And he’s beautiful

Max will always be first – in my life, in my heart, in my soul.
He will always be my beautiful boy, the one I promised I would never leave.

He didn’t like to share, his toys, his food, his mom and dad.

If we were bringing home an older dog, he would not be happy about it.   A puppy, however, is a baby.   Max loved babies.   I think he’d understand that this little guy needs love and care and that Mom needs to give him that.

And he’ll be okay with it.

And so I present………..Maverick

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His name is Maverick

And he’ll be coming home in a few weeks.

My empty, aching heart spoke last week, asked a friend where she got her dog.  She gave me the name of the breeder, I called and he has a litter.
We visited the puppies on Sunday.   Little guy crawled into my lap and gave me kisses.   He fell asleep in Bear’s arms, paws wrapped around his arm like Max would do.   And then did the same to me.   It was all over for both of us, we knew he had to be ours.

Later that night we got the confirmation that he was indeed ours.   And I sobbed.    Waves of grief for Max, guilt that he might think we’re replacing him, emotions all over.   It’s been a whirlwind – puppy proofing the house, buying stuff, choosing a name – THAT was crazy! – laughing and smiling one minute, and tears welling up the next.

I opened the peanut butter jar tonight – the first time since Max left us.   A stupid jar of peanut butter had me sobbing.

I’m reading like crazy, things have changed in 10 years!   So much to remember, so much to do, reading Max’s puppy diary to remember what puppies are like, and smiling over the silly things he did – this is the fun, joyful part.   I’m planning the stories I’m going to tell Maverick about his big brother.   That’s the sad, bittersweet part.

So another journey begins.    Another walk down the road of loving a fur ball, watching him grow into a good dog and fighting, once again, to keep him healthy and happy as long as we possibly can.   Max taught me so many things.   Let’s see what Maverick has in store for us next.

And thank you, Maxer – for still taking care of Momma.

 

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When the time is right

When we decided to get a puppy, everything came together in a matter of days.   We brought Max home two weeks after deciding we needed a Golden Retriever in our lives.

Ten years, 8 months and 9 days later, Max went to the Bridge, and left a gaping hole in our lives and in my heart.    Nothing will fill that hole, there will always be an ache and a sadness in my soul, that nothing can heal completely.   I know myself – I know that I suffer mightily from every loss.

My life changed in February, when we learned Max was ill.   Our routine was disrupted, changed forever.   Since Max left us, I’ve been lost.   I wander through the days, not knowing what to do with myself.   Everything revolved around him.   There are too many minutes in a day now.

So the puppy search began.   A new friend, a new bundle of fur to love.   Not to replace Max, he will never be replaced.   He will always be my first dog, the only living creature who loved me unconditionally, other than my Bear.    I told him, before he left, that no dog will ever take his place and that was a promise I would never break.   I asked him to come back to us if he could, and if not, to send us another puppy, one like him, one who would help to make us whole again.

The Bear is suffering as much as I am, he just hides it better.   So I sent it out to the universe that we were ready.

On Tuesday I was given a name.   On Wednesday I made a phone call.   Today I got a call back.   We’re going on Sunday to visit  puppies, who are now 5 weeks old, and to let one choose us.    We’ll be bringing him home when he’s ready.

I pray Max approves.   I need to be Mom again.

 

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A month ago

But it seems like yesterday, and a lifetime, all at the same time.

I’ve learned that I have amazing friends.   I’ve learned that grief has no limits, that tears don’t stop, that the simple act of breathing is enough to set off a wave of sorrow that threatens to engulf me.

Every day is one more day without you.   Every moment is one that bring memories.   Every breath hurts.

My friends bring me gifts – wind chimes that hang on my porch, chimes that are swinging although there’s no breath of a breeze.    Pictures that make me cry.    Poems and plants, memories.

I miss you so much, Monster Boy.

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Two weeks

and I still look for you when I get home

I still find myself thinking, “I don’t need to eat all this chicken, I should save some for Max.”   I called to you to day to come get cheese.   I tell myself that if I didn’t love you so much, it wouldn’t hurt this much – and while that’s true, it doesn’t help.

So many cards, so many messages, so many people loved you too.   But you were mine.   They loved you, and you loved them, but you came home with me, and I was yours.

My beautiful boy.    Heart to heart.

