My Dad asked me tonight how I was doing, and I told him I feel like a girl who just lost her best friend. That’s how I’m doing.

I’m aware that at present my eyes are dull, the spring is gone from my step, and what little extra I had this week was harnessed to be present at work. Alert, attentive, caring. Which I successfully did. I meant it and drew from a genuine place. I just had nothing left after.

Dog was always my after. Always there to fill me back up.

Reality is really setting in on what life after Dog looks like.

It bites.

I have done a lot of heartfelt writing and very candid posts on how I’ve been feeling. I was trying to create a healthy container for my grief and connect with people who care.

I think I was pretty successful but one bad apple kind of ruins the bunch. After someone told me that yes it’s painful but you need to find some levity, that particular container stopped feeling safe. I had unkind thoughts on just what they could do with their levity.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

I’ve cried a lot this week. Not for lack of trying to find resilience, smiles and tiny anchors of happy. But because this is sad. My reality is, I feel profoundly sad.

The truth is that dealing with reality is accepting life after Dog. It is accepting a world where I don’t talk about Dog and I as the dynamic duo. Where he doesn’t sit with me in the therapy room keeping me grounded and full so I can better be grounded and full in my job.

Where there are not another pair of constant eyes gazing back at me, mirroring me, providing me with a sense of care and relationship.

Where I go home and am 100% alone except for my plant. Which looks like its dying despite my best efforts.

Life after Dog means my immediate source of unconditional love is gone. And even if I get a new one, as I am inclined to do, having already emailed about a potential little guy- well unconditional love takes time. Dog knew my secrets and not so good stuff and loved me anyways. For years.

Life after Dog is the loss of that.

I am trying very hard to keep it together and keep things rolling. Head down to Oregon and run this marathon for which I’ve trained so hard. Appear to thrive as people want me to. Go through the motions and hope they start to stick, feel real.

Hope life starts to bite less.

I know it will. I know I will find that place eventually. I always knew this reality would be hard. Its just that living it is another thing altogether.

Here is the good I can say.

I am almost a week into living the dreaded time I never wanted to come. I am still moving. I am still breathing. I am still trying to be open hearted and real.

I am still going.

For now? That is enough.

I am hoping Oregon brings genuine smiles, an unexpected sparkle in my eye and spring in my step, as I keep moving, keep navigating the unwanted territory of life after Dog.

Life does go on.

So do we.

I may feel like I am straddling two worlds, life with Dog and life after, but at some point I’m bound to catch my thread and pull my way into something new.

For tonight? I will take sleep on an airplane with Dog smiling down.

And tomorrow. Well tomorrow will take care of itself. It is a new day. It always does.