Grieving is a tremendously hard process. I know the stages of grief – I took many psychology classes. But does that help a person through it? Nope. I also know bringing the subject up again and again will only spark beautiful comments from people who care, and those comments will bring me to a waterfall of tears once again. But still, I write. I have to write. I have found that writing is my therapy. It’s my way to say, “Hey I Love You”. It’s my way to say I’m hurting more than I ever dreamed. It’s my way to keep from breaking down, even though I will anyway. But it is what I feel I have to do for me. My baby. My pup. My love. My Obi is gone.
As if the trip to the vet yesterday wasn’t hard enough, the pain continues.
First it was arriving home. Before even getting out of the car, I had to take his dog bowl (the one that held all those ice cubes just hours before) and his leash out of the car with me. One of the girls already had his collar. Just the act of picking it up off the floor sent me into another round of tears. I sat in the heat of the car for a while, not feeling the temperature at all. But it’s what came next that was even harder.
Whenever I would walk in the door, my baby would be right there to greet me with his “dancing feet”, claws tapping on the floor, spinning circles. The biggest sign of affection one could ever experience. As he got sicker and sicker, his “dancing feet” quieted down, but he never failed to greet me at the door. If I managed to sneak in without him knowing, it would only be a matter of seconds before he would come running down the stairs in anything but a graceful manner. He was simply the most loving, most adorable creature I have ever had in my life. And yesterday…yesterday I walked in that door to silence. I now believe that the most heartbreaking sound anyone could ever hear is complete silence.
When I learned of his illness, I made myself a promise that I would plant a tree in his honor when he left us. So we went out and bought a tree. When I returned home, there was that dreadful silence yet again. I tried to be productive, so I went into the office and sat on the floor to take a measurement of a picture frame I was working on, but it only reminded me that he would normally follow me and be laying on the floor beside me. I just rolled over onto my back and lay there sobbing yet again. Can a person ever run out of tears?
Everything I did the rest of the day reminded me of him. Why do I feel like I am obsessing? The tears would dry up for a little while. Then something would spark them all over again. I was almost relieved when it was time for bed. I was exhausted. I needed to sleep. But sleep would be difficult. My love was no longer in bed with me. The weight of him at my feet was gone. I didn’t have to shift my legs around his body to get comfortable. There was only emptiness.
I slept for a little while, and I vaguely remember dreaming of him. Oh how I wish I could remember that dream. Instead what I remember are the dreams that took place in the hours that followed. Hours of on-again, off-again sleep. These dreams were filled with animals of all sorts, but none of them were him. I would pet an animal here or there, and I would say, but it’s not Obi. Where is Obi? And I kept looking for him in those dreams. But he was gone.
Three a.m. came. It was very normal for Obi to wake me around 3 a.m. to go outside. I still woke up. I lay there in the silence. Eventually I think I slept. Unfortunately I was met with more restless dreams. I almost looked forward to morning. But the morning held its own challenges. You see, my morning routine for years has been to wake up, let Obi out, feed him and then have some coffee. More recently it included actually cooking breakfast for my baby. Today was drastically different. My alarm went off, and again I just lay there. I didn’t have to get out of bed for 30 more minutes. I didn’t have to go downstairs to care for any other living soul. The only thing that would require me to get up would be to make myself some coffee. So I did.
As I made my coffee, Virginia’s kitty, Baya, stood by the back door. She knew Obi’s routine. In her brief few months with us, she learned it and she joined us each morning. Today she sat at the back door. Waiting? I don’t know, so I picked her up and took her outside for a minute. And just for a moment, a very brief moment, I could imagine Obi standing there beside us looking out across the yard. I wanted to say, come on Obi when I turned to go back inside. I think I just may have. Maybe he was there beside me. I hope so.
Now it’s back to work. A slight distraction from the reality that is heartbreaking. But only slight. For I can’t help but reflect on some of the other times I have written about him here. Funny times, silly times, even gross times. But all gloriously wonderful times I would take back in a heartbeat (even the gross ones) just to have him by my side.
I am sure one day I will have another pup. I can only hope and pray he/she will be as wonderful as my Obi was. They will have some big paws to fill, but I don’t think they will ever be able to fill this hole in my heart. There is only one Obi, and he waits for me on the other side. Only then will my heart be complete once again.