We survived the hurricane just fine, better than a lot of people, but those couple of days are a total blur. I’m OK with that. I spent the days numb, let myself grieve and then tried to pull myself out of the fog and realize that there are little people who need me now. I’m going to fully admit that it wasn’t easy, and they were as understanding as a five and three year-old can be.
The first 48 hours following Gromit’s death were just…horrible. No other way to put it. I never realized that losing a pet was this hard. But when I think about how old he was and how long we’ve been together, it made a lot more sense. I spend so much of my time being wrapped up in my own brain that when something like this derails me, it’s like being hit by a freight train. You (not you personally, just broadly generalizing) can’t even begin to know what that grief feels like. I guess part of it is having had to watch him go. Both the Meester and I realized how much it changed us. We are different people know, having witnessed that.
Gromit and I were thick as thieves. We went through so much together. And really, he was my first baby. Dogs for most people are just that, practice kids. You spoil them and do everything for them, and then you have real kids, and they become dogs. But the thing is, Gromit was already a senior dog before either of my kids came along, giving us so much time together. He saw me get married, twice. He saw me through divorce, and when it was just the two of us, those are the memories I will probably cherish most.
Now that it’s the end of the week, I’m obviously not over it, but I feel better. We can remember him fondly and we feel his presence. We talk in his silly voice, when we talk about him being in his heaven (it has endless amounts of food and he has a bottomless stomach). I can look at his pictures with a little less pain. On Tuesday, I did a pictoral tribute to Gromit on facebook and dubbed it Gromit remembrance day. Those who were lucky enough to be graced by his presence, knew what a great dog he was. If you can call him a dog. He certainly didn’t think he was a dog. He was people.
I’ve found that there are things I couldn’t wait to do when he was gone, to be much harder. The one thing, especially in his later years, was the hair. He shed more than any other lab I had ever met, and as he got older, he always seemed to have endless amounts of undercoat, and he was always blowing it. Tufts of hair were always constantly floating through my house. I always said I wouldn’t miss the hair, but I can’t bring myself to vacuum it up. The blood from his tumor still stains our kitchen floor. Maybe that’s gross and eventually we have to bring ourselves to move on by wiping it up, but not today. LG was playing with a bag of the hair I collected from him on Monday and I got a little short with her. Aside of my memories and pictures, it’s one of the few last physical connections I have. I’m sure I’ll be finding his hair woven in things for years to come, and it’ll make me smile.
While I go through my catalog of memories of our good times, I really am choosing to believe that his spirit is with us, and if there is a heaven, I hope his heaven is filled with everything he loves. The human mind is funny in the way we feel the need to hang on. Whether our loved ones are with us or not is forever unknown, but I’ll take what I can get for now.