This helped me when I had to euthanize my kitty Hobbes.. I hope it helps.
"The Greatest Gift" by Karla M. Bertram:
I always knew this time would come,
From the very instant our eyes first met.
How I loved you then! How I love you now!
I made a promise then, and I will keep that promise now...
You will not suffer from a pain that will not heal;
You will not know the loss of a life remembered, now gone.
It is for me alone to make this decision,
The price for the bright joy and pure laughter
You brought me during the time we shared.
I am the only one who can decide when it is time.
When my hope dies, and my fear rides high,
Just when I need you most, I must let you go.
It is for you alone to tell me when you are ready
For without your guidance, I will not know
When to lay my grief, my guilt, my anger
My sorrow and my selfish heart aside
And give you this last gift, this greatest gift.
Your eyes will speak to mine, and I will know.
The pain of this moment is excruciating.
Tears stream down my face in a river of sorrow.
And my heart drowns in a pool of grief.
For you have spoken and I have listened,
And unlike other decisions I have made
This one brings no relief...no comfort...no peace.
For if there´s one thing you´ve taught me,
If there´s only one thing I´ve learned...
Unconditional love has a condition after all,
I must be willing to let you go, when you speak to me
I must be willing to help you go, if you cannot go alone.
And I must accept my pain so you can be free of yours.
Go easily now, go quickly now,
Do not linger here, it is time for you to leave.
Go find your strength, go find your youth.
Go find the ones who've gone before you.
You are free to leave me now, free to let your spirit soar
Rest easy now, your pain will soon be gone.
I pray I will find comfort in my memories...
In the dark and lonely days ahead.
I cannot say I will not miss you, I cannot say I will not cry.
For only my tears can heal my broken heart.
But, I promise you this; as long as I live,
You will live, alive in my mind, forever in my heart.
So I give you this last gift, all I have left to give,
And this will be my greatest gift...sending you away.
It is the measure of my unconditional love...
For only the greatest love can say,
"Good-bye, go find the bridge, we'll meet again,
Loving you has been the greatest gift of all."
-"The Greatest Gift" by Karla M. Bertram (CC-BY-SA)
I am serious when I tell you I want myself put to sleep when my body goes into serious deterioration, regardless of having a deadly disease or not.
I don't want to be soiling myself or not being able to move, see, or hear properly. I'd rather go before things get too bad. But at least I am a human, so there will be certain moral dilemmas and perhaps emotional suffering attached to it. But your dog? Your dog didn't have any concerns, he knew you'd take care of him. That's all he knew and never questioned it, never doubted you, never felt betrayed, not even at the final moment. He was in no distress over dying because he doesn't know/care about death. He has no awareness of its inevitability, or about the implications of ceasing to exist.
I'm sure your doggie loved you and he was lucky he had such a caring, compassionate owner who was wise enough to realize life was just not a pleasant thing to endure for him anymore. You had the courage to overcome your own emotional pain and did what was best for him. Some people are so afraid to deal with the guilt of euthanizing their pets that they only let them go after the poor animals have endured slow, consuming, and painful diseases/deterioration. You stood up for your little one. Be proud and happy of being a compssionate human being.
Thank you so much for your answer. I need to have my 18 yr old dog euthanized soon, and that was a difficult decision. My mother is in a nursing home, and as much as I love her (and she is getting very good care), I don't want to go that way, myself. You put into words so much of what I am experiencing on both levels. When it's my time, I'd rather be a dog, with a loving owner. Thanks again, at least I feel better now about my dog.
That's the best I've heard. I put my baby down 2 weeks ago, my sweet poodle Mackie 161/2 yrs old. I have guilt cause I couldn't b in the room- which means he was without his mommy for the first time. When he needed me most and I didn't have him cremated alone- so I don't have his ashes. It cost more - and now I regret and have guilt. He deserved Ro be with me, he deserved to be cremated alone. I am sick over this.
I know Mackie would have lived till 20 if I didn't do that, maybe I didn't do all I could.
thank you moran1988 for your wise and comforting words. just put down my 12 year old golden this aft. and am devastated feeling i could've waited longer. she had an acl tear and her other legs were weakening. i was afraid she couldn't handle the surgery and would suffer more from it so i ended her time now. she loved me so much and went though so much with me i can never love another like her. not sure how to manage in her absence.
