Sometimes writing can be so cathartic, help one get through emotions that are difficult, help clarify thoughts, feelings and ideas.
And sometimes it can dredge up some stuff that one's been keeping down.
A little over two weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to put down our dog of 13 years. He was 14, and kind of not "all there." Incontinent. Almost blind (although he seemed to be able to see treats over amazing distances....), almost deaf. So, it was time. Anyone who has made that decision knows how difficult it is. I really struggled with wondering what RIGHT we have to end a life. But cleaning up his urine and feces at least once a day won out, I guess. And truth be told, despite the painfulness of it--there was a sense of relief that such a difficult decision had finally been made and carried out. I think perhaps we let things go on a little longer than necessary. But we had to be right in our hearts about it. And finally, finally, I was. He was no longer my happy puppy.
So my husband took him in and held him as the life went out of his body. I didn't even have the guts to go with. And with that he is gone.
My kids were very sad, of course. My son says that when a beagle and golden retriever have another baby, Buster will be born again, and be young and happy and able to play and feel good. My girl says that he is "kind of alive" in heaven--so she is ok. Although when she first heard his collar tags jingle (my son inherited the empty collar) she started to cry--she said she would have been ok if she didn't hear Buster's "noise..." Later she told me she found his footprint in the dirt, and she stamped it out. I know that was her way of dealing with that pain. I understood--I remembered the stab of seeing his pawprint in the snow a few days after he died and it sure set me off. It melted later that day.
We will miss him. Things will remind us of him, even though we are doing ok. We still make sure the gate is closed, even though there is no pooch ready to make an escape to the exciting world out there. We keep food away from table edges. I found myself staring at a pretzel on the floor--I don't know how long it has been since I have actually SEEN a pretzel on the floor. Then I realized I was going to have to bend over and pick it up--it wouldn't eventually disappear on its own!
But I've stopped hearing him bark to be let in. He doesn't seem to lurk in the corner of my eyes as he did at first. I've stopped thinking the tan blanket balled up on the couch is a dog that needs to be told to "get down!" Slowly, it is becoming normal. Life without Buster.
What else can I say about it? Perhaps the thing a dog most loves to hear: He was a very good boy.
A very young Buster plays with his toy