Farewelling a Princess

Hi, it’s Karen here, Magnum’s mum.  Since Magnum kicked off her memoirs last week I would like to indulge myself a little by telling you about how we laid her to rest and celebrated her beautiful and inspirational life.

I collected Magnum’s ashes from the hospital one week after we said goodbye.  The staff gave me a beautiful book entitled “Dog Heaven” with lots of lovely messages of support.  I was really touched.  I knew that Magnum had worked her charms on the hospital staff but it was still very warming to my heart to see that we had left a lasting impression on them.  Her oncologists summed it up – “….it was a short but wonderful time to have her in our lives.  I can only imagine how wonderful your life with her was. Thank you for the love and care you gave her during this time….….I will miss her visits here, she gave us so many smiles and was always so happy…..”

It was important to me to give Magnum a “proper” funeral in the same way that you would for any beloved family member.  To my naive surprise no-one within my circle of friends or acquaintances had ever done anything like it.  But, thanks to the support of a few close friends I arranged for a private service three weeks after Magnum left us.  It was a special and moving experience.  (Note from Magnum –  Mum’s grief was all consuming, she couldn’t feel me by her side as she read out a letter she had written to me.  It was so heartbreaking to witness her anguish. She still carries way too much guilt in her heart and the very foundations of her faith have been shaken. Hence why I feel the need to take a little time out from Rainbow Bridge to help her write our story and regain her faith.)

We celebrated Magnum’s wonderful life the following day with her closest friends and the pawrents of some of her best doggie friends including the pawrents of her favourite “boyfriend” who had left for Rainbow Bridge the year before.   While it was Magnum’s day it also gave everyone present the chance to honour their furry friends (past and present) within a warm, supportive environment of people who (mostly) truly understand what it means to love our dogs as treasured family members.  Inviting the doggie friends (some of whom I only knew by the dog’s name, I didn’t even know the humans names!) was inspired by the amazing support of the Tripawd community.  The comfort and support I found from Tripawds made such a difference in my hours of need that I was inspired to tap into the flesh and blood support in my local community and was humbled by the response.

Did it help me find closure? No!  I hate that word, closure.  I don’t want closure. There can never be closure for the loss of someone you love because they will always be in your heart.  I long for peace, for fewer tears and more smiles when I remember my beautiful little girl……………….. What it did do, was begin the long road to healing my broken heart.

During the weeks prior to and following Magnum’s death we had beautiful autumn weather in Sydney after what had been a very wet, cool summer.  I hated those sunny days following her death. All I could think about was how much Magnum would have loved sitting in the park watching the world go by.

It has now been six weeks since we lost Magnum and while the heart wrenching sobbing has lessened not a day goes by where I don’t find myself in tears.  I wish I could say that the emptiness in my heart, the terrible ache in my soul, has eased, but it hasn’t. Not yet. Not for a long time.

Thank you in advance for letting Magnum and I share our story with you.  During Magnum’s illness I kept a daily diary.  Re-reading it has been bittersweet as I start thinking about how to narrate her journey. However, there is  one light that stands out…… we did a lot of living, truly living in the moment, during those extra eight months we were given together.  I have no regrets about time well spent.  If nothing else, Magnum taught me a lot about how to “BE MORE DOG”!


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Princess Magnum from Rainbow Bridge

Hi, this is Magnum, aka Princess. It has now been five weeks since my spirit was set free.  As much fun as I am having wreaking havoc at Rainbow Bridge I still need to keep one eye on my mum who is doing it tough and still needs me.

Mum wasn’t up to sharing our journey as it happened so my final gift to her is to help her write it now.  It is a story with all the usual suspects –  love, tragedy, heartbreak and hope.  Between us we will try and write a little bit each week and we’ll try to keep it as brief as we can!

When I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma mum discovered Tripawds but she wasn’t ready to face the inevitability of my fate and stayed away from the site.   It was only when the mets started to show themselves that mum knew she could no longer do it alone and came back to Tripawds looking for support and understanding.  She found it in abundance and I am eternally grateful to all those who gave her that much needed support. It made it a little easier for her to say goodbye when the time came.

Mum always wanted to share my story but was scared of tempting fate.   I know she wants to tell the world what a brave and beautiful girl I was (her words, not mine, although I was never known for being modest so I guess they could be my words too! When your mum keeps telling you what a beautiful and good girl you are you start believing it). This is partly to help mum heal and exorcise some demons and partly in the hope that our experiences – feelings, decisions, regrets (mum’s regrets, not mine, us dogs don’t suffer from that affliction) – will help other mums and dads who find their much adored dogs facing this insidious disease.

Mum found an inner strength she didn’t know she had when she allowed my spirit to soar on Saturday 5th May 2012.    She had taken the Monday off work to spend quality time with me but cancer has a way of catching you by surprise, even when you are expecting it. So, instead of the anticipated pleasure of cuddling in the autumn sun mum spent the day in a flood of tears as she commenced work on a tribute for me.  I wanted to comfort her, let her know that I was happy, safe and pain free but she couldn’t hear me.

(Note from mum (Karen) – Below I’ve scanned the card my husband and I sent out to friends one week after Magnum lost her eight month battle with osteosarcoma. She was everything to me and it was (and still is) so hard to believe that I will never again cuddle her warm body, bury my face in her fur, gaze into her adoring eyes or wake up to her kisses.   I still miss her so much.







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