I cannot tell you how much reading your reply has helped me. I put down my elderly bichon Riley (17.5) two days ago. He was almost blind, deaf and having bathroom accidents while we were home and while he slept. He stopped eating much a couple weeks ago and even accepting human food /treats and I was struggling to get him to eat anything. I realized his quality of life was deminishing and that sleeping 23 hrs a day was no "life" for him so I sadly chose to put him down. I have struggled since to get used a world without my best friend. I know in my heart he knew how much he was loved and that it wasn't fair to keep him here just so I could feel his presence. I miss him terribly and at times feel guilty even though he went peacefully at home in his bed and the vet was very caring and compassionate. We buried him afterwards on our property and I go there and talk to hiim everyday. Again , thank you so much for you post, it touched me and helped relieve some of what I am feeling. Debbie
Oh the sadness. Four days ago I had to have my dog of nine years put to sleep. She unexpectedly had a tumor on her spleen and was all of a sudden in pain. Damn cancer. I kissed her goodbye and could not be there for her passing. I just couldn't. True to how she lived, she accepted everything in the end. I miss her something terrible and see her everywhere I look. I know we had a good life together and I will always carry that with me.
Hi, I had to do the same thing but maybe for a different reason. My dog was a great dog, he was a Weimereiner/Black Lab cross, me and my best friend of 30 years who later became my husband, picked him out of a batch of puppies that were all balck except for him. Digbee was the mosy awesome dog ever. He was smart, obedient and he went with us everywhere. When he was 13 years old all of a sudden he just began to look sicky and act sickly and I foned the vet on the Friday made an appointment for Monday and he deteriorated even more over the weekend, he wouldn't eat or drink and his fur was falling out in clumps. So by the time I got to the vet it was certain he was very ill, but why? He had lost his glow and lust for life as if overnight. The vet took x-rays and we discovered a huge growth inside him, no question it was cancer. there was no doubt that any attempt to try and cure him would make him suffer and just prolong the inevitable. I said to the vet I had to take him home and tell my family. My son was too young to realize what was going on but my husband cried ( the first time Ive ever seen him to that)as I explained the whys and wherefores as to why we should do the right thing and end the suffering.
So being as it was my decision I felt very guilty, I felt like the bad guy, the canine reaper if you will, but in my many years of experience I had to be strong and I knew it was the best thing to do, the humanest thing to do. it is never easy to make that decision and for whatever reason we do, we somehow reach deep and know it will hurt like hell but somehow we know it help ease the suffering of our pets.
I did the best I could to help my dog feel comfy. i told the vet I would like to have him give the needle to my dog in the back of my van where my dog travelled endless miles with us as a family, I help his leg to raise the vein, I cradled his beautiful head in my arms and repeated, "got to sleep now Dig Dig, no more pain, no more pain, just sleep, go for your ride again, no more pain baby". I stroked him and kissed him until he had passed. That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life. I couldnt let go. I felt so guilty and the house was so empty without Digbee. I knew it was for the best and I gave him the best solution I was able to and I kept telling my self that.
I guess what I am saying is, there must have been a good reason for putting your dog down and we all have our ways of reasoning, be assured, its not a bad thing ever, as we are all only human and thats how we know. I hope you feel better knowing that you are not alone.
That is so beautiful. i also wanted her to be in my arms. i cradled her head in my arms looking into her eyes an telling her I love her while the rest of her body lay on the vets metal table which i had covered with a baby blanket . I watched the relief in her eyes as the medicine entered her body.This was yesterday and the pain of losing her is very painful. all these postings are helping me.
that was very touching what "dragon eyes" wrote. I feel your pain for sure... i had just done this very same thing 3 days before you did, making the actual decision was so intense for me because it all happened so quickly ...the level of grief i feel is not something i can wrap my head around....I'm glad we can come here and share our stories and find comfort...but it seems like a very long process of healing ....my heart is so heavy it feels like there's a brick in there....tears take over spontaneously from the guilt i have....she was my baby girl....it looks like we are not alone around here...be well...
You have to concentrate on the good times, and realize that you did the best thing for him.
Irregardless of what you didn't do, his love for you was there. And yours was there for him.
Don't you think it takes more love to put someone out of their pain & misery, then to keep them alive because you want them there? If you don't agree with that, I would consider you selfish. Thinking only of yourself.
