August 16, 2010
Max, my dog died yesterday. It was unexpected. It is devastating. It’s more devastating to move on with everyday life. I’m sitting in bed, more than 24 hours later. It’s pouring down rain and all I can think of is that he is curled up in that little hole in the backyard becoming one with the earth so permanently. I can’t cope with this. I’m overwhelmed with grief. Sadness. Regret. Love. I just miss him. I want him inside my house where he should be. On the end of my bed or in the kids bed. I’m overwhelmed and consumed. I envy people walking around that are not consumed by sadness. Who are not feeling loss. I never know how to understand why these things happen. Why people who deserve to remain on this earth among others who love them? Who want them. I hate that I can’t look out for him, care for him. I don’t know why he died. I only hope and pray that it wasn’t something I did. That is what makes this so much more difficult. It reminds me of how fragile life really is. That all the details that we stress about in our daily lives can be so meaningless.
I think of my children. That it could just take one time to fall off the bed wrong, choke or step in the wrong direction. Like max, if a bowl of cherries was his fate in death—all I had to do to change that was move it from one table to the other where he couldn’t reach them. I just hope he knows that he was loved.
Right before he died he looked at me with a panic. It’s so odd to me that an animal can tell you something with a look. That I knew him well enough to know that something wasn’t right. I’m thankful that I was there with him. He wasn’t alone. But I was useless. I couldn’t do a thing and my heart is just broken over that exact moment. I couldn’t help him and it’s all I could say to him was that it was okay. You’re okay. But he cried and then stopped breathing. I replay it over in my head a million times over.
So I have to do what we all do in life. Grieve. Be sad. Share. Keep going. Remember my loss. I just don’t know that my sadness will end. My house feels so empty. Nothing feels the same and the small things are what get me. Not the dog bowl or his favorite spot. But that part of his neck I always petted. He licked my legs after a run. How he got excited and ran to the door every weekend morning because he knew it was his time to go in the car for coffee.
I don’t expect this to be easy. I don’t have to like it. But my heart will always be heavy for him and I will always remember him. My life is so different that he was in it and I’ll always be thankful for his personality and that he was my first chance to truly take care of another life and do it well. I can say that proudly. He had about the best life a dog could have. He never knew abuse. He never slept outside (except when we were camping). He never went hungry. He slept in a bed almost every night of his nearly 11 years. If he was sick, he was cared for. He never became lonely because he was always surrounded by people who loved him. He had a dog door to go in/out as he pleased with a yard full of things to hunt. He liked to sit in sunny spots in the spring and fall especially. His pretty white fur always felt the nicest after that.
I only hope wherever his mind is, it’s in peace. It’s safe, cared for and that he knows he will always be part of my family. Part of me.
This is unedited. I don’t know who reads this anymore. But I had to get my thoughts out on paper.
He was a true gift of life on my birthday in November 1999 and passed away 9am on August 15, 2010.