I know it’s been a while since I last wrote. It’s not without good reason. For the past two months we have battled alongside our dog Luna, her end stage liver failure. It was a final battle. Not one we could possibly win, only one that would perhaps give us more time. One week ago today we said goodbye to her.
Luna was a force of nature. She fought, valiantly finding the inner strength to enjoy life, until she could no longer hide her pain from us. Even then, when we took her to the vet, she used her inner reserves to try and tell the world she was fine. I know that was for the big bad world’s benefit, but it was nice for us to see her as Luna for a moment longer.
Now our battle is with a quiet, empty-sounding house. Our grief is doubled up as we remove the last remnants of almost 13 years of dog parenting. The crate has been taken down. Food and toys removed. The beds piled up ready to either be stored or donated. Gobbolina has taken to sleeping on them. She looks like something out of The Princess and the Pea, a tiny cat laying on a giant pile of beds. I don’t know what she makes of her sister being gone.
I never wanted kids. My children were my animals, for many years, just my dogs. I look at the articles I’ve written on the subject, showing a happy family picture from a camping trip in the Colorado mountains and I feel slightly bitter. Not that we intend to leap into getting a new pet. Not yet. It wouldn’t be fair to Luna. And the one good thing out of all of this, the one thing to hold on to, is that we can finally travel and go places without worrying about Luna, who was always so stressed out about crates and boarding.
We spent the day on Whidbey Island a couple of days ago, and stayed out until late. It was a new feeling. But it didn’t make me miss Luna any less. My relationship with Luna has been so complicated. For years I thought we were the wrong family for her. That I couldn’t give her the kind of love, exercise and attention that she needed. But somehow we settled into a routine. Somehow I stopped resisting. I still have a hard time accepting things as-is, but Luna has helped somewhat in that regard. Now I just have to accept that she is gone.
In a year and a half, I have lost two dogs and my father. Part of me wants to rail at the universe, but mostly I feel like the only thing to do now is move forward. Amidst all of this grief, again, things are happening. Things I want to share. Like it or not, life is moving forward, and even in this grief, I am daring to be hopeful. What choice do we have?