I didn’t know it was the last time…
You would slurp noisily from the water bowl
You would crunch a stick in half
You would stumble into the bathroom to eat toilet paper
I would scoop your kibble out of the bin
I would take you on a walk around the backyard
I would give you your aspirin half an hour after lunch
Your little brother would snuggle up next to you
You would take a wrong turn trying to find the kitchen, while the others waited anxiously for the meal to be served
You would sniff the air
I would help you down the ramp
I would lead you to the fluffy bed in the living room
I would say, “Good dog!”
I would pick you up after you had fallen
If I had known, I would have paid attention to every detail, so I could always recall the moment with perfect clarity.
But if I had known, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the moment, because it would have been touched with a sense of loss.
Oh, sweet pea. I have been thinking about you so much since I learned of Dante’s passing. For those of us who work from home in the company of our canine sidekicks, their continuous presence is a comfort, despite occasional (okay, maybe frequent) interruptions. Even on the occasions when they’re just lying across their beds snoring as you’re working nearby, the companionship is there. And as you gaze across the room now to the place where he would normally be, I understand the hole that exists in your heart and your home. Grief moves at its own pace, even as life moves on around you.
When I could sense our days with Amos were numbered, I had a moment of perfect clarity like those that you mentioned about a week before he died. It was in the middle of the night when he’d needed to go out, and at a time I would normally be impatient with him to finish up so we could go back to bed. But the moon was full, there was a light breeze, and we both stood unmoving for several minutes in the moonlight on the back deck. I saw his ears flapping in the breeze, his nose sniffing the air, and me standing right beside him. I wanted to bottle that moment.
I look forward to a time when I can look at pictures of Amos and smile with the recollection of the moments, rather than feeling the sting of tears and the loss. I know it will come. I know it will come for you, too. Dante had a long and happy life among folks who loved him well. Would that we could all be so lucky.
I’m keeping you close in my thoughts, dear one.
Thank you so much, Jeanie. That was lovely. Yes, the “Dante factor” in my daily routine was pretty significant, so I am often reminded of his loss. Things seem oddly simple now. It will take some getting used to; I still can’t believe he’s gone. xoxo