But you didn't think of yourself. You did what was right for your companion. And that was all done with love.
You have nothing to feel guilty about.
I put my dog to sleep yesterday and feel nothing but guilt. After 11 years of being my best friend and companion, I keep thinking there must have been something else I could have done to save her. The vet said her only option was exploratory spleen surgery and if the spleen had cancer (which he thought it did) he would just put her down on the operating room table. If the spleen did not have cancer he would have removed it and told me she would have maybe an addition 6 months to a year of heavy medication with no great increase in her health. It was the hardest most gut wrenching decision I ever had to make as I buried my head in hers and kept kissing her and telling her I loved her while he gave her the pink shot. I still do not know if I did the right thing. She went down hill so fast - only one week from seemingly healthy to an extremey elevated white cell count with an enlarged spleen. How do you get over the guilt? I miss my baby and feel horrible.
that sounds so like what happened to me with my best mate "ROCKS"(boxer dog) it happened very late 12:35 9th jan this year he was a boxer & he really was everything & more you would want in a dog gaurd dog very loyal he was so loyal if a stranger put his fav food in front of him he would not take it never he would drowl like hell though! Anyway he was only 11yrs old and he started fainting going off his food & waterthen 1night i noticed a big lump in his side so i rang the vet(wish i didnt bother) the vet said bring him in straight away so we did :( 10:30pm next thing the vets said he has slpeen cancer & that if we take him home we would be selfish & best to euthanize i tell ya i felt li8ke they rushed ius into the decision i feel soooo.... guilty every time i look into the garden where hes buried i know our "Rocky" hated the vets & to let him die there i will never forgive myself. He gave a cry out when they injected him i miss him every day i feel your pain i really do
I have a yellow lab mix we rescued when she was just a few weeks old. I just euthanized my sweet Chloe girl 2 days ago. She was diagnosed with bone cancer in her pelvis and there was no option for surgery because of the location of the tumor. We dealt with it using pain meds over two months she was doing fine but then the meds just we're not working anymore. She was 9! I also feel guilt, sadness and my heart is very heavy. Prior to putting her to sleep I searched the web and read some sad stories trying to find some justification... I came across the following: "The cancer is killing your pet, you are just killing the pain". The was the most horrific decision I ever had to make in my life...sorry for your loss...
I know it has been a couple of years since your question, but tonight, just 4 long days after euthanizing our beloved KC dog, I needed to read what you all wrote over the past couple years. It seemed like our KC wasn't quite right over the past year, in general, but it was when hair started falling out in big clumps that we realized something was wrong. We took him to the vet, and after blood and urine tests, it was narrowed down to cancer or terminal kidney disease. We are financially not in a position to run more tests and ultrasounds and biopsies, and we felt like we had nowhere to turn. We watched our dog deteriorate in the past couple of months, but I still feel like I had some hope/denial about him getting sick, thinking he will get better, or the steroids that the vet put him on (which were almost making him worse) would start to work. It was heart wrenching, and after a conversation with a friend about prolonging the inevitable, it seemed to make sense that I help end my dog's suffering. I was VERY uncomfortable with the decision, but it also seemed right somehow. We found an a wonderful vet who comes to your home, and the process was so peaceful. OUr kids were there too, and they experienced this with us. As far as getting over the guilt, I like what I have read about focusing on what I did that was positive and how I loved my dog. We are not saints. We are human and our dogs love us anyway:) Thanks for all the words of wisdom.
When an animal is sick or in pain, you have to do the responsible thing and end their suffering when the time comes. It goes with the territory. When you accept a pet into your family, you also accept a commitment to doing what's best for them in the end. You'll feel sad for awhile, but as you do, I hope you'll take some comfort in the fact that you did the right thing for your dog.
This is a hard question. I felt so guilty over it that I hurt myself. I don't recommend that. Just accept that you helped him out of his pain, and he wanted you to do this. You did for him what he could not do for himself. And I know he loved you no matter how much attention you paid him. You did what you had to do, he still is around, as long as you remember him, and he feels better now.