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He’s home

We picked up Max’s ashes this morning.   I expected to fall completely apart – that happens on a regular basis these days.    Strangely,  I didn’t.   I cried in the car, as Bear held the bag with the two boxes and the envelope that held a lock of Max’s fur.   I had asked for a paw print.  I thought it would be a piece of paper with an ink print of his paw.  When we got home, through tears,  I opened the small box and found a frame with a plaster cast of Max’s paw   On the other side of the frame is a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem.

The day we let him go, I had pulled out a kit I bought two years ago, a kit to make a print of his paw in clay with a frame for that on one side and a place for a picture on the other.  I didn’t do a very good job, but I didn’t want to push his paw into the clay and hurt him.   It was one more thing that made me cry, among so many things that horrible day.

So here was a perfect paw print.    It felt like a gift.

I picked up the box that holds his ashes.  Bear said, “you know what’s in there,” as if he didn’t want me to take it out of the cardboard sleeve.   So I waited a few minutes, but then I had to open it.   It’s beautiful, a carved wooden box with gold inlay on the top.    Inside is a ceramic rose and a satin bag with his name embroidered.

He’s home.   There is a sense of peace in this house now.   Peace that’s been missing since the day we let him go to the Bridge.   We are almost whole again.

Tomorrow we’ll open the bag and take out a small bit of his ashes, place them in a special vial and send them to Arizona, to Locked in Art     to be made into a bead, and the bead will be part of a necklace that I will wear next to my heart every day.

My shattered heart healed a bit today.   It will take a long time for it to heal completely, but the deep despair has lifted for a minute.

My beautiful boy is home.

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One week

And my heart is still in pieces.

One week has passed and it hurts more now than it did the night you left.    I look for your sweet face, I sniff the air trying to catch your scent, I listen for you, the way you would settle onto the landing, or the little snores and squeaks you made when you were sleeping.

it’s so quiet, so desperately quiet.   People won’t leave me alone for long, I’m not sure what they think I’m gonna do but they’re surrounding me most of the time.   I need them and I’m so grateful for them.

And we’re talking puppies.   Puppies to heal us, to fill the hole you left.  I’m so torn – I want another little one to love, but I can’t replace you.   Oh, my beautiful boy,  I miss you so much.

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without you

You made me whole

Bear took the broken pieces of my heart and held them tight till they were healed.   He put me back together when all the world seemed determined to break me apart and keep me broken.

For a long time that was all I needed.   I healed.  I found peace, and joy, in his faithful, unwavering love for me.

You were the next step.  You crawled into my lap and put your head on my chest and my frozen heart, that heart that only thawed for Bear, that heart that was so wounded and guarded, opened up.   I loved you from that moment.  I knew you were mine, and I was yours.

You opened up my world.  We went on adventures – okay, so they were only car rides where we got lost and eventually found our way home, but as long as you were in the back seat, it was an adventure.   I told you stories, I sang to you – no one else would listen to me sing!  I smoothed your fur, I teased out tangles, I cut out mats, even when you didn’t like that much.  I know I wasn’t the best mom, but I tried – and I always always loved you.

There was never a night or a day that I didn’t promise you I would never leave you.   I kept that one – I was with you until the end.

And every night I told you “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and all the tomorrows……….. until there are no more.”   I didn’t want Monday to be the “no more tomorrows.”

Oh, my baby. ………..I don’t know how to be without you any more.    People keep telling me to get a puppy.  I don’t want a puppy.  I want you.  DSCN0687[1]

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The Rainbow Bridge

There’s a new angel tonight at the Bridge

Run free, my sweet boy.

Find your friends and play bitey face

And let me know you’re okay now

I will love you forever

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Worry, tears, and still praying

I fear the end is near.    My Max, my precious angel, is not acting at all like himself.   He’s restless, and panting, and even after a pain pill, he just won’t settle.   He has little interest in food, except for a slice of cheese.   I’m at a loss.  I don’t know what to do, I don’t know if he’s leaving us, or if this is just a bump in the road.

I lost it tonight.   Sobbed, curled up on the sofa, till the Bear came and held me and soothed me.  I know he’s hurting too.   He told me to stop acting like Max is already gone.  I’m trying so hard, but it hurts so much, I can see that he’s not well, that things are not right, and I don’t know how to fix it.

I’m grieving, before he’s gone.  I’m mourning his loss, and we haven’t yet lost him.   I’ve been preparing myself for this for the past year, when you have a big dog and he hits 10 years, you know that time is short.   But it wasn’t supposed to be like this.    We are the lucky ones, the miracle puppy, who beats the odds.   And maybe, if we get through this night, we’ll still be the miracle.

Pray for us.

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