I feel silly for even posting this but it's a weird kind of grief I'm really struggling with so please have mercy on me.
So, I've never really been into children, I've always loved animals. I'm married, now aged 55. I've had countless dogs, cats, even horses. I did livestock for the fairs when I was young, I know and have experienced the life and death cycles of the all too short lives of our pets. And I've had some really special animals over the past, from my first dog when I was 5, to the dogs and horses I have today. I also have a long history of depression and anxiety. I have ptsd from medical trauma (I had a pulmonary embolism due to AFib and the ER doc had told me that my situation was very dire and might not survive, it was extremely frightening for me) so COVID was initially quite terrifying for me and still remains a point of fear (I still mask) due to my underlying health conditions. OK, enough of the background.
I have two rescue dogs, Bella and Lola. Lola we got as a puppy, and she is one of a kind. I've never had a dog like this. Smart, emotive, intuitive, funny, vocal, beautiful, unique...much to the point where I have found myself grieving her loss in advance, if that makes any sense. We became even closer over the pandemic, working from home, and then she had both knees replaced so I was her nursemaid and she lived in my bedroom where she's pretty much stayed ever since.
I often find myself looking at Lola and saddened, sometimes to the point of tears, knowing that I will lose her and feeling like when that day comes, I won't be whole again. I'm not sure how this has happened. I've never fixated on an animal like this before. It's like knowing that someone has a terminal illness. In an animal's case, it's knowing that their life is short. But instead of enjoying her while I have her, every day feels bittersweet because it's a day less instead of a day more. Now she's aged 8, and as a larger breed, the feeling that time is growing short is getting more intense and my grief seems to be growing with it.
I know the obvious answer is to see a therapist. I just wonder, has this happened to any of you, whether about an animal or a human? Or is this really way out there? It's so painful, it's such a painful thing to look at her with such love and such hurt at the same time. I sometimes feel like I won't survive her loss when it happens. Despite having family, and friends, that the absence will be too much for me. Maybe this is a pandemic/lockdown mental health issue. I just don't know. But I had to get this out somewhere, even if it's weird. Because I don't understand it and it scares me a little. Thanks for listening, and I hope you can be kind.