I’m learning this new life; a life without Zoe.
The smallest things lurch my heart.
When arising, we had a ritual of greeting. We’d have a conversation about whether the night on the couch was to her liking (I know, dogs on furniture are anathema to some but she was old and creaky and I could deny her nothing in the comfort department). She would gaze into my eyes as I appreciated the silk of her ears. Her fine dog smell graced me before I moved to the second grace smell of morning: coffee!
Scraps of food in this house are no more cause for canine celebration. We throw them away without being able to hail the dog with great good news of treats.
There is no click of nails on the floor or jingle of collar or nudge of nose when a petting is due.
There is no welcome when we come home and no barking salvo when anyone nears the fiercely and loudly protected domain of her house.
The space left behind is immense.
I’m left pondering the mystery of dog companionship. For fourteen years she raised children, comforted the lonely and found her pleasures in bread and fishing. She asked for little. In return for food and loving she gave and gave and gave.
I’m missing that giving. I breathe my thanks for her being. I apprehend the vast space she has left behind.
I’m humbled by the power of grief and gratitude, both.