Those of you who read my last blog post, Of Love and Loss, know that my beloved rescue dog, Lacy, was in the middle of a fierce battle against mast cell carcinoma. It’s been a rough month or more since then, and I am sad to report that Lacy (and we) lost that battle on March 19, 2021. She fought valiantly—far more valiantly than I ever could have—with never a complaint and rarely a whimper as her body failed her, and the hideous tumor on her back leg literally ate her alive. I was in awe of her courage every time she climbed a stair, or walked down our driveway. I could not have done half so well.
She wanted to stay with us, and we wanted to stay with her. Two years plus nearly four months together was not long enough. But the time came when I knew I could not possibly ask any more from this sweet, patient and gentle soul. I think we all know that when we love someone, we care far more for their welfare than our own. We can taste the devastation that is coming, but we are no longer even thinking about ourselves.
It’s only after the Lap of Love vet has been to the house, after the burial out in the yard, that the rush of grief comes. It’s when you step back into the hallway, and there’s no little dog with a sweet brown head waiting for a caress. It’s when you glance across the room expecting to see her, and find only her blanket folded away. It’s when you drag yourself off to bed and hear no little feet padding after you. When there’s no small heartbeat, steady, in the night beside you.
That’s when the rush of grief comes.
Funny, how a little dog who was so quiet, and took up barely any room in the world, can leave such a loud hole. Unfair, how we who asked nothing beyond being together, were denied even that. Time passes—it always does, whether we want it to, or not. I feel her loss every time I get up in the morning without her, and I light a candle for her in the evenings, just so there’s a light where her light should be.
A funny thing, though—I got up the other morning to the quiet of the house that she and I always shared. And do you know what? It felt like she was still there, lying beside me. I could almost see her; I could quite definitely feel her. And I experienced another rush, not of grief this time but of gratitude. Deep and abiding gratitude for the time we had together, all those priceless days that oh yes, I did appreciate at the time. All the love she gave me, steady and shining. What wouldn’t I trade to have that back again! But at least I had it, for two years and nearly four months. Nothing can ever take that away from me. Oh, how lucky am I?