not, it will always remind me of her.

Janet said...

So very sorry about your friend. May your wonderful memories bring comfort to you and the time you have left be spent in a loving way.

Vicky said...

My heart is breaking for you. Though some of us have been through this, and there's nothing we can say except you're in our thoughts and prayers and hearts.

Mary said...

So sorry to hear about your dog. It is such a difficult time when you know their time is short with you. It has almost been two years since our dog died and it still hurts. It took me to my knees for a while. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Mary

Jeana said...

I truly feel your pain. I had to put my beloved 17 yr old cat to sleep over three years ago. I still miss her dearly! We had her since she was a kitten and she was mine. Your feelings are justifiable; a pet is a part of your family and a part of your life. Give yourself time to grieve.

Angie said...

Oh Kathleen, I am so so sorry...my heart hears yours' and I too love my furbabies like they are human. An inconsolable loss when we have to release them. Sending many hugs to you.

Jeanne Lex said...

Kathleen, my heart breaks for you and your family. I know your beloved pup is part of your family - just remember the good times and how much he/she appreciates the wonderful home you gave him/her.

melody said...

Kathy,
I'm sorry your heart is hurting, just remember
next to God, the love you receive from your pet is purest most unconditional love you will
experience.

.

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