Jan 10, 2008
I realize grieving is a normal process, but I really wish it was an unnecessary part of the human condition. Chica is very sorely missed around the homestead, and we find ourselves unconsciously looking for her in her usual haunts. We get stabbed in the heart several times a day in the process. At least the waterworks are slowing down to the point that I'm not washing away my contact lenses in a flood of tears. Emotional upheavals leave me feeling like I've been run over by a Mack truck - and over, and over and over. Can we just skip over the boo-hooing and go directly to the warmth of fond remembrance?
Part of the process of moving on involved the mundane tasks of laundry, carpet cleaning and picking up Chica's old food bowls. Her feeding station in the kitchen looks so bare now. I mentioned to Hubby that I felt somehow disloyal by doing all these things, and he quickly set me straight. We are erasing the signs of sickness and suffering - not Chica's very existence. OK, I can deal with that.
Chica's packmate, Maggie, is having a bit of trouble adjusting to being the solo mutt as well. She woke us up a couple nights ago making all kinds of noise in Chica's crate. I called to Maggie and she exited the crate only to relocate to Chica's former pallet next to our bed. Maggie's nose was sniffing away like mad, and she stayed on the pallet until early morning. Poor little Mags. We've tried to keep her entertained and distracted, but there are too many times we catch her just moping around the house unlike her usual cheery self. For her sake, we'll need to rescue another dog sooner than later.
I pulled out some old photos of Chica taken over the years. I remember what an active athlete she was during the majority of those years, and finally realize she must have been far more miserable than I imagined in her last months. Chronic illness creeps in and does its disabling work so slowly that it's hard to reconcile the difference until you see it slapped into your face. I salute Chica's unflagging spirit and willingness to persevere in the face of horrible circumstances. I hope I live up to her example when it's my turn.
It's time to leave the illness and suffering behind and focus on all the wonderful years of memories Chica left to us. Yes, dogs have much to teach us about enjoying life and living it well. I'm beginning to focus on her life now rather than her death, and that's a good thing.