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On the other side of goodbye

My friend Normal is saying goodbye to her Diva today.

Her relationship to Diva very much reminds me of mine with Relampago, and I ache for both of them. I've never met Diva before, but I feel like I know her because of what Normal writes about her. A lot of people who never met Relampago said the same. I also really can't imagine Normal without Diva. A lot of people said that about me when Relampago died.

Normal and Diva have been together for 13 years. They've gone to school together. They've crossed the country together. They've looked over the rim of the Grand Canyon together. Every adventure that they could possibly do together, they did. They were a constant in each other's life for well over a decade, more so than anyone else.

Relampago and I did the same thing.

Normal let Diva be Diva. They were more of a team than a dog and an owner. Diva, like Relampago, wasn't a big fan of other dogs. But that was ok, because Diva loved to chase and squeak and meet new people. I suspect, like with me and Relampago, they had differences of opinion that had to be discussed at length before there was resolution. And above all, Diva loved Normal. And Normal loved Diva.

Reading about Diva's decline was really hard for me. I remember pulling Relampago out of his own urine towards the end. I remember looking at the exhausted dog in front of me with sadness. I remember wanting to selfishly want hold on so I could have an extra second with him. And I remember him looking at me with so much trust and love and absolute faith that everything I did for him was correct. So I knew I had to do the right thing for him.

But most of all, I remember telling him right before he died, the dog that hated more than anything to be separated from me, that we were going to have to be apart for awhile. We would be apart for longer than we'd ever been since we first met. But the next time we saw each other, we'd be together forever. He licked me.

I know what my friend Normal is going through today, because three years ago, I went through the same thing. And there's absolutely nothing that I can do or say to make it better, because it sucks. It sucks beyond the telling. It's the last good thing we can do for them, but it hurts so much to do. I do know, though, what it's like to be on the other side of this. And it still sucks, because I didn't get enough time, there never would have been enough time, and I miss him very much.

But having the others, having Graham, moving forward, these are things he approved of. He would have liked Celosa. As much as he didn't like other dogs, he loved puppies. And she sometimes shows me characteristics that remind me eerily of him. He loved Crianza, and he would have been sad that she was in pain. He approved of Graham, and I think he waited to make sure that I was going to be ok before he decided to leave me with Graham. As much as he would have wanted to be with me on adventures, he wouldn't have wanted me to stop them because he wasn't there to go on them anymore.

Graham and I were talking about Normal and Diva this morning, which of course led us to talking about Relampago and Crianza. With Crianza, everything happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly that the shock of it all was intertwined with the grief. We didn't even have the chance to say goodbye to her. But with, Relampago was just pure grief. We knew we had limited time, we did the best we could with that time, and ultimately, I had to take one of the hardest steps of my life.

I think I was wrong, when I told Relampago our separation would be so long. I think he's still with me, now, and that the separation wasn't that long at all. I feel him with me all the time. I talk to him all the time. I rely on him to keep an eye on the other dogs that are in my life, and I think he's done a fantastic job. I think he welcomed Crianza, and made her passing easier. And I think she joined him in being at my side when I need them. I think they protected Celosa, and they'll make sure that whoever else comes into our lives is safe.

I don't really have a religious sensibility or faith or anything more vague feelings pieced together by wandering through this world for 38 years. But I know with absolute certainty that my dogs and I will be together after we're long gone from the physical world. And I hope that Normal will find the same thing, especially when she stumbles upon the daily reminders of the tangible absence of her beloved Diva.

Someone just can't be an extension of you and go away all together just because they're dead.


( 4 comments — Say something )
Sep. 15th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
Our nearly 14 year old, Cassie, passed on her terms, Sunday. After threatening to fight her sister over the pups on Saturday. I was grateful she passed without a lot of pain, and with love and companionship, and that she met the puppies before she left. But damn she is missed. She was truly a GREAT pyr.
Sep. 15th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
*fierce hugs* i'm glad she had the passing of her choice and got to meet the puppies. i can see her watching over all of you now. *HUGHUGHUG*
Sep. 15th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
*fierce hugs* and blessings and vibes for support and healing for normal.

i always see relampago around you, i know, and he says yes, crianza is right there, too.

one of the hardest things to wrap my head around on this side is that it's only here we're limited by time and space and physical reality. on the other side, we're *always* there, even if we're here and limited at the same time. so relampago is watching you here, but on another level you're also there and with him.

*hugs and love*
Sep. 15th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
It's particularly poignant to hear about a friend losing their dear animal companion, and very difficult not to be triggered into experiencing, again, the pain of our own losses.
( 4 comments — Say something )