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It has been 5 months today since I received a frantic call from my mom, who was stopping by my house to drop off the Bissel to clean the carpet on my steps. (I called her that morning and asked her if I could borrow it because Gracie had gotten into some powered cocoa that was in the trash and grounded it into the rug. Oh, Gracie. lol)
My mom, trying not to cry, told me that I had to come home immediately, that she thinks Gracie might be dying, that something was terribly wrong. I hang up the phone, gather my things, and leave work. I’m calling people I know, asking anyone to take me home. I’m crying. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m scared.
I secure a ride and start walking down Market Street, on the phone with B who is in Idaho, crying hysterically. It is pouring rain and I have no umbrella and I don’t care.
My mom calls again.
When I pick up, I immediately ask how she’s doing.
“Oh Jen. She’s gone,” my mom tells me.
I wailed that she was wrong. I screamed at her to take her to the vet. At the top of my lungs, I yelled and cried and screamed. I told her she couldn’t be sure that she was dead, to stop talking to me and just take her. I begged her to please, please take her. I could hear her crying too, but I didn’t care. She was wrong and I didn’t believe her.
Finally, to get through to me, she yelled back that she wasn’t breathing anymore. She just wasn’t.
I found out later that Gracie had already died when my mom first called me at work. She had been barking a little at my mom when she was unlocking the door to my house – the windows were open so my mom was telling her, “It’s just me Gracie, we’ll be in in a second!” Gracie always got very super excited when people entered the house, usually slipping on the hardwood floors as she scrambled to greet you at the door. My mom could hear her doing that, and then a thud, almost as if she ran into something. When she got in Gracie was laying on the floor. My mom went over to her and she could tell something was wrong – she thought maybe she really hurt herself when she hit the furniture. Within the minute she started involuntarily excreting bodily fluids. My mom was petting her and talking to her.
She let out one last breath, and she died in my mom’s arms.
I pretend like I could adopt another dog, but 5 months later my heart still aches. How can I love another, I think? I only wanted her.
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” – Ben Williams
I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?
- Sir Walter Scott
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
- Jack Lemmon
I miss you. I miss you so.
Sometimes days go by where I don’t consciously think about you. I see the picture of us by the door, everyday when I leave, but the pain is less than it was. I take this as a good sign.
B finds a piece of your hair sometimes; on her clothes or her coat or the bed – and she’ll show it to me, “Hey babe, look, a Gracie hair.” Sometimes I’m OK but sometimes I can’t even look at it, it’s so painful to have your hair here but not you.
When I drop food on the floor, there is still a second, maybe two, where I think you’ll come get it before I remember that you won’t.
Today when I came home after working 11 hours, I felt upset, stressed and overwhelmed by work. I cried walking into the room because I just wanted you there to greet me. It’s usually easy to walk into the house here, to walk into my new room, because you were never here with me, you never lived here. But tonight I pictured you here and tonight I wanted you here but of course, you are not.
I walked over to your space on the shelf and traced along the edges of your collar with my pointer finger. And then, like a crazy person, I picked it up and tried to smell you. I think maybe I did.
I cannot believe how much I miss you, my friend. I wish you stayed longer with me. I wish I wasn’t so lonely without you. I hope that you’re OK, and that you know I love you.
I don’t care how crazy it is that I write to my dog because this is what I think about sometimes and sometimes I talk to her, in my head, like this, as if she could hear me. I know that the death of a dog is nothing at all of a real tragedy. I know this. I know I’m lucky and that compared to all the things people suffer with and through, this is all I have going on.
But still, my heart hurts. Even if worse things happened to me I would still be heartbroken for her – because she was such a good thing.
Tomorrow will be 3 months and so I think about her and love her and miss her. And I write her this letter because I don’t know what else to do. I’m sure it won’t be the last one, but maybe next time I won’t cry as hard.
It’s been two weeks today since Gracie passed away. It’s still difficult for me to talk about and I haven’t yet begun to write, although I know I will.
I found this poem and thought it appropriate.
In My Heart
I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence. I often speak your name.
Now all I have is memories, and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part.
God has you in his keeping.
I have you in my heart.
Re-reading my last post was maybe harder than writing it. Writing a thank you for your comments is choking me up, and I really don’t know how to adequately express what I feel, so I’ll just tell you that it means so much to me and I thank you. Gracie thanks you.
I’ve gotten some cards in the mail, a few with a bit of poems in them that make you weep at the second line. I was finally able to read this one in it’s entirety today. I’m not religious at all, but it’s so comforting. I really like to think I will see her again.
By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill, is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run, when their time on the earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next, is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play, till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness, for here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed, their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care, until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back, then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met; together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past, the time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart, has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever, and then, side by side, they cross over… together.
It is not something I am capable to write about right now; my grief is currently too much to handle to get my thoughts in proper order. My doggie, Gracie, died unexpectedly on Thursday. She was five and a half years old and healthy and I don’t really know what was the cause of her death. She was my best friend, my child, my family – I was closer with her than I was to most people – and the loss of her is simply devastating.
There is so much I want to write about and say and so much I want to remember –about her life with me but even about the day she left. I need to do it for my grieving and I need to do it for her memory.
I love you, Gracie Mac. I don’t understand why you had to leave so soon. I don’t feel like our time together was supposed to be over already, but I am grateful for it, as short as it was. I have a million things I want to thank you for. I hope your time here was fun and adventurous and happy. I hope I was a good mom. I hope you are in a great place right now – a place where you can run free and play with other dogs; a place where human food drops down occasionally for you to scoop up; a place where you can chase all of the cats you want; a place where there are miles of sand and beach and shoreline for you to frolic and play fetch; a place where there is unlimited bodies of water for you to swim. I hope you are still the happiest dog I know, even without your mom. You have touched me and so many other people so deeply and taught us all more than we could have imagined – you will never be forgotten.
I miss you. I miss you down deep in my soul, in the core of my being, in every part of my body with a fierceness I can’t explain.
I love you, Girl.