My dog, Sugar, died yesterday.
About two months ago, just before my birthday, my other dog, Mama had to be put down.
In a lot of ways, Sugar’s death was harder than Mama’s. I’d had Mama for 9 years and Sugar for only about six months. But because Mama was much older, I was able to see anticipate it. Sugar was seemingly healthy, suddenly got really sick, and just didn’t recover. Also, I made the decision to put Mama down in the vet’s office, surrounded by professionals. I had some control over what happened and when. Sugar died in my arms on my living room floor at a time when I’d never been more alone in my entire life.
Summers are difficult for me. I have seasonal depression as the weather gets hotter. Almost any time something terrible has happened to me, it’s been in the summer. I can feel it coming on in May. Suddenly it takes a lot of effort to interact with others, to write, to breath. This particular summer has been full of losses and hurt and the word “No” over and over again. The dogs were just the cherry on top of it all.
All of my adult life, I’ve had pets. For the past ten years, I’ve had a dog in some capacity–whether it was my dog or foster dogs or some combination. Today is the first day in a long time that I don’t have to take out a dog before I go to sleep. Today is the first day that I didn’t start with making sure food and water bowls were full.
Then I had a taco and some of the meat fell on the floor. I thought “Oh, I guess I’ll actually have to pick that up, huh? No one’s gonna come lick it up.” It is both quieter and louder in my apartment. Quiet, because I’m completely here alone most of the time. Loud, because I can’t say that any of the little noises that creak throughout the house came from the dog.
I feel. . . sad.
That pause isn’t because I’m not sure how I feel. That pause is because “sad” isn’t enough of a word for it. I feel a lot of things. I am glad that they aren’t suffering so that I can say I still have my dogs.
I am certain that I did what I could for both of them and that it happened the way it should have happened. I don’t have any what-ifs about the situation.
I am feeling vulnerable about the fact that I am sharing these feelings in a world where every little tiny bit of weakness can and will be used against you. But I also know that if an emotion is true, it’s real. And real is never wrong.
I don’t have a spiffy ending for this one, guys. I’m just going to stop typing and you’re just going to have to accept that.