If you follow me elsewhere, or know me in person, you know our dog Willa had a seizure and died a little over a month ago. I've finally stopped crying every day, but her absence has left a huge hole, and if you know grief, that treacherous asshole, you know it abates for a while before striking again in full effect, without warning. And when it does I feel like I've been punched right in the heart.
Losing an old pet is very sad, but it's no tragedy. It's a pain we all sign up for, knowing our time together is short; the clock is already ticking the day we take our new friend home. Willa died fairly quickly--though it certainly didn't feel that way at the time--and maybe a little on the young side; 11 doesn't seem that old for a dog. But the painful arthritis that warped her front paws was progressing and our exuberant girl was very slowly but noticeably becoming more withdrawn, even grumpy. We were going to have some very hard conversations in the not-too-distant-future.
I know all this. I know. But today was a clear, perfect fall day, and damn it, I would trade a lot to sit in the backyard with my dog in the November sunshine for a minute and stroke the soft, perfect triangles of her ears while she sniffed the air and turned her intelligent eyes to mine, as if to say, are you getting all this?