Reflections on Grief

Max in a doorway as usual

Stray fur blows around like tumbleweeds as I walk through rooms of my house.  The rug in my office is covered in his dark black fur.  Normally I'd rush to vacuum this mess up, but not this time.  I know if I run the vacuum it will be like he didn't exist.  I'll never need to run the vacuum to sweep up his fur again.  

Sleeping alone at my house Monday night without Max there was no dog beside my bed making familiar settling in noises or the licking noises that would typically annoy me.  The licking noises drove me nuts even up to the end.  The night is still, only the sound of crickets.  I'm alone.  If someone brakes in there's no one to bark and scare them off.  No dog to alert me of danger.  No dog to look over and pet before I shut the light off.  When I wake up to pee in the middle of the night I remember anew I'm still alone and I don't have to be mindful of stepping over the dog who slept lovingly next to my bed right in the middle of the doorway.  No Max.  

Waking up Tuesday morning, for the first time in almost 10 years there's no one that needs me.  No big brown eyed Berner begging to go out.  No big stinky fluffy fur ball to feed.  No Max to lean against my leg and wag his tail brightly as I ran my hands over his back.  Our good morning greeting no longer needed.  I wake up and wonder if I did the right thing.  I don't get out of bed.  I roll over and feel the hot tears run down my checks.  

I wanted friends and family to know, but in the telling it confirms that it's real.  Confirms that I drove him to the vet to end his short life.  i signed the form and paid the front desk staff for this procedure.  "Euthanasia and cremation", it said on the receipt.  "Did I want his ashes" she asked?  No I nodded.  Almost entirely unable to speak.  I also nodded to Ben that "yes I was as sure as I'd ever be and yes now was the time". I prayed he wouldn't ask me again.  I sat on the floor with Max as close as I could get.  I turned my head as Ben put the needle in.  I kept my hands on him running them over his fur.  Ben listened with his stethoscope as I watched the life leave his body.  Now it was Ben's turn to nod and say he's gone.  Mercifully it happened with a swiftness I didn't expect.  It felt like it was an instant.  I didn't know it was so fast and peaceful and for that I was grateful.

A morning person by nature normally up before 5am, but the day after I don't get out of bed until almost 7:30am, the last possible minute.  If I had taken the day off work I'm not sure I would have gotten out of bed at all.  When I finally get up standing in front of my mirror in the bathroom I realize my eyes are swollen to the size of watermelons.  I'm grateful I work from home and I don't have to go into an office with other people.  My eyes alone would open a conversation I didn't want to have. 

I text my co-worker whom I knew I'd be talking with, He knew that it happened last night "I can't talk about it or I won't be able to hold it together and I'd like to have a productive day so please don't ask about Max today".  

At this moment writing I'm sitting at my desk, no dog under my feet.  

Tuesday night out on a date with my boyfriend standing in a crowd of people a thought suddenly occurs to me "There's no dog to rush home to and love and let out".   I quickly put that in the box labeled "I'll deal with you later" and I wonder how often those thoughts will wiggle in when I don't expect them.  The box is starting to fill up and I've been unpacking those feelings in the morning, like now when I write this down.  Writing is how I've always worked things out. 

My empty house is hard to be in.  Knowing that he won't be home to greet me, I linger in the car a little longer than necessary.  Inside my eyes roam to his favorite spots in the house and I wish he was there looking up at me or giving me his signature sideways glance.  

The hole in my heart is a large bottomless pit.  I wonder why we put ourselves through this?  The pain is enormous.  I'm certain time will dull it.  This will pass, everything does but for now I'm going to try to treat it like a meditation.  I'll feel and see what bubbles up, look at it with kind curiosity and let it float away. 

Max and I in the kitchen on chestnut st.