On Loss, Remembrance, and Renewal

Last Wednesday, we said goodbye to the Murphy-dog. I’m still not one-hundred percent sure what happened, because he was doing better, and then just sort of crashed, but due to several other health issues he’s been dealing with, we opted not to treat this time, and instead had him euthanized. Thanks to our amazing veterinary team, it was quick, peaceful, and I was able to be with the Murph right up to the end, even with pandemic precautions still in place.

Murphy was one of the best dogs we’ve ever had, bar none. Sweet, kind, independent, stubborn, smart, lazy, loud and seriously goofy. There will never be another quite like him, and I’m so glad we got to have him in our lives for the last five or six years.

As we all do, I deal with the grief and letting go in my own way. The day of is the hardest, and the next few days after a mixture of loss and guilt and second-guessing. Distractions are welcome from that point on, so things can be dealt with in small bites rather than big gulps. As I move through the next few weeks, I’ll remember the small moments as I move through my days, a sort of ongoing tribute as time passes. And much like Murphy’s head prints in the snowbank outside my back door (he loved to go out and rub his face in the snow, which always made me laugh), the pain will gradually fade and the memories will make me smile when some small, everyday thing brings them to mind.

After awhile, when you’ve lived and loved enough, this sort of ongoing random tribute happens a lot. I’ve said goodbye to seven dogs now, and I still remember each of them often, for specific things they liked and did and disliked. They are each always with me in spirit. I love that.

For now, it’s just Athena here with us, and she’s dealing with the loss in her own way. The happy howling is on hold (I miss that!), and she’s quiet, unsure. But like the rest of us, she’ll get through this, and soon enough, she’ll have a new friend to bond to and play with. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right fit, but we’ll start looking this week.

Life will go on, as it always does. Happiness will prevail, as it always should.

We will make sure it does.

Rest well, my big, gentle goof.