Thursday, August 12, 2010

In Memoriam: Harriet “Hattie” Dworak, 2000-2010

 
I am in Jeddah, having arrived two nights ago.  In a later post I will describe my first impressions of the city and my new life here, but for now I need to grieve.  The myriad of emotions that I have been through over the past 50 hours is indescribable.  I am not feeling strong enough yet to go into detail about what happened, but my beloved friend and faithful companion of seven years, Hattie, passed away before she was released from Customs at the airport.  It is an unspeakable tragedy and one for which I will feel immeasurable guilt and sadness for a long time to come.  While the circumstances of her death were beyond my control, it is very hard to convince myself that it was not ultimately my fault.  I know rationally that I shouldn’t think that, but unexpected loss often brings immense guilt to loved ones.  I am no exception. 

My new colleagues and friends, without exception, have been supportive and comforting beyond words and have gone well and above the call of duty to help me navigate both the bureaucratic and emotional side of this tragedy.  Without their help I would be lost entirely, and I never would have been able to achieve any sort of closure.  Today, in a peaceful corner of the Consulate grounds, with a number of people supporting me, I laid Hattie to rest.  I take comfort in the ability to visit her grave and spend time with her over the course of my tour.

I am heartbroken over the loss and particularly the traumatic circumstances of Hattie’s passing, but I know in time I will be able to remember only the wonderful things from my seven years with her.  From the first time I met her (in the car when my family picked me up from the airport during a college break, when she bounded onto my lap and gave me her patented expectant look and then promptly rolled over for a belly rub), to the countless nights she kept my feet warm, to her endless hours of ‘exercise’ that both fascinated and irritated people, to the past year of living in DC and taking many very hot road trips, we made a great team.  She was quirky and eccentric, but maybe that’s why we bonded so well. 

Here’s to Hattie.  



19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog in researching foreign service blogs and I have to say I am absolutely heartbroken for you. As a dog owner and lover myself, I can only imagine the pain you are feeling at what is surely a senseless tragedy. I know that there are no words that I or anyone can offer to ease the pain.

Randyn said...

Again, Sadie, so sorry for your loss.

QueenofHarts said...

Sadie, I'm very sad to read this. I can't imagine how you feel. As a dog lover my heart goes out to you!

Kristin

Kim said...

What a beautiful post, Sadie. It's a touching tribute to Hattie. My husband has taught me the importance of pets and how they become a part of your family, so I understand how traumatic this event must be. And combined with the complexities of moving to a foreign country -- I can only imagine. My thoughts are with you...

Erin said...

I am crying as I read this, Sadie. My heart goes out to you during this most difficult time. Love and strength and hugs to you friend.

Sadie said...

To all of you, a heartfelt thanks for your support and kind words. While nothing can bring back the loss, I am truly comforted by all of my amazing friends (new and old), even from a distance. Please know your comments and support are helping me heal.

Digger said...

I am so sorry. I know how much you loved (and still love) her, and what an important part of your family she was.

Connie said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss (from your friend's blog). We are cat people, but the love is the same stuff. Our family lost our beloved elderly cats last year, right before our PCS, and it made the tough adjustment even tougher. I empathize, and truly wish your dear Hattie had had many, many more years with you.

Jen said...

I just wanted to say that I am so sorry about your loss. A PCS is hard enough on its own. Thinking of you!

Wendy said...

I just found your blog through fb.....I am so sorry and sad to hear about your Hattie. As a fellow dog lover I am thinking about you during the incredibly hard time. Hugs...

Bfiles said...

I'm not really an animal person but your post touched me so much. I'm so sorry for your loss, which added to the arrival in a new country must feel just overwhelming. So glad you have supportive colleagues. I wish you strength.

Sara said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Sadie.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for you. As a pet person myself and as someone who has moved my cat overseas once, and may have the reason to do it several times again over the course of his life, I can imagine how bad it feels. Even the feeling of leaving our cat at the airport was bad! It may be a lot to ask a stranger, but if you do have any tips based on your experience that could help others as we move, please share as your feelings allow. Maybe it would help to know you can help others thinking of moving pets. My best wishes to you.
Leo

eve said...

I am sending tons of tail-wagging furry love to you across the oceans from me and my canine friends to you and your sweet departed. I know it makes it especially tough when those unconditionally loving friends are the ones we generally turn to in times like this. My heart is with you.

bonmace said...

I am so sorry that you lost Hattie. I have tragically lost a pet before and know the devastation you feel. I will be a new FSO and headed to DC soon. I am taking my dog and am now scared to take her overseas after reading your blog. I know you are not yet feeling up to explaining what happened, but when you feel better would you be willing to say what happened in hopes that others might avoid a similarly dangerous situation? My thoughts are with you.

Heather Dray said...

You've been included in this week's FS Blog Round-Up.

http://thewanderingdrays.blogspot.com/2011/07/viva-la-packout-fs-blog-round-up-week.html

Please contact me with any errors or if you'd like to be removed from the feed.

Sadie, I'm so sorry for your sweet pooch. I have just recently gone through some of your old blogs and didn't realize this had happened to you until I read this. It's hard to lose a pet, and I can't imagine how you must have felt just arriving to post. Hugs and support to you from way across the world as you remember her a year later. She was a beautiful, sweet, and wonderful companion.

Raquel said...

Sadie, what a beautiful, heartfelt post. i'm very sorry for your loss... i grew up with dogs, and now, due to our nomad way of life, i feel like we're denying our kids to cherish the joy i had growing up... very sorry, hope you find some peace of mind among your sweet memories...

Stephanie said...

I cant believe this happened....I also traveled with my shih tzu to brazil. She made it safely. However she passed away about 6 months ago because someone left poison out (for mice) mixed with food and she found it at ate it. I feel entirely at fault and I miss her every single day. She was like my child (since my husband and i dont have children yet). she came with me everyone. she was always by my side. Even today it feels strange that she's not here. Im sorry for your loss and I hope united will change their policies for FS.

Stephanie said...

I cant believe this happened....I also traveled with my shih tzu to brazil. She made it safely. However she passed away about 6 months ago because someone left poison out (for mice) mixed with food and she found it at ate it. I feel entirely at fault and I miss her every single day. She was like my child (since my husband and i dont have children yet). she came with me everyone. she was always by my side. Even today it feels strange that she's not here. Im sorry for your loss and I hope united will change their policies for FS.