Your Pet Loss Diaries

'Benji & Cinnamon'


Aug 27, 2011

by Benji

Cinnamon, seven months ago (almost to the date) you left this world quite abruptly. I was shaken up. No one had expected it. We thought you had more time, we thought you'd be with us for many more years. On January 26th, however, our world was turned upside down. One of my best friends (that's you) was taken from me right before my eyes. I tried to do everything I could, but it was too late. You left this world and I was powerless. I was unable to help. I was sad, I was confused. I was angry.

For days afterwards, I was in shock. Logically, I knew it had happened. You know me, always the one with the brain on my shoulders. That thing never stops working, not even for a second. I knew you were gone. It wasn't a question of knowing, however. It was a matter of believing. I went to bed on that cold, lonely, Winter night not wanting to believe you were gone. I didn't get to sleep until five o'clock in the morning because I kept hearing you cry. I kept wondering if you were somewhere and if you needed me. And when I finally did find sleep, it wasn't peaceful. For days, I wanted to believe that I would wake up and it would have all been a dream. A horrible, horrible dream. That did not happened. Every day I woke up and I had to face the reality. You were gone and I would never physically see you again. But Cinnamon, please understand, you never left my heart.

Over the past seven months, I've learned a lot of things. About myself, about loss, about grief, about love. You taught me so much while you were alive. There was always something beautiful about the way you seemed to see the world. Curiosity. You weren't afraid to pursue it. Mostly everyone that met you loved you and rightfully so. For there was something sweet, something beautiful in your deep, brown eyes. You taught me that nothing should be taken for granted. And Cinnamon, you still continue to teach me. Some of the lessons have been hard to learn, some have scared me and made me shed a few tears, but they were learned and they matter. My love for you was - is - so strong that even though you are no longer physically with me, I still feel as though you are an integral part of my life.

For so long after your loss, I was scared, Cinnamon. I was scared that it would never get easier, scared that I would always feel this big, emptiness in my heart, and scared that I'd never be able to talk about you. I still have this big, emptiness there and I'm still not able to talk about you without crying (I'm crying even as I type this, Moo Moo), but I'm not so scared any more. I'm not so scared because I know that what I'm feeling is a reminder that you were there. That at one point in time, you sat on my lap and I stroked your head and you were.

Your loss was such a shock to me that for a long time, I did not want to open my heart to another dog. I was too afraid to. Afraid of what? I'm still not even sure. I helped take care of Princess, but my heart wasn't open. I cared about her, but I did not love her. Not like I love my dogs. Not like I love you. Then my sister got Ninja. I was a bit hesitant. Who was this little, black, fluff ball trying to make his way into my life? He was cute, but he was no you. Days turned to weeks, and weeks became a month and I fell head over heels for him. Cinnamon, it was bittersweet. It made me happy because I'd been worried that I had closed myself off too much, but it made me sad because I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I was holding this puppy, and playing with this puppy, and opening my heart to this puppy... when my wounds for you were still so fresh. And now, Cinnamon, now... there's another. Sweeney has come into our lives so suddenly and I felt that "click". That "click" that we felt with you. He is no you, of course. He's much different. The only thing you and him have in common is the amount of fur you leave behind on our carpet. But the fact that I can feel that click lets me know that, maybe, in time... this grief I'm feeling for you will be easier.

I still miss you. I still think of you every day. I still sleep with your favorite squeaky toy under my pillow at night and I still keep your collar in a place where I can always find it if I'm feeling low. I still cry when I talk about you, and still can't look at your pictures without shedding at least a tear. But I know that one day, I'll be able to think of you and smile through those tears. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even next month. But one day. Thank you, Cinnamon. Thank you for everything. Thank you for teaching me a little bit more about life, thank you for teaching me a lot about love, thank you for teaching me about loss, and thank you for allowing me to understand that just because I move on doesn't mean I have to forget. I am not replacing you. I hate the term replace. For you are not being replaced. You will always be with me - in my heart - so replacing you would be impossible. It's like my mother told me back in February, love doesn't divide, it only multiplies. For six long years you were my dog, my pet, my companion, my friend. And nothing could replace six years of unconditional love.

In loving memory of Cinnamon

This poem accurately describes how I feel about Sweeney and Cinnamon already,

Sometimes I look for traits in you
Of a little dog you never knew.......
A dog that loved me all his days
And understood in special ways.
But that's not fair to you, you elf;
You're not a substitute; but yourself!
You've eased the loss, soothed the pain
And tugged my laughter home again.
Yet, puppy, at times I almost start
When your eyes recall him to my heart;
You'll never lack for love, it's clear
Because of him, you're twice as dear.


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