“Honestly I think those who wants anyone to be quieter about grief or love have small hearts, that need to grow.
I do think that it’s silly to grieve for one animal while killing so many others—but, it’s never silly to love or grieve as long as it’s about the love, not self-centered. I try to keep my feelings, up, and down, centered on Red, not myself.”
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You were sweet and silly and floppy and loved to sleep and play and greet friends with yelps and wags and it doesn’t feel as if you’re dead, just around the corner, or off in the park, or playing in the stream, and surely I’ll see you soon, later, tomorrow, in 5 minutes.
You were such a buddy. I don’t feel sad, now, but maybe I will again tomorrow. Who knows. I ride this wave as it unfurls. Now I feel glad with your living memory, your death seems to be a thing lit up in life, like 7 pm on a Wednesday evening in the last mountain Spring sunshine.
We would bike across the low bridge, and I’d let you swim across, while I slowly biked/walked across, and you’d come out and shake from your head to your tush, watering the sidewalk and the grass and the trees as you revolved in wet joy.
You’d be laying at my feet, now, but it’s getting dark, and I’d tell you “up!” and get you to go to bed, and I’d come join you in the living room, and we’d get cozy and you’d turn in while I watched basketball, occasionally yelling “wow! Yes!” and you’d sit up suddenly, alert, wondering who I was talking to.
And in the morning I look for you and you’re curled up or splayed out, adorably, unselfconsciously
(impressive, considering how many photos were taken of you—I remember pre-you making fun of pet owners taking so many photos—that superiority faded fast in the face of your in-the-moment-Redfordness)
I keep looking for you and you aren’t there. I keep thinking “you were only a dog,” and then I take that thought and pet it, for insecurity deserves warmth, not suppression. Insecurity is the opposite of what love for you gave me and so many of us—love, empathy, caring for a mere dog, a mere “pet”—a love that if fully ripened could heal our world with caring for all sentient beings, our earth, blades of grass—even, hell, one another.
The cherry tree you sat under after your final swim is no longer purple-flowering—your bed is cold, your leashes hang, still. Your food sits in its containers and buckets and cans. Your blankets air out on the fence. Your white hairs still are all over—I dread vacuuming you away. I think of adopting a new little life, I can give a good home to a homeless little being. But I’m only 10 days in, or out,
from your heart struggling your lungs struggling your breath gasping in your furry chest in my desperate hands, me saying, calming but loudly, it’s okay! Red! It’s okay! And holding you and petting you and wondering if this was it.
That was it. And for now I can’t look away from the still lit warm memories of your life.