When we put Buster down I felt so sad, so broken. I came home and put Darla in my lap and cried. I cried many times over the next few weeks. I talked to her and told her how much I loved him, how much I loved her, how much I missed him, how much I was sure she missed him. They had been a pack for a long time, more than nine years. That is a longer than a lot of marriages. Darla was an amazing comfort.
And after a time it didn't break my heart when I listened for him and he didn't come. And I could accept what had happened. I started to remember what he was like before he got old, before his body betrayed him. I really took the time to enjoy Darla and to remember them when they were young.
And this week Darla died.
We put her down Monday, after one of the worst nights of my life. She was in pain and we took turns sleeping on the couch and in the bed and for a while in the bathroom because she squeezed herself under the tub.
We were absolutely right to do what we did. I know that. But I feel as though some one has used an ice cream scoop to hollow my insides and then poured lemon juice on top of the wound. Then set me on fire. I feel empty and angry and oh so very devastated. It was always our joke that Buster was J's dog and Darla was mine but in part this was not a joke. I loved them both so much but it was her that slept beside me all those years, her who liked to walk with me. She was my friend.
And now she is gone.
I alternate between eating things like bacon for comfort and uh puking randomly because I hate what has happened. I hate that my daughter saw J and I leave with the dog and burst into tears because she knows we are not bringing her back. I hate that we stole her friends from her (at least from her point of view). I hate that she asked me this morning, "where's Dar Dar?"
My feelings about Heaven are complicated. Jews have no official position on it, and I think most Jews don't believe in Heaven or Hell. Of course I was raised Christian and those views are at least part of our greater consciousness. But I don't really think I believe in Heaven. Except for dogs. I do believe that dogs are good creatures who deserve more and in my vision all of the dogs from your family take care of one another and run in a big extended pack. So I told Darla to go find Buster. That he and my parents dogs Rocky, Maddy, Sarge and even Mikey and Heidi would make sure she found her way. I know that sometime yesterday she was testing her newly strong again legs and bossing them all around.
People may just go back to the earth and I feel comfortable with that. But Darla is laying in the sun where she belongs.