Here we are one week after our sweet dog Bear’s passing and our emotions are still raw. We have crossed that hurdle of being able to say his name and talking about the goofy times we remember without our voices trembling and eyes welling up with tears. Greg and I still go to the door thinking Bear probably needs to go potty. I find myself heading to the laundry room first thing in the morning to put the cup of food in his bowl. I don’t get far before I realize, I don’t have that responsibility anymore.
Walks are very different now. Walking the neighborhood without the struggle of wills is highly overrated. I moved his food bowl from the laundry room to the garage on Monday. On Tuesday I was cleaning out our mess in the car. I opened up the trash can and there was his food bowl staring at me. It’s always an unexpected sting. And just when I have managed to go for a whole 30 minutes without thinking of Bear, I turn the corner and see his leash hanging on the wall or his enormous dog bed in the corner of our bedroom. I just can’t bring myself to get rid of certain things.
He has been added to my list. I have an ongoing list of beings I have committed myself to thinking about everyday. There is no to rank the list, as all the beings are important to and hold significance for me. My list consists of my Grandmother, my Granddaddy, my friends Justin and Abby and now Bear.
I really do think of these people everyday. I don’t want to forget the impact they have had on my life. They each, in their own way, have had their part in shaping who I am. Each being has a certain visual memory for me as well. I always visualize my Granddaddy as kneeling down and holding out his hand to me. To me, he was a selfless man and one I regret not knowing. My Grandmother is always in the kitchen making waffles and turning to smile at me. Whenever I am in the kitchen, I always wish I could just call her up to ask for cooking advice or life advice. I would love to know what her life was like. My friend Justin is always holding a football patting it with his hand and nodding to make sure I’m about to catch what will surely be, his most awesome throw. His signature chest puffed out and that charismatic smile on his face…I also hear music with Justin; It is always Dave Mathews Band’s ‘Proudest Monkey’. A great song and one of my favorites. I first heard the song with him, so naturally the two are one in the same. I cannot have one without the other. My friend Abby is always in front of me dancing and holding vegetables out as if to give them to me. And then she laughs. She was so full of goodness and light.
Remembering them and being grateful and thankful for having them in my life is the least I can do. With Bear, I regret not taking more time to lay with him and look into his eyes and pet him more. Regret is usually where a memory starts for me. I wish I could do this one more thing with this person and stop time while I experience the person…just one more time. I will probably remember the time when Bear was sleeping with us. Bear and I would wake up together sometimes and just look into each others eyes. In that moment, it was just the two of us and his soft, beautiful red fur.
Remembering is a good way for me to process where I am in life at a given moment and assess what’s really important. Just trying to stay grounded and cope with the daily grind of motherhood.