What I’ve learned by losing my sweetest boy.
Our sweetest little man. My very first baby.
He instantly and unexpectedly fell over and left us on February 23rd, 2021 in the early afternoon.
Over the years I have taken thousands of photos of him. I think I consider my photos as sort of an insurance policy for my bad memory. If I photograph it all, I will not forget. But the problem is, I’m not in danger of forgetting what he looks like, I’m deeply afraid to forget all of the feelings of him.
Waking up in the middle of the night in darkness and reaching for the comfort of him.
What did he think of my random middle of the night kisses?
Coming home to his loving excitement.
The feeling of him groggily walking in after waking up from a nap just because he wanted to be in the same room.
Watching him lovingly chase and kiss our 2 yr old.
After the shock of the experience transpired and we returned home, I frantically searched my mind to remember that last morning with him. I found some relief when I remembered yes, of course, I had a special groggy cuddle morning session with him. I remember I stared at him and ran my hand down his nose and back. I kissed his velvet ears and whispered how much I loved him. This was not uncommon for me. And that in itself is something that makes me think about the rest of my life.
Although losing him has been the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt, I find comfort in fully knowing that I could not possibly have loved him more. I could not have kissed him more, or told him I loved him more. I could not have appreciated him more. Every day I would put my face in his neck or on his head and close my eyes and think about how grateful I was for his soul. Was it because I was always hyper aware of the unfair abbreviated lifespan of a dog? Partially, yes, I’m sure. But this can be true for anyone and anything. I think sometimes we forget that. My mind is so chaotic and I’m often riddled with anxiety and to-do lists. What is it about him that magically made everything okay? I could glance over at him and completely stop what I was doing to go to him and have a moment. He gave me peace and pulled a sacred intentionality out of me. That type of presence is something that I strive for all the time and fail- yet, it was effortless in his companionship.
I feel an inescapable grief. There’s nowhere to go to get away from it. But in a weird way, I don’t want to get away from it. I don’t want to heal from it because that means I’m further and further away from when I last was with my Tyson.
If the crying on the floor in my closet with his blanket held tight stops, does that mean I’m losing him even more? At this point, the enormity of my pain, the constant ache, is proof of our love and the significant part of our life that he was and still very much is.
Rationally, I know holding onto pain shouldn’t be proof or equated to love, nor would he want that. But nothing feels rational right now. It’s irrational that he isn’t sprawled out on the couch next to me. It doesn’t make sense that I have so much room in my bed. No one runs and barks and kisses us when we come home. It isn’t fair that our goodest boy didn’t see his 8th birthday. But when I search for clarity in the anguish & proof in the photographs, I know in my soul that we were so fortunate to have experienced that type of love at all. Our time with him was worth it all and I’d do it all over again 100 times over if I could.
We beautifully, purely, unconditionally loved. I will take what I learned from how I loved him and how he loved us with me. I will honor him always by keeping that feeling alive and giving it to those still here.
Our ache for him will forever remind us how to live.