Saying goodbye

I said goodbye today.

I know many of you would have wanted me to tell you before. Would rather have not found out this way. Would have wanted to support me – even if from miles away. Please know I truly love you for that. Really. Honestly, it’s strange to me I’m sharing it this way. But here I am.

Over the last few years she and I had put one foot on this ledge more times than I care to count. Things would change. We would walk off it together. Life would settle back to normal.

The staff at the vet’s office had taken to treating her like a rock star. She loved every minute of it.

People tell you they will let you know when it’s time. When they’re ready. Well here’s the thing – I think she was waiting until I was ready. Well as ready as I could ever really be. Maybe that’s why this time was different. I didn’t openly talk about it. Didn’t make the calls. Didn’t send the texts.

She never bought into the whole grooming thing. She tolerated it, but in her heart, I knew she was way more dugout than runway. What she did love was snow. Possibly more than anything else. She could play in the snow for hours.

I loved to watch her run full tilt up to every neighbor as they shoveled their driveway. She’d come to a screeching stop, look up at them and grin from ear to ear! They would take the time to stop, smile back and tell her hi. Then in a flash she was off to the next house.

She was so damn exuberant – so pure joy – that I swear I would see a change in them. A moment where they forgot they were an adult. A moment where they remembered what it was like to be a child and hear the words ‘snow day.” When I finally got her in, it always felt like I should fix her a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

The last four nights I slept downstairs with her. I told her we were camping.  We stayed up late, watched favorite shows and then would head over to the futon for the night. Both of us being the types to want our personal space when falling asleep, we’d settle in a few feet apart and drift off.

Then every night – every single night – I would wake up and find like two magnets we had migrated. We would be snuggled up together. I would stay awake and feel pressed up against me. It was wonderful.

I know there will be a hundred pinpricks in the hours, days, weeks, months and even years to come.

Looking first before I start to slide back the chair in my office only to see nothing is there …

Starting to pull my design studio door shut when I’m walking out and realizing I can leave it open…

Pushing a plate of food to the back of the counter if I was stepping away and then stopping because I don’t have to anymore…

And probably the one that will sting the most – coming home and for a fraction of a second wondering what’s different and then remembering…

I also know, with equal measures of relief and sorrow, those pin pricks will slowly begin to diminish over time.

She taught me so much and I will carry her in my heart with me forever. 12 years old is average for her breed. Just seems so odd. Surprising really. Because she was anything but average. She was extraordinary in so many ways. And I loved her dearly…