Things have been very still today. Still and silent in the house. Still and silent in my heart.
I feel odd. Like the top of a glassy lake whose external appearance of calm doesn’t belie the shredded ecosystem underneath. I think this glassy lake is okay though, for now.
Moments of placidity after the storm of the last 48 hours.
I keep expecting to hear the click of tiny feet on the hard floor. The coo or snore that tells me the little doggy bed is filed with a ball of warm love as I type this. I even thought I caught a whiff of Dog gas earlier. Of all things.
I was reflecting this morning that among all these tiny moments, what I am really going to miss is the way Dog carried me in his heart.
How he would patiently be waiting for me in our rooms downstairs when I ran upstairs to grab something. How he napped in the car while I was running errands, always sitting up so excited at my return. How he knew that running shoes on, meant he needed to stay and take a nap until I returned.
The only time I really left him at home is if I went out downtown on the weekend. I loved coming home to him on Friday nights. He’d give me a look like all was right with the world again, as we snuggled in bed and talked about what we were going to do with our weekend.
Every day was really just a giant party to him. He loved our adventures. Even if those adventures consisted of going to the office and working. In his eyes the fact that he was with me and wasn’t left at home like most dogs, well he was almost always with his pack. Me.
It made him so happy.
I have been reflecting on the timing of things. How life has a cadence and rhythm all it’s own. I knew back in the spring many of his health issues existed. I thought I was going to lose him then, but I got him a little longer.
I think what Dog knew is how much I needed him this summer. Things had really fallen apart internally for me. For numerous reasons. I got hit with one too many losses and the only words I have to explain how I felt is that something broke deep inside.
I have never experienced a shattering like that. And I had already lost a lot.
I felt broken. Into a million pieces. I couldn’t find my True North. Couldn’t find how to put myself back together again. I wondered sometimes if I would come out of it.
There were days my sweet boy became my reason for getting out of bed. Needing to care for him, knowing I was all he had, knowing he needed to go outside, be fed. It kept me going.
He shepherded me in grief. Tending to his flock of one with love.
And we had a great, great summer. My grief had me curling up in a tiny ball inside and kept me more solitary than usual, and Dog decided he would simply curl up beside me and keep me company.
Sitting in the sunshine on a blanket. Sitting on a bench at the park. Taking a late afternoon nap. Going for a beautiful drive. I needed quiet and peace, and his old age and frequent need for sleep made him the perfect comrade to have in my cocooned state.
We stopped for ice cream cones. We would sit on the back step at my office in the sunshine during lunch breaks. He slept in several cabins on various summer adventures and got to see a lot of Alaska. Sat in the car while I climbed mountains and then wandered around the base with me for his own walk when I was done.
He listened to me cry gut wrenching sobs and patiently licked the tears from my face.
My little rescue Dog really rescued me this summer. I was on the ledge and I knew it. So did he.
So he stuck around a little longer than his health and age dictated. Gave me one last gift of time as he and I tried to push the sunshine back up into the sky and make his eternal summer stretch as far as we could.
You can’t hold the sun forever though. At some point, fall does come.
For me, fall brought healing.
I am doing much better these days. It’s not that my heart isn’t still aching over certain things, it’s that I found something in myself that I had never met before.
Some sort of iron strength. A new chamber in my heart that beats bigger and stronger. Perhaps it’s simply a profound sense of radical self love and acceptance.
I came out of this summer and learned to stand on my own two feet in such a solid way. Throwing deep roots down into the ground. Deeper than they’ve ever gone before. Watered with extreme self compassion, wisdom and love.
Dog rescued me, and then I turned around and saved myself.
Knew I was standing solid again. Knew he no longer had to worry about me. Knew he could stop ignoring what his body was trying to tell him. Knew he didn’t have to gather all his resources to keep being strong for me.
Knew it was time to start the letting go. Knew goodbye was always going to be terrible, but that I was whole again. Knew I will always love him, but that I am capable of carrying on with the gifts of love inside myself.
He would know after all. He did phenomenal work. He tended to my heart with the greatest of care.
A perfect shepherd for his flock on one.