Thursday, 30 July 2015

How to Save A Life

In the end, we couldn't save you.

For 3 months, we did.

It doesn't matter how it happened, and grief is unaltered by circumstance and uninformed excuses. Everyone is always interested in the "Why?" and the "How?", but I don't care too much about that. Neither should you. Life is life, no matter how it comes to it's end.

Everyone thinks that they understand dogs, but really, they only ever understand their own. It's not as cut and dry as "all dogs are the same",  or "a dog is born this way" because that's not the case. They feel warmth like human hearts, but they have no words to use. They can't ask for help, or tell you what's wrong today. They just hope you understand.

I won't have anyone say that you were ever a bad dog, or that you never felt our rescue. You were the dog who carried his food bowl across the room to eat with us, and whose paw would mimic my actions if I stopped scratching you before you fell asleep. You kept us up all night, and you made beds out of things that didn't belong to you. Everything was yours, and it was okay.

Everything is still yours, and it's marked by you.
There are holes in old blankets and crumbs in carpet, and while the traces of you still linger I can't help but notice that it's not warm anymore.

You spent your afternoons looking out of our balcony doors with your head in the sun, and would fall asleep with your chin on the ledge. You loved soft vanilla ice cream, and eating my share, too. But you loved Rhys more than any of that, and you waited all day for your time with him.

They keep telling me why it has happened. They act like they know better, and like they knew you. They didn't know where Chuck ended and Chuckles began, or how you needed to sleep with the light on. They didn't know you like I did. They didn't know, full stop.

Your bed is still where you left it, and I can't look at it without remembering your final slumber. I'm not sure you were ever aware of how big you actually were, but now there's emptiness where you should be. This home feels vacant, and we are bewildered. You never knew how messy you were, and you'd look somewhat insulted if we tried to move your things. I look for you before I sleep, and I hope you're okay.

Yesterday, you lost your light.
They were kind to you, and it was quick. 
I hope you know that you were loved.

You taught us so much about patience, about love and family.

Grief feels like a suffocation of failure and fire. It hits you in the chest, and burns its way through until it reaches the middle. It sits there, and settles. The next thing you know, memory has stoked it's embers and there's smoke in your throat. It comes and it goes but you never really stop thinking about it. You never shake off the ash.

Guilt on the other hand, feels different. Just like a cloud that never really drifts away, it just hovers over you until you give in to the rain-- and the only way through it is to feel it. I feel guilty that we couldn't do more for you, and that we couldn't give you one more day. I feel guilty that I didn't know it was your last night with us, and that I didn't give you the biscuits you wanted. It's my fault. Everything is grey now, and everything is different.

Not everything happens for a reason, and I can't explain why this happened to you.
I can say that we loved you, and you loved us.
We're haunted by the last time we saw you, and the look on your face. Your salt and pepper speckles caught my eye, and you were gone.

We had so much from you, and you gave us grand capers of ice cream trucks and breathless walks in your favourite places. We took lessons in loyalty, and afternoon naps. We had you everyday, and we were so lucky.

You were our greatest adventure.

I hope you know, you rescued us too.

I hope you know, we still leave your light on.