Every day since Wednesday has started the same way, with waking up and remembering and missing Jasper. I see his empty bed from my place in my own bed, and just feel so sad. I stand at the window in our room and look out at the spot where we buried him and just miss him so much. It's physical pain, this heart-ache. It's the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.
To people who think, "well, he was just a dog, after all. Isn't it time you got over this?", I am sending out a big Fuck Off with as much love as I can muster, out of this hole I'm in right now, grieving for my furry sweetheart who is no more.
I can comfort myself for a little while by taking a philosophical perspective, about which I will write more later, but that comfort is short-lived. I miss his face, the feel of his fur, his love and companionship so much, his sweetness and presence in every part of my life.
It made me cry more today to see that Joe had tipped the left-over kibbies from Jasper's bowl into the compost under the sink. Of course I understand why Joe did it, there was no sense leaving the food in the bowl -- he was probably trying to spare me the pain of seeing it every time I walked past it in the kitchen -- but still the finality of it all is crushing. And yes, naturally there will probably come a time when we put away Jasper's things -- his collar and his various beds and dishes -- but right now I can't erase these traces of his brief passage through our shared existence.
What's crazy is how quickly we lost him. It's a blur, really, the time between the first vet appointment on February 28th, the days between the incorrect diagnosis of pneumonia and the total failure of his poor, poor lungs. I am dreading the day that I open the mailbox and see the new tag that I ordered for him on the day we got that pneumonia diagnosis, the day I thought, "ok, he'll be all right, we'll fix this." It was only four days after that that we saw him for the last time, and now that damn tag is on its way here and he'll never even get to wear it.
But I will.
As is my way, I am keeping busy through this, trying to find ways to process my grief that don't involve keening and wailing, though I have those times too.
Broken Heart Activities:
- Compiling one big folder of all the millions of photos of Jasper we've taken over the past almost-14 years. He was such a cute baby and such a presence through so much change in our own lives - so sweet to see all of that in one place.
- Making a photo book of him that chronicles his life with us so that we can sit together as a family and treasure him.
- Designing the memorial to him in our yard. We've already selected the stone that we will place over his grave (oh, i hate that word), one large enough to stretch out on, sit on, spend time companionably with him. And now I'm thinking about what flowers to plant.
- Saying good morning and good night to him every day, stopping by to say good bye to him before leaving the house, in the same way that I always told him that I loved him whenever leaving to work or errands.
- Sitting on the bench we have pulled up near where he is buried, sometimes with Laurent or Joe, sometimes alone, and just taking in the beauty of that spot and all of the additional beauty Jasper is yielding back to it now, to become a part of the peaches and the roses and everything else.
- Reading fiction. I realized that all I had left were natural history titles and right now I don't have the brain for it. So I took myself to the bookstore in San Anselmo yesterday and snapped up three titles, with "Slammerkin" by the immensely talented Emma Donoghue first on my queue. It's such solace to escape.
- Watching too much "Battlestar Galactica." We started this earlier, when we still had Jassie sleeping on the couch nearby, and now we're hooked, nearing the end of Season 2.
- Writing when possible, going to class, soaking up all the love of friends who have been so supportive and essential through this process.
This really is so painful, so much worse than I ever imagined it would be. There is such a terrible emptiness without him here, such a loss of purpose for me: no sweet, sweet Pony to wake up for, to feed, to walk and water, to baby-talk and sing to at all moments in the day, to pet and love up and glory in every second. I realized yesterday that I have spent so much of my life caring for someone in that way: Laurent starting in 1987, then Jasper in 1997. It's hard to be without a baby, truly. This is not the empty-nest I had in mind.
I know it will get better.
He had a great life with us. We had a great life with him. We are learning to move on, now that his time with us in this form has ended. And meanwhile, I'm trying to keep busy, to delight in all of the beauty that he was and still is, somewhere beyond where I can see.
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