Three weeks ago I had to put down my sweet little cat Bella Boo. She stopped eating and drinking and the vet confirmed that it was kidney failure. There wasn't much hope, she was severely dehydrated. She seemed perfectly fine the week before, but for about a year previously she had a habit of throwing up her food after eating. I thought it was because she ate too fast, and when I asked a different vet 6 months ago, she said it wasn't anything to be too worried about. Now I kill myself over that, I feel like I should have known earlier that her kidneys were failing, and tried to help her. It seemed like it all happened so fast, and there I was, driving away from the vet's, alone, uncontrollably sobbing, with an empty cat carrier. My friends and family told me I should try to focus on my other cat, Gypsy, and be thankful that I still have her.
But the day after Bella died I noticed Gypsy wasn't eating much, and the day after the same thing. Then I noticed that weekend that her breathing was fast and labored. I dropped her off at the vet's the next day, and he told me she had fluid in her chest cavity and did a blood test, which didn't reveal anything but high white blood cell count. But several diseases were ruled out, so I decided to put Gypsy on antibiotics and an appetite stimulant rather than take her back in to have the fluid drawn off and analyzed. It was a costly procedure and she would have to be sedated, and I knew she hated the vet. The day I picked her up she was covered in her own urine and sat under the bed for the rest of the day. Over the past 3 weeks, I have been giving- sometimes forcing, with a syringe- Gypsy her medication and a presc
We just had to put our Welsh Corgi, Toby down yesterday. He was 8 years old. He started to limp a couple of months ago and we received a pain killer from vet. It got worse so we brought him back and after xrays and more tests aggresive bone cancer was confirmed. They found his leg had fractured and said it was very painful for him so we had to choose amputation of leg, which would not cure it but buy a little time or euthanize. After much reading, research and talking (with lots of crying) we made the decision to put him down.
I seemed somewhat settled with that decision the day we took him. During the procedure holding him and telling him I loved him so much. But later when I got home I started feeling guilty and wondered if I did it too soon. He still liked to go for a ride, still liked his treats etc. Then you feel a big hole in your heart.
But as everyone tells you you did the right thing and it is because we love our pets so much that we make such hard decisions we can take comfort from that. Its true if we did not care so much or love so much we would not put ourselves thru such a difficult thing. Today we looked at old pictures & videos of him and remembered happy times. Today is better than yesterday, and hopefully tomorrow will be better too.
we just put our beloved black lab to sleep this weekend. He would soil himself often, not every day. the cleanup was difficult and keeping him clean even more. He had a skin condition that made bathing painful and he was a big dog. He could no longer sleep in our bedroom, since we have carpet, so he stayed in the ba
I have to put my 4 year old terrier mix to sleep because we can't afford spinal surgery. She has no movement in her hind legs and now her tail too. Even if we did have the $ its less than 50% chance she will make it. I'm in tears at the thought, I feel selfish whether or not we keep her alive, but I can't see keeping her on meds and a wheelchair and squeezing her belly all day just so she can urinate. What kind of life is that? Yet I still feel guilty. This is the worst decision to make, especially since she still has that magic in her eyes... but she's miserable, won't eat for days. This is the worst.
On July 1, 2013, we put our 10 year old Italian Greyhound to sleep. We learned that she had lung cancer the previous Monday. Other than breathing quickly and deeply, she seemed fairly normal.
Her last day, I got home from work, and she wagged her tail and trotted behind me to get her food. She ate every last bite of it, a treat, and her pill pocket containing her pain meds. I carried her upstairs to lay beside me while I was on my computer. She tossed and turned and couldn't get comfortable. She kept sitting up stretching her neck out and her ribs and lower abdomen were pumping 48 breaths per minute. I didn't want her to suffer.
I called a mobile vet that was recommeded to me. They said they would be at our house in an hour. In the mean time, my husband and I started a fire in the fireplace (Ava's favorite place to be). We let her lie there in the warmth until they arrived. She walked around slowly and sniffed the vet and her assistant. Then it was time. They gave her a shot to relax her and it initially really hurt her; she screamed out several times until I reached for her and held her in my arms. She died before they even injected her with the euthanasia. Her body got so relaxed, she stopped taking the deep breaths that she needed to get oxygen, and her heart stopped. She jerked twice which really upset me; I am not sure why. I wanted it to be peaceful; the pain she felt from the first shot just broke my heart, and I can't stop thinking about it. I feel so guilty even though I know that I shouldn't. She was a rescue that I had had for 9 years, and she trusted me. It breaks my heart to have hurt her.
