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Just Give Me One Thing That I Can Hold on to....

On July 1st I said goodbye to my beloved bulldog Duffer. I have tried to write about his passing several times now, each time ending with the delete button. Truth is, I am having trouble putting into words just how much that little man meant to me. His stout body that could withstand my hugs and constant kissing him on his top spot, his basketball antics in the yard, his ability to jump gates, his awful attempt at howling, his snoring that could wake the dead yet lull me to sleep, and above all his kind heart and couldn't care less demeanor.


I know I have to go through the grieving process, it's definitely not my first rodeo in that department, but oddly I came to realize today why this is so much more difficult this time around. I know my Duffer lived a good life, I know he felt loved his entire life, I know he is no longer in pain, and these three nuggets of knowledge alone normally help me process and work through the grief. But everything is oddly different, and today I have realized why.


Nothing is normal amidst this pandemic re-alignment and it's imposing fears.. Our routines have been disrupted. The way we work,learn, play, shop, socialize, travel...everything has changed. As a result it's a natural instinct to hang on to everything that is normal in our lives with all our might. Having Duffer with me was an integral part of my normal. But no matter what I did, nothing could change the inevitable. No great need for normalcy could ever outwit the neurological truth he became victim to. So we said our tearful goodbyes and returned home which was far from normal. The remaining members of the pack were not their normal selves either, or were they?


Riley slept in the spot where Duffer slept, Layla made herself more needy than usual as if that was her way of keeping me from falling too far down the rabbit hole of grief. Schnuggs vied for attention in a very quiet and gentle manner, and even Dean, the rambunctious rescue that has once again wound up back with us, was subdued and oddly well behaved. Damn it, dogs are so smart. They live on an emotional level all the time, while we struggle with our emotions when they come to the forefront. So although their behaviors seemed altered to a degree, they were embracing their emotions, they were their normal selves,


So today I will not hit the delete button. I love my little Duffer, I miss him and the life we all shared before this pandemic paralyzed every sense of normalcy, and I will honor him by embracing all the emotions I am feeling and by accepting and realizing that the only true and consistent sense of normalcy is love.


xoxo - Janine




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