Monday, October 6, 2014

There are no words

I can't put down in words what it is like to have a dog in your life.

Especially this dog.

I could try "love".

But that wouldn't even come close to how wonderful it feels.  

It's like this:

And this:

Mixed together.

It is even harder to put down in words what it is like to not have a dog in your life.
Especially this dog.

I could say, "He had cancer."
I could say, "It came on very fast."
I could say, "We spoiled him like crazy and tried everything we could and hoped against hope that he would be OK somehow or at least not leave us quite yet and seized on every optimistic word and decided that since he still smiled whenever he was around us and liked those little chicken treats even when he wouldn't eat anything else and he had that familiar bounce in his step when he left the doctor and he knew I'd be home in two days and that the chemo was helping, they said it was helping god damn it, that because of all that he shouldn't die in his sleep, in the night, all alone, and be found very still, very cold, outside our bedroom door in the morning."

I could say, "I miss him so much I can't breathe."

But those words wouldn't even come close to how gut-wrenchingly miserable this feels. The keyboard is so wet with tears right now that I'm surprised it's still functioning.

I'm a little surprised I'm still functioning, too.

I say to myself, "He's OK now. "
I say to myself, "He was lucky to suffer so little, and to go at home in peace with his family nearby."
I say to myself, "Read that Rainbow Bridge poem. Believe the hell out of it."

None of those words do a damn thing for me.  I've tried. I hear them. I repeat them. I keep trying.

Finally, I say to myself, "He knew he was loved every single day of his life. Even the very last one. And you should be thankful for all of those days.  You were lucky, so lucky, to have him."

Finally, those are the only words that help.

Today would have been his 8th birthday. RIP Blackjack.  

Click here to read the collection of Blackjack stories from the blog.
Click here to see the beautiful website that my niece made in Blackjack's honor.
And to everyone who has been so very kind with words of comfort and compassion, with shared memories and shared deep grief, those words and hugs and thoughts have been appreciated beyond belief.  The measure of a great soul is how many people felt its presence, and by this yardstick, my goofy, gentle, sweet giant puppy had one of the greatest.  
Please click back here to check on me later.  I'm really hoping to feel better soon.


  1. Sharon, I am so very sorry for your loss. I am a dog person to my core and have loved and lost them -- and know how miserable it is. I'm glad you are finding some solace in knowing that he knew how much he was loved every day of his life because there really isn't anything better than that. Looks and sounds like he was filled with joy and love from his first moments with you and your family, to the last. Sending lots of love, warmth, and positive thoughts to you and your family during this hard time. ~Valentina

    1. Thank you so much, Valentina. For 41 years, I had no idea what it meant to be a dog person, and now, I can't believe I missed out for all that time. It's such a transformative gift.

  2. I have been there. I know what you are going through and I am so very sorry. What a beautiful boy you had. He looked truly happy and loved in his photos. My thoughts are with you. The pain will never go away, it will just lessen in time. I pray you give another lucky dog a life of love again. ((Hugs to you)) Misha

    1. Thank you. It's been enormously helpful for all of us to get so much support from people like you that have been through this before.

  3. My heart breaks for you. And, of course, I have no words suitable to comfort you. We lost a furry friend this year, and I still miss her terribly. It's a little hole that can never be filled. So, in lieu of the perfect words, I send you some love via the interwebs.

    1. Sigh. Sometimes just crying is all you can do. And that's OK, too. Thank you, Rachel.

  4. Oh, Sharon. I'm just so sad for you and your family - sending you much love. You all had a wonderful, if too short, time together, and yes, he absolutely knew he was loved, even at the end. Ugh. Just awful. Thinking of you (and spoiling Sam extra in your pup's honor).