It’s funny how long it takes. My dog Trixie died in October 1991. I finally think I could love a dog again.
But still any eyes, dog or human of just that brown, or hair coloring like a blue-tick, or energy like hers and there’s a pang.
Not crestfallen, but something. It took me years to even say the word dog without choking up.
The next time around was easier. I can happily be greeted by cats again. I get happier to see dogs in the park or cats in the window.
It makes sense that that need for closure goes both ways.
I thought of a cat as a lifetime commitment because of their living 12 or 18 years but it’s longer than that — lifelong. My dad had a Shep who he missed even 50 years later. A friend said her father’s death still seems recent after that amount of time as well.
Death doesn’t make sense. It is irreconcilable to the brain stem. Each human death or cared-for death causes a re-priming. Dad became conflated with Valderbar. They made one common smell of aging and decay and in the same rubble of building that I needed to rescue them from. Recurrent nightmares of them both calling. It wasn’t until 2 years after dad died that he was restored to me as any dream character, alive and interacting.
Some sounds still make a reflexive response — like could be a hairball. Finally I’ve stopped responding to cat-shaped shadows of sweaters on the chair or sofa, the double take of seeing her, happiness then realizing, no. Sometimes I still come home to an empty house and hear the expectation of being greeted meet silence.
I travel a lot. It doesn’t seem fair to live with a pet. I wouldn’t be able explain that this isn’t abandonment but I’ll return. There’s such distress for dogs and cats when schedule changes, when one goes away.
And then there are my allergies. My head is fuzzy and breathing was harder around Valerie. Even away for a weekend and I felt more “myself”. The companionship and contact and communication of living together was healthy for us both tho. People hugs are nice. But the simple touch of being sought out for nothing but companionship. No word to speak about. No thing to do together. It’s a kind of hanging out that’s been left hanging.