Sometimes, it’s the physical loss we feel the most. Or at least, it’s what we feel immediately – the warmth, the cuddles, the wet nose, the haphazard licking searching for my face. There’s a hole in my heart for sure. It’s an actual physical pain and ache to complement the emotional loss as well.
But the hardest part, as any pet owner will tell you, is the loss of habit and routine. It’s the empty space at the foot of the bed. It’s the empty dog dish on the floor. It’s the carpet, yet to be cleaned from one of the many, many accidents. And it’s the quiet.
It’s not actually quiet in my house. The TV is on. Breakfast is sizzling. Kids are playing outside. I can hear it all and yet it still seems so quiet, so still, so vacant.
She had a terrible cough. Any amount of activity, like climbing the stairs, would send her into a coughing fit rivaling the sounds of a harbor seal. And when you got really close, you could her her breathing, the back of her throat sounding a little like the crinkling of plastic wrap.
Now it’s quiet in the house. The quiet gives me a sense of calm and actually a sense of relief. My life got tremendously less complicated and yet my emotions are still a tangled mess. My other pets gather round me, wanting the warmth and the cuddles. I stroke their fur wondering if they notice too.