I made the decision to euthanize my 13 year old dog two days ago. I have never felt so much pain and guilt in my life. I am sick over it. He had a cancerous tumor the size of three tennis balls on his chest. It got worse and worse in a very short amount of time. It started bleeding and oozing. On Sunday the bleeding went from drips to pouring. He couldn't get comfortable, he would just walk around panting and his mouth foaming. His breathing was very labored but he was mentally alert and eating. When the bleeding got so bad we took him to the emergency hospital in fear he would bleed to death through the night. After the initial sedation he came in the room to me and went straight to the door like, "take me home". I feel like I did the wrong thing, like I killed my own dog. I feel I made a horrible mistake that I cannot recover from and cannot take back. Who am I to have taken the life of a being I am responsible for? I am having the worst time with this and no matter what I read to cope, I feel I was terribly wrong.
My mom and I had our beloved 16 year old cat euthanized yesterday at the vet. We knew she was very ill, but when the vet told us she had gone from 6.3 pounds to 4.3 in less than 2 months, we knew we would have to put her to sleep at that moment. She had been having trouble for close to 2 months. She was having significant breathing problems. Maybe heart failure, maybe cancer. It was just so sad to see her on the table. We had her on a blanket, but it was like she knew what was coming. She did not put up a fight. She seemed resigned to it, maybe it's what she wanted. I know it is humane, but I still feel like I killed her. And while I know it was the right thing to do, I regret it a little because she was still eating, using the litter box, and jumping on furniture. But the vet said it was the only humane thing to do because he could tell she was in pain but if we brought her home it could be a slow death. Although we were present and touching her the whole time, I can't help feeling I wish I had said "sorry" or held her one more time. Is that strange? I just feel like I did not properly say goodbye. Maybe there could never be enough times to hold her and say goodbye. But it's hard to see it that way right now. I feel guilty, not about putting her down, but I just hope she knew we were there and loved her.
I felt the exact same way. Two days ago we put down my 9 year old golden retriever with bone cancer. After a horrible weekend, we knew it was time- but that day he was having a very rare, good day. Before then, he has stopped eating for twodays and was not getting up to go outside very often...this day, he ate and was fine...He was excited for the car ride, wagging his tail, excited at the vets... Thinking it was just another checkup with his favorite doctor. I feel so guilty, like I betrayed him. He didn't know he was going to die... I cradled his head in my arms as he went but thinking back, I wish I could have said more. As the vet was pushing the euthanasia in I just kept wanting to scream "stop, I change my mind!" but I didn't. I couldn't. And I watched the light die in his eyes and listened until
He stopped breathing. Even after I couldn't believe he was dead. I listened for a heart beat and nothing. He was gone but I
Couldn't wrap my mind around it. It took everything I could to leave they dog behind that day in the vets office, close the door , and drive home to face our other pets who have never been separated from him ( his brothers). I can't get the picture of his sweet face out of my
Mind as he passed away, and the thought that maybe we should have waited just one
This was exactly what happened to me, this very day. Lately our 10 German Shepherd, Sophie had been looking really miserable. After a couple of consecutive days not eating we took her to the vet and discovered, four tumours, two on her kidney one on her liver and one on her lung. We were told they were all cancerous and even with surgery, could not be removed. The next day while she was out on her walk she collapse and wouldn't seem to get up. After a while however she picked herself up and walked back to the car. She was miserable for the rest of the day so we called an at home euthanasia service to come and put her to sleep. When the lady arrived however Sophie immediately switched back to her old self again. She was happy and excited at meeting this strange lady who had just entered her home. As we cuddled and cried we fed her lots of treats which she absolutely loved. She was perfectly normal and had a big smile on her face the whole time unaware that this was the last time we would ever be together. I can't help but feel like just when she seemed to be getting better we decided to give up on her. She was just so happy in her last moments, the happiest we had seen her in weeks and I just stole it from her saying "well you're going to die sometime so it may as well be now." I know that's not how it was and that it broke my heart to let her go but I just feel so guilty, like I should have treasured her for as long as I possibly could.
Love you, my baby xx
What a greatat forum. I rescued a mature female beagle a year ago and due to her deteriorating health put her to sleep a week ago. I feel tremendous guilt and can empathize with what everyone here has gone through. Keeping in mind they have no awareness of death, no concept of it, as suggested by others, helps but I'm still haunted by the way she seemed to know something was up, refusing her favorite treats and just looking straight ahead. It feels like she knew.
