I miss you so much! We always joked that you likely thought the world would come to a crashing hault when you died as you made it clear you thought we couldn't do anything right without you. You were darn near right. Although it does go on without your soulful eyes, stubby wagging tail, and constant nagging, it is lacking. The world became a less beautiful place when you left it. Our world did, at least.
When you chose us that fateful day nearly 13 years ago at the humane society our lives were altered. (I know you let us think we picked you, but we really know it was the other way around). Our house was suddenly full of dog hair needing near daily vacuuming. Our bedtime became determined by your wishes, as we were not allowed to remain downstairs once you decided to go up to bed. Our bed was no longer ours, but yours and we were barely tolerated in it. Laughter filled the air daily. Cares were forgotten when we walked in the door in our need to greet and be greeted. Your smiles and kisses wiped them away. Christmas was the best. You loved Christmas. The jingle of that ridiculous bell collar you loved. You desperately jumping and wagging your tail, trying to get at your stocking. You stealing and opening everyones' presents for them. You LOVED to unwrap presents! When you took your last breath it was again altered. The house is smaller, somehow. No one ushers me out the door when I'm running late in the morning. No one sits with me on the floor as I eat my cereal. I don't have dog hair on my shirt from my last good bye on my way out the door. We are lost.
Letting you go was the hardest thing we've ever done. You have been the center of the family for so long. You were our first kid, 6 years before we had another two legged variety. You protected us. You herded us. You let your endless frustration show when we fell out of your strictly enforced routine. You kicked us in your sleep. You growled at us when we foolishly tried to stretch our cramped legs at night, rudely disrupting your beauty sleep. You watched over our every move, supervising all activities to ensure they were done correctly. We couldn't shovel dirt or mulch without your nose in the middle of it, or you laying on top once placed. We couldn't clean, dress, bathe, light a fire, watch t.v. or have anything repaired or constructed without you overseeing all matters with your endless attention to detail. You no longer curl up in your armchair (yes, I admit it was yours) and stare us down until we get up from our comfortable place on the couch and cover you with your blanket. No one slaps their lips together at 8pm sharp to inform us it's dinner time.
I see you out of the corner of my eye all the time. As I stand in the kitchen I swear you are laying there in your spot in the play room watching over dinner preparations. I hear the jingle of your collar, the click of your nails on the hardwood floors. As I rush out the door I catch myself yelling one last good bye to you, only to remember you're not there. Then I close the door fighting back tears again.
The kids are trying to wrap their heads around it. Big bro is processing, slowly digesting the reality of life without you. Having experienced his first loss, he now fears more. He's asking about the life expectancy of his geckos, afraid he will soon lose them as well. His sense of security is lost. He's afraid to go downstairs as he gets ready for bed to retrieve his forgotten teddy. I have to go with him and hold his hand. When you were there he felt safe, now he's unsure. He pulled out all his pictures of you and keeps them by his bed, afraid he'll forget you. Little bro doesn't yet understand what it means. He seems to start to get it, then the next day look for you again, ask when you're coming back. Death is a concept too hard for his 3 year old self to fully grasp. Life without you not possible to him. I miss you being out there when they play in the back yard, watching over them in the sandbox, or on the swings and slide. I miss you laying in your pool in the backyard on hot days.
I want to thank you for 13 wonderful, loving, fun filled years. I've enjoyed our walks. I've enjoyed our snuggles. I've enjoyed being bossed around. I've enjoyed your antics. We tell and retell the stories of your escapades and laugh through the tears. You had more personality than any person I know. I'm so grateful you chose us to care for you. I treasure the times we shared, the kisses, the belly rubs. You made life rich and full. You are missed, but you are never forgotten.
I'm happy you did not suffer. I'm happy you did not linger. I'm happy you lived a full, happy, active life. The night of your last episode you were smiling, happy, mischeivous. It came on suddenly, but for that even I'm grateful. I could not have watched you in agony. I know your last few hours were uncomfortable as we tried desperately to treat you, to hold on to you for a little longer, but it was not long. Letting you go peacefully was heartbreaking, but I know it was right. In our 13 years together I never saw my husband cry like that, not even when his childhood friend died suddenly. You were special, and you brightened the world by merely being in it.
Be at peace. While we're sad, we hold on to your memory, those stories, and you are still with us. You are forever tatooed onto our hearts. In my mind you are young and fast again. You no longer struggle to rise in the morning, even if you did handle that with grace and a smile. You are laying in the sun in the middle of a big, open field. You are laying in the sole mud puddle of that field, surveying your kingdom. You are happy.
But, damn, I really miss you.
More from parenting