And just as quickly as you came into my life, you were gone. I had only just begun to know you.
You left this world on a full moon in February. The Full Snow Moon, with Jupiter at its side.
You were gone before I could bring you to the mountains. To see the ocean and run on the sand. To stand on high mountains or walk along ridgelines. Sleep in the camper or walk in the foggy morning air. I would have shown you everything, and that was my plan.
I am a person allured by possibility, and it is my blessing and my curse. I thirst over promising potential, a link between here and now, and then and there. A could-be. A vision. A belief. A hope. Sometimes I get lost in that vision.
And I had a vision of you and your life and our life together. The weeks before you arrived, I kept thinking, “that puppy doesn’t even know what’s coming. He’s down there in Texas just hanging out and he has no idea what fun he is going to have in this life and how amazing his life will be. Camping trips, road trips, long hikes… he’ll be so happy.”
But this was all something that could have possibly been, but not what really was. And what was is that you were a very sick baby.
And a very sweet puppy. I was fascinated by your ability to learn. I could see it happening even in just the two days I had with you. Your first uncertain confusion about what to do with the back deck’s steps, and in no time you were stumbling your way up them. I think of how you would eventually have bounded up those steps in the months and years to come. You were just beginning to live. I already had fallen in love with you. And you had already come to know me as your person. I can’t forget the way you clung to me at your first visit to the vet the day after I had picked you up. They gave you antibiotics and some fluid under your skin to fight off any bug you had caught. But by the time I had brought you to the animal hospital the next morning, you barely had the energy to care about who was holding you or what was happening. You were too weak; too lethargic. Parvo took you over quickly.
Hours later and I was in the passenger seat of my car and Jon was driving and we were going home. And you were not with us, nor would ever be with us again, and the tears came thick and big, the kind that hurt my whole head and something wrapped around my ribs and held me tightly, or so it felt because I could not seem to catch a breath before another breath was lost and I knew I was crying harder than I had cried in a very, very long time and I was aware of how something really difficult was happening and the only response I had was to cry.
I feel empty. Like I tasted the honey and forever lost the hive. Like I can’t go back, yet here I find myself back. Back at square one. This place feels cold, deflated. Old. I had felt the transition of life quaking beneath my feet in those days leading up to your arrival. I knew my whole life was about to change once I had another life for which to be responsible. My first dog. I had waited so long until I knew I was ready. And as I passed into that new chapter and entered that new role of being the leader and mother of a dog, something changed inside of me.
Now I am back in that old life, that old world. And I’m not waiting for you to arrive, because you already did arrive and then you died and I will never be able to see you again. I am grieving the loss of you and I am grieving the loss of my life that I could have had with you in it. And right now I only want that life with you. Everyone says I will get a new dog and things will be okay, and I know they are right, but right now I don’t want any other dog but you. You were perfect… everything I could ever want in a dog.
Each of these last days ends by falling into darkness, and darkness lurks even in the daylight. Shadows creep into the corners of my home and then I realize they are actually in the corners of my mind, for it is my own energy, or loss of it that blurs my outlook. The windshield of my mind has been jilted, tinted in a shade of blue and then clouded with the condensation of my tears. Everything looks different in this world. All I know to do is write.
Those two days when we shared our lives together were laced with a wonderfully sweet substance I have never tasted until then. Somehow, I see motherhood differently now, and I know I will never be the same.
A very kind person that adopted your brother took her time to write me wonderful emails of support. “Don’t think about what could have been with Ace. Rather, focus on what was: the fact that he was adopted by a loving woman and in the best possible care from the moment you picked him up. That’s the life you had together and that is amazing.”
She’s right. I need to recognize that the potential of what could be is different than the potential of what could have been. The former is still possible; the latter is not. Dwelling on what could have been with you as my pup serves no purpose because there is no possibility in that direction anymore. You are gone.
And I need to accept that. Give me some time.
I know it’s early, and eventually these feelings will fade. They will give way, at some point, to an opposing force, one of positive energy, that will glide me into sunnier days. I trust it, and I accept it. I succumb to nature and I accept the pain because, without it, there would be no joy.
And those two days with you were worth it, Ace.
Rest in peace my sweet boy.