Sixteen years and one month. One month. One month since I last blogged about her, 2 days since her wellness check at the Vet gave her an all-clear. One month since it seemed, however improbable, that she would live forever. She didn’t.
Murphy passed away very early Friday morning with our hands and our voices her last experience. I had at least wanted that much. I am grateful that it didn’t happen while C2 was travelling, or at the office. I am grateful that it didn’t happen while I was at work and she would have been alone. I am grateful it didn’t happen while we were in Canada at Christmas. I am grateful but I am grieving. We three are.
I am grieving her presence, which is so familiar to me; our house is loud with her absence. When C2 comes downstairs in the morning, he looks at the corner of the living room to her bed, “to make sure she’s still breathing” he used to joke. That corner is conspicuously empty now. When I come into the house, I open my mouth to holler “hi Murph” then stop. I still think to her schedule and automatically open my mouth to ask C2 “have you let her out to pee” at night before I stop. I look to my feet as I’m cooking or preparing food where she would always be and her absence takes my breath away.
I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach…repeatedly. We three do. I’m sorry if you cannot relate to the grief of losing a much-loved animal but she was so much more than that for us. She has been our constant companion through time and place, our touchstone. After 16 years, we should have been ready. We were prepared but we weren’t ready.
J stayed home from school on Friday and we went for a long walk by the river and talked and remembered and cried, and then did it again. It helped, especially him. C2 came home early since he couldn’t keep it together at work. We went to Ikea and bought bookshelves, came home, and redecorated a room from top to bottom. That got us through that day.
The next day, we spent the afternoon at the Perth Diwali festival, the Indian Festival of Lights, which spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. Seemed the right thing to do. The Masala Dosa temporarily filled the hole in our stomachs.
Yesterday, we went for a long beach walk, collected shells, and talked more. I know that in a few weeks, this feeling of being kicked in the stomach will shift away from sadness and towards recalling happy memories with a smile in my heart. I wish I could fast-forward to that place.
|It was love at first sight for both of them|
The last thing I said to her before she died was to “go find Sam”, her beloved Golden Retriever friend, and equally loved dog of our friends Marc and Nathalie. I choose to believe that after leaving us, her indomitable spirit found his, and that they are together in Fish Creek Park in Calgary playing and chasing each other as they once did. That's where she walked with me every day the summer J was born, sitting at my feet at Annie's Cafe sharing my muffin, and whimpering at the mocking squeaks of the Prairie Dogs. That's where she swam in the river, climbed hills, played in the snow, and mountain-biked with us. That’s where we’ll spread her ashes so that’s where she can stay.