I just put my Shih Tzu, Rocky, to sleep May 1st. I know what you mean about them knowing something is going on. He would have been 14 on July 25. He had congestive heart failure and for the past couple of weeks was coughing more than normal, etc. on the day I took him in he wouldn't eat or take his pills. In the car he loved to sit in the counsel next to me but on this day he sat in the other seat just staring ahead. And yes I loved him to death. He was my little boy and followed me everywhere. Ten years ago I had a heart attack and he wouldn't let me lie down. That saved my life and here I was ending his. I am so happy that I found this site. It is helping. I seem to be crying all the time and I have his litter mate Sophie to take care of. She has diabetes, cataracts, and needs me.
get a puppy. serious.
everyone says that...it must be true...but how long to wait? thanks...
I know just how you feel. My puppy Angelo was my best friend, always there for me, loved me no matter what. One day his Back legs became paralyzed out of nowhere so we took him to the vet and they told us that it was a neurological problem and that he wouldnt be able to go to the bathroom or walk. He loved to run and we couldnt bare to see him suffer, Angelo was only 8 years old when he went up to Heaven. I am 17 years old and i had him for half of my life, if was the single hardest thing i have ever had to do and i miss and love him so so so so much. Just think of it like this, You loved him so much that you had to let him go, just like God did with Jesus. And i know how badly it hurts right now but just know that you can see him again in heaven some day because God loves all his creations and dogs are sinless and they give you the kind of unconditional love that God is giving them at this very moment and he is happier then he ever was on earth. Look forward to spending eternity with him! And try to think if God was trying to teach you a lesson through your dog, i know he did with mine and i am a better person now because of Angelo. I am sorry and i will keep you in my prayers. please pray for Angelo also!
I miss my dog. I wonder if I did the right thing. I feel devastated.
I had to put down my precious 15 year old Border Collie, Kiva, nearly six weeks ago and I'm still tore up over it. She was a wreck with numerous ailments and then she completely quit eating over the Labor day weekend. I didn't think it was that serious until the following Tuesday when she hadn't eaten for 4 days. I had already discussed putting her down with the the Vet about two weeks earlier when I had taken her in for a lame front leg. She had already lost a lot of control of her arthritic rear legs and her rear leg muscles had atrophied. Her legs would splay and she couldn't get up off a slippery floor. She could barely walk now with this lame front leg. The Vet initially thought the front leg would resolve itself but it didn't. Her mind was going also.
She also had skin infections that stopped responding to antibiotics and her hair was falling out. After two trips to the Vet and a cortisone shot, her front leg wasn't getting any better after 3 weeks and I decided her quality of life was nil and it was about time to say goodbye. Even then though, I bought her a 30 lb. bag of dog food a few days before she quit eating not yet willing to accept that it was her time.
The Saturday before Labor day I noticed she hadn't touched her food that night with the pain medicine and a new antibiotic. I wasn't able to get a hold of the Vet until the Tuesday after Labor day. Over the phone, he suggested it was probably her kidneys. She was terribly sick and just lying on the floor not sleeping with her eyes open and breathing with quick short shallow breaths. On Wednesday I made the appointment for the next day to put her down.
Now I'm riddled with guilt because I never had her diagnosed. Even though she hadn't eaten in 6 days and was a wreck with other ailments, I feel I jumped the gun. It isn't logical but I can't get over it. I knew she was dying and I didn't want to traumatize her with more trips to the Vet. She was the favorite thing I've ever had in my life. We were together 24 hours a day for nearly 15 years since nearly to the day when my ex-wife and I split up. I've never had to put a dog down before this. It's been nearly six weeks and I still cry over her every day. I knew this day was coming and I thought I was preparing myself for it. I hadn't really prepared myself at all. I know I shouldn't feel guilty and that I did the right thing, but I think the guilt is a result of the raw emotions that I couldn't have ever prepared myself for. Her loss has been the biggest loss of my life and I think the emotional response to that is really what causes the illogical feelings of guilt. I want things to be different. I don't want her to be gone and there is some emotional part of me that thinks things could have been different even though I know she was an ailing old sick dying dog. I'm looking forward to the day when the emotional response is gone and I can just feel the love and joy without the sadness