Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Grief In its Own Time

I wake up with blog post ideas. Yes, that's a good one, I tell myself. And I can use the photo from . . .

Over the past month I've considered lots of entries, but somehow when it's time to open the blogger dashboard, my fingers freeze and I stop.

My last post is a tribute to Daphne, my 14-year-old golden retriever, who died on July 23. I haven't wanted, been able, to consider supplanting her muddy face with another post, until now. I pause, ready to leap into my new idea, but . . .

Many times I've walked down to her grave at the end of the yard, by the compost bin, and chatted with her. "Hey girl," I say, "I miss your impish energy, your wiggling up out of a deep dirt sleep to trot around the yard with me and tease me when I dump the vegetable droppings.

"Oh isn't she being a conscientious citizen," you would say--if you could talk, jerking your head back in a challenge, your black lips parting in a smile. "You're such a good girl, unlike me, the wolf dog." You would bark and invite me to chase you or play a game with you. You'd drop a ball or a stone at my feet. "Throw it," you'd say. Whenever Bill came out, you would try to block him when he shot baskets in your yard--try to get into the game with him. He swore you laughed when he missed a hoop.

Yesterday, without you at my side, I strung a clothes line out back, something I could never do when you were alive. For a day or two you would have ignored the damp prey. But then, on a lazy afternoon, a pillow case waving in the breeze would have been too much and you would have ripped it down, shaken it to break its neck, and dug it into one of your mud holes. Next a sheet, a t-shirt, anything you could reach.

Now I have a line up. I have a screen door since you're not here to paw through it at the first threat of thunder--the change in weather you always sensed long before we did. Our TV room no longer smells like a vet's office. There are no clumps of golden hair clinging to our kitchen chair legs. I can take a brisk walk and not feel guilty for leaving your rickety self at home.

I set out to write a post about something else, thinking I was ready. But you have taken over. That's how grief works--it has its own timetable, surprising us.

I choose this picture, looking up the driveway from the Wildacres resident cabin. At the top of the slope, light bursts through but down here we are in a darker place.


Dale said...

How comforting to know someone else talks to those who now live in different world! I thought I was the only one. Our love ones (human as well as canine) are so much a part of our lives because they live on in our hearts and minds. For those we love there is always something more we want to say because the relationship is alive and well. A sure sign of a dead relationship is having nothing left to say. Thanks for reminding me of what I believe.


Carol Henderson said...

Even though people and pets die, our relationships with them live on. I have always found comfort, knowing this. I often talk to my long-dead son and seek his advice; he died in infancy, but he is one of my guides.

Glenda said...

I'm glad I found your blog today. A dear friend lost his 14 year old "Precious" this week and he is hurting. We know when we commit to our beloved pets that one day they will leave us, but we don't let ourselves think of that day. I look at the photo of my dear Kodi, a snow white Samoyd we had to put down on Christmas day. In this picture I keep above my kitchen sink,he smiles at me just as he always did, and I am reasured that he is no longer in pain.