I haven’t been able to write much about you. It’s taken 3 weeks to not cry hysterically at some point in the day, and 3 weeks to be able to look at your photo without keeling over in two.
You taught me more than I ever imagined needing to learn. You were not Abby, especially in the beginning. Abby was my codependent fur child. Dare I get upset with her, and she’d never do whatever it was that she did ever again (except eat because she just couldn’t help herself; the apple didn’t fall far). You, however, did not give two fucks. Electric collar? Turn it up. Spanking? Please. A look of disgust? You doubled back.
You were the best thing that happened to me, Bam. You taught me through indifference and reality that I could, really, truly slow down. You taught me that doing more was not the answer. You taught me that pushing harder wasn’t nurturing. You taught me that rain does suck sometimes and there’s just no need to get wet if you don’t have to.
You taught me love, unconditional and unapologetic. You taught me friendship. You taught me kindness, respect, and decency. You made me laugh – your unwillingness to release any ball you wanted so badly to give me when I got home. Your naps on your back with your legs splayed in the air. Your love for floating in the water. Yes, floating – not swimming. Your love for the beach and the birds and the ocean. That time you came in after me and I swore you’d get swallowed by waves! But you didn’t.
You taught me to let go. You taught me to relax. You taught me to be slower with my tongue, kinder with my delivery, and softer all the way around. I swear I tried.
Almost 13 years – there were many boys, many miles, many careers, many houses lived in. We moved across state lines, and we changed our daily routine from unleashed freedom around a huge farm to leashed walks on a schedule. We changed how often I was home after never being apart. We changed commutes and you stopped coming along for every ride. We lost Abby together, and then tried on cats for a year or so. We lost relationships of all kinds and exchanged ideas about why. We shared dance moves and butt wiggles and off-key songs. You were my girl. My steady. My guarantee.
We shared our lives. You gave me everything, and I gave you as much as I possibly could. I know I dragged you around a lot, but you were a stubborn mule. I cannot give myself hardship about that even though it’s the human tendency to do so. You forgave me so many times for my unspiritual reactions to seriously small things. You were there when I broke my leg. You kept my legs warm and my belly flat. You were there when I lost Matt – both of them. You were there when Mike left, too. And you’ve been here as I get to know Jeremy and it’s been shared that you knew I was ready to let you go.
But I wasn’t. I’m not. The hole in my heart cannot be filled. Your paw print above my desk and your urn next to Abby’s isn’t right. It doesn’t seem fair, either, and today I am allowing myself to say that. I’m still sad. More than sad. Devastated and heartbroken. When people ask me what’s wrong, I am taken aback, while in some respects also understand – I wouldn’t think of somebody’s catalog of losses when they tell me they’re sad, either. Or automatically know without having to ask.
Losing you has rocked me to the core. I’ve let God know that I’ve had enough, and it continues to feel like it’s almost too much. The cape I tend to sport is down today. And for the first time it seems, I am letting it stay down. Now, down is relative. I still got up and did my usual morning routine of self-care and connection. I still went to the gym; I just wore my headphones and cried while stretching instead of being social and talking to people. I still ate my breakfast and started my laundry. I still showered and logged onto my computer and even left my phone upstairs so I could get shit done. I’m still here.
I’m just not going to pretend I’m OK today. I’m leaving sweatpants on, and I will probably curl up in my bed midday between meetings. I’m not going to fancy my face or my hair. I always look presentable, but today? Today I need to admit some fucking defeat.
To say I’m done with loss is an understatement. To say I understood the enormity that is grief is a lie. To say that I know I can handle this and will … is neutral. I can handle this because I am. The last over 7 months is tangible proof that I am. But I don’t want to. I do not want to give up anymore. I do not want to lose any more.
You were my rock, Bam. You were my ride or die. You would’ve kept running with me could you have kept up, and you still adored our hikes in the woods. You just got slower. And slower seems to be OK. Slower is where you notice things and feel. Slower is when you can see, and more closely. Slower is where God is.
And slower is where I know I will continue to meet you. I love you, baby girl. Rock on.