When my Grandma Mary died, back 15 years ago now, all of my grief was pretty much over within a few months. Not sure why, maybe because she was so old and so ready to go by the time she did, so it wasn't a shock to my heart?
When my Dad died, all I felt at first was a sense of relief. He'd been so sick and in so much pain, and I was just glad that it was over. But then things would happen in my life and I'd think: Gotta call Dad! and suddenly realize, there was no Dad to call. And then I would cry as if my heart were broken, which it was, of course. And more than 25 years later, that sort of thing still happens. When my friend Paul was walking me down the aisle in August to re-marry my Sam, I found myself wishing Dad could be there, and the number of times I've looked at all of my amazing kids and thought what a kick Dad would get out of them, and they out of him, I can't count. And I still cry for his loss.
But a dog?
I cried plenty when we put Bear down, and for a few days after, and I figured I'd done my grieving. Just a dog, right? How much grieving can really be done over a slobbering, goofy, silly looking, dumb as a box of rocks dog? Let's get real.
His ashes came back from the crematory the other day. Yesterday I took the velvet bag down from the shelf (we're scattering them this weekend) and opened it up and saw the ashes in the ziplock bag inside.
And I fell apart. Totally and completely fell apart. This was reality in a big way. These white ashes, with tiny ground up chips of bone are all that are left of more than three years of friendship, unconditional love, and a member of our family. And I can't stand that reality. Can't stand it. I want him back, I wish we hadn't had to make the choice we did, whether or not it was the right choice doesn't matter. He was our dog, he loved us and he trusted us. And we failed him to the point that he had to be killed, because we didn't manage to train him properly, because we dropped the ball and he couldn't fetch that one back.
And this weekend we're scattering his ashes to the winds, and that will be that. No more Bear at all, except for the broken claw in my jewelry box and a teaspoon or two of ashes that Sam wants to keep in the car because Bear loved car rides so very much.
Just a dog, right?
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