White Dog sat with me. "Day Two is always the hardest, isn't it?" Next to the electric shock that comes the moment you remove a collar with name tag and important information; when you realize that being you love so much isn't there anymore. White Dog is right, Day Two is the hardest.
It is having one bowl that remains unfilled at breakfast. It is sorting through medicine containers to put away or return to the vet. It is removing the bowl of water and pipette, the pill grinder, the soothing coconut oil from end tables near where we held Puff to provide hospice care. It is washing and folding into the closet her blanket and sweaters. In a way it feels like erasure.
But it is more. The White Dogs understand the cycle of life but nonetheless grieve. Some, like YoYoMa and Zsofia who had very close relationships with Puff, more than others, like Pearl who really just recently met our matriarch. There is an unbalance in the pack, a rip in the continuum, that no one is quite sure how to deal with.
There is also an unspoken sense of relief that Puff''s process of detaching and leaving is over. That energy filled our house and lives for longer than we realized. It left us in need of refilling.
Suddenly it seemed OK to wrestle with wild abandon all over the living room without fear of stepping on our invalid...or was it? Several times today one White Dog or another looked over at me for approval or acceptance of an action. It made me think about how often the last days I had hushed or waved away the pack in protection of Puff...and how hard it had been for all.
I had to stop myself a few times as I got up from my desk to go check on Puff and offer water; "oh, yeah, I don't need to worry about that." And then quickly mopped escaping tears. I saw Opal sniff the bed (Puff's place now laundered and rearranged) as if trying to catch her scent. Benson thoroughly sniffed and looked around the big communal bed in the front room before tentatively settling down on it. The past month or so, this had been Puff's realm upon which to watch and participate in the WDA.
In a casual conversation on-line I was asked about my pets. "I have eleven, I mean ten in my White Dog Army," I replied. "Wow! So many you can't even keep track," was the unknowing reply. It took everything to not react badly.
We know it is a process, the WDA and I, and we understand that all happens as it must. But we find ourselves today asking for more pets and hugs and kisses on noses. We are not too busy or embarrassed to stop what we are doing to say "I love you." And more than once today I have paused to say to my Magical Girl, "Love you Puff. Don't forget."