Is it weird to remember the day that your dog died two years later? Poor little new dog Oliver had his birthday forgotten this year, and yet I remember the date that Opie died.
The day Opie died was one of the worst days of my life. I hadn't had to deal with death very much prior to that. Basically just some great grandparents, and one grandfather. His death was difficult for me, but he had been sick for so long that we knew that this was what was best.
But Opie we didn't really see coming. He was only 10. I had stopped at my parents to see him earlier that night because my sister had said he was having difficulty breathing. But I just thought he would be fine. I couldn't stay long because we were going out for my mother-in-law's birthday. (Happy Birthday Carrie! Sorry for the depressing topic...)
Later that night, after my in-laws left my house, Ryan told me that Opie had died. I just burst into tears, amazed at how instantaneous my grief was. We went down to my parents and sat on the lawn with Opie for what felt like hours. Who pets a dead dog? We did.
I remember the pain so vividly. I woke up multiple times that night in tears. As soon as I thought about it I was crying, because I couldn't imagine life without that little guy following us around. If there had been any night for a sleeping pill, that would have been it. And for a girl who rarely takes sick days, the next day would have been a good one to take. I was a disaster.
For weeks, or maybe months afterwards, I would catch myself thinking about him on my way home from work and start crying. This is what happens when you have an hour commute, which is way too much time alone with your thoughts.
For those of you who have never lost a pet, you probably think that I'm crazy. For those that have, you may understand. Opie grew up with us. He was our best friend and was always there when we needed him. When we were sick or just sad and needed a friend, he was there, and dogs don't ask questions, they just cuddle with you. When we were happy, Opie was zooming around us because he was happy too.
And that is the problem with pets. They are with us for such a short time but become so much a part of our lives. I think that their deaths can be more painful for us then some human deaths because we really notice their absence. When my Grandpa died, I was sad, and it would hit me that I would never see him again. But I didn't notice his absence on a daily basis. With Opie I did. Every time I went to my parents house I noticed that he didn't greet me. He wasn't begging at the table or cuddling up with us on the couch. And the house felt empty.
And yet my parents got another dog 2 weeks later. Because despite the pain, we couldn't imagine life without the happiness that a pet brings us. So we are going to do it all over again at some point. But that's ok, because that's just what life and death is, and we wouldn't be so sad if we weren't so incredibly happy at some point.
|The day he became part of our family|