I've found the best way for me to grieve Jack, is to talk about him, talk about our relationship and why he meant so much to me. Its been three and a half weeks, and I don't know if I'm getting visited by him constantly or being tortured. Here's what I mean:
- Its late Spring, so the birds are outside chirping. I can't tell you how many times I've mistaken it for his whine at the back door. I instinctively think, "let him in" and then, in a split second it comes crashing in on me that he's not there. That day did happen. He's gone. He's not there.
- During the afternoons, if someone stops by and knocks on the front door or opens the garage door, my instinct is to flinch because Jack is going to start barking, and Lil' Dude is sleeping.
Except Jack isn't here to bark. Or whine.
Its these awful daily reminders that he's gone that I don't know if they are helping me or hurting me more. Prior to receiving Jack from my husband as a wedding present, I had a hole in my heart and my life that needed to be filled. Jack filled that hole and then some.
We've talked about getting another dog (eventually!) and here's the thing, with Jack, I knew him. I knew he would never hurt my son. I knew he loved me and would (and did, on two occasions) protect me (even if the one time it was my husband who came into the room, but it was dark, and no one uses our front door...so, I appreciated Jack's response to an "intruder" in my bedroom!)
When I say I knew him, I can't explain it and I know its going to sound silly or strange or weird (really, you can insert whatever adjective you'd deem necessary here) but I knew OF him prior to meeting him. Jack was born September 21, 2005. On October 21, 2005, I'm walking in a parking lot with my mother-in-law. I said to her, "I don't know why or how or, really anything, but I KNOW something big has happened in my life and I'll never be the same." She said, "you're not pregnant are you?" SAY WHAAAAA?! No. So NOT preggo! It wasn't until November that we met Jack. I have no idea how I knew he was already born and that he would impact my life forever, but I did. God told me.
So when I met Jack, my husband held him in his arms, and his eyes met my eyes, I knew. I just knew he was mine and it was meant to be and he'd be mine forever. Again, I have no idea how, or why. I just knew he was mine.
And now he's gone. And I'm left with lots of beautiful memories of him and pictures of him but none of them can help this lump that's been in my throat since mid-April when we learned of his diagnosis. So when people walk into our house and say "Its so strange that Jack's not here" or I vacuum and realize there's a finite amount of Jack-hair left in my home, it makes me so sad I have to honestly stop what I'm doing and redirect my energy otherwise I'd be reduced to a pile of tissues. Everyday.
I know everyone has lost an animal and I'm not alone. But I can't tell you how attached I was to that dog. I was his and he was mine.
Today my son walked to Jack's box (which, we've got the dog bone urn on order!) and said, "mama, I miss Jack." (I wanted to break down right then) "What do you miss most about him buddy?" "when he'd run and play with me" and he walked over to Jack's toy basket (its still sitting out) and grabbed this tennis-ball-material-wrapped doughnut toy that we always played tug-of-war with...and Lil' Dude grabbed one end, and I grabbed the other and we played.
I can't remember the last time Jack was healthy enough to play. And that makes me sad. Its been at least nine months. I miss my dog. My family misses our dog. I know time will help heal this pain but for now the wound is open and fresh and painful.