I awoke this morning to the sound of your nails click-click-clicking on the floors. It was around the time you usually wake up, wanting your breakfast.
The first night of your absence Marissa felt my slippered foot under the table and exclaimed, "Oh Dax! You're so warm!" An hour later she asked if it would be okay for you to come downstairs and snuggle while we watched the Olympics. An hour after that, she asked if it was her turn to sleep with you. Each time I didn't have to say anything; she remembered by the look in my eyes that you were gone.
I had to look twice at a patch of sunlight on the floor yesterday, knowing that if you'd been here you would have found it and curled up for a snooze in the warmth.
Last night Lindsey thought she saw you coming into the kitchen just as she pulled a pan of brownies out of the oven. It was about the time you would have walked in; having not heard any of the kitchen noises, you usually arrived when the food came out of the oven and you could smell the good smells.
She nearly bent down to greet you, only to realize it was her imagination. She straightened up with disappointment and sadness in her eyes.
I swore I heard you sigh in the middle of the night, your long, contented sigh of a change of position and comfort. Only I know it couldn't have been you.
I expected to see you as I walked down the stairs this morning, and looked expectantly for you in front of the fireplace.
Empty places. Empty moments. Empty hearts.
I know that there are losses greater than ours. I know that there are parents mourning their children, friends mourning friends, husbands mourning wives, children mourning parents. But grief is still grief, and the fact that you were woven into every facet of our lives makes the loss of you palatable every moment of the day. Even when we aren't here, I have to brace myself to coming home to an empty house.
Some day I will hear your sighs in the sound of the wind. I will hear your paws in the crunch of new fallen snow. I will smile when I hear the happy barks of other dogs in the park. By then I will remember you with fondness, and think about how lucky we were to have you in our lives for 15 whole years.
Until then, those sounds are haunting our home and making our hearts ache.
Author's Note: The last time I suffered a loss of significant consequence, I wrote every day in a journal to my loved one for more than a year. I took comfort in writing to him as if he were still on earth to read the words. More than 20 years later, my writing has moved to the electronic page and I have an audience to read it.
If you think I'm oversharing, that's your opinion. Writing is my therapy and sharing these thoughts helps me through it. By sharing I find others who have suffered a similar loss and relate to me, so I don't feel so alone in this process.
This may be the last post on this subject, I may curtail my journal-like entries to the drafts folder. Or you may be reading more about this journey. Whichever I do, I thank you for your kindness and understanding.