My puppy died yesterday. I can't stop crying.
Well, I call her a puppy. She was a tiny 13-year-old poodle/maltese terrier with soft apricot fur who looked like a puppy. She has been ingrained in the fabric of my life since I was 9-years-old.
There is a lot to be grateful for. She lived to a ripe-old age. She lived a good life, I think.
That's the thing about being a pet owner, isn't it? You try your best to make them happy. But since you speak different languages, you have to rely on other cues. Barking. Scratching at the door. Jumping onto your lap and nuzzling your shoulder. Familiarity leads you to believe that you know each other. But there is always cause to wonder: did I do enough?
In all truth, the sorrow I feel is not just for her. It's for me, too. It's the sorrow of regret. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye. She stayed behind at my parents' house when I moved out a few months ago. And as hard as I try, I can't remember our last cuddle.
So rather being at peace, I am left with never-ending questions. Was she happy? Did I treat her well? Or did I neglect her sometimes, too caught up in my own life to play and pet? Did she like her food? Did she ever go hungry? When I left, did she miss me? Did she wonder where I'd gone? Did she think I'd abandoned her? And before she died, was she scared? Did she know what was happening to her? If someone had told her she was taking her last breath, would she have been content? Or would she long for one last hug?
As someone who is not accustomed to the grief of losing people I love, I can only imagine that the emotions I feel are somewhat like those that every grieving person has to cope with. And I am sure that one day, only happy, loving memories will surface whenever I think of her. But for now, the tears flow whenever I'm reminded that I am facing the rest of my life without her in it.
Deep in earth my love is lying
And I must weep alone.
— Edgar Allan Poe
(In February 1847, Poe’s young wife Virginia died of consumption. Poe was devastated by her death and penned these words.)
P.S. This beautiful photo story helped to cheer me up: The Great Dane Who Became An Older Sister.