It's been eighteen days that Ginger has been gone. How can it be only eighteen days and at the same time a hundred million years?
It's so amazing to me how a creature that never spoke a word to me can leave such a cavernous void in my home. It's so incredibly silent without her. The very first Sunday morning after she was gone was so lonely I nearly smothered. The house was just so quiet, so empty.
I have managed in the last eighteen days to look at photographs of her without crying. I have thought of her several times with a smile. I have not cried every single day. Progress? I suppose.
I feel empty though. Hollow.
I have these moments where I forget. Just fractions of a second. Last night I heard a noise on the stairs and I thought, for just a moment, "I wonder if puppy is coming up to see me?" Then I remember, so suddenly I remembered, and it all rushed back to me so painfully. This happens so often...that two second pause at the top of the stairs when I am looking for her. Looking for that little wagging tail, looking for her looking up at me, waiting for me to come down so we can have breakfast and our morning song.
Did I not mention the morning song?
So every morning for the last few years I would sing her a song while I made breakfast for her and coffee for me. She always seemed fascinated by my singing, maybe just trying to figure out why I was caterwauling at her, maybe just because she knew if she waited just a few minutes she'd get to have breakfast, but either way she was very intent on me when I sang to her. She was my girl and I was her girl and that was that.
One of her favorite songs was 9 to 5. Because of course it was. Because it was one of my favorite songs too. I maintain that no one can be terribly sad if Dolly Parton is in any way involved, even if it's a rainy Thursday morning and the Keurig is taking a bit too long.
The morning of her last day it was a rainy Thursday morning and I had to send my old work computer back. I procrastinated, as I always do when I get a new computer, because it's just such a pain to get it all set up exactly the way you need it. Never mind the fact that my old computer was literal garbage and I hadn't been able to use the keyboard in over a year. It still had the version of Air Server I needed and by God, that was just too much to give up.
That morning though, I had to send it back. I had run out of time in so many ways. It felt so terrible and the rain did not help. It was pounding, relentless. Megan had to go to class and I offered to give her a ride to the bus, partially because of the rain and partially because I just didn't want to be alone. I told her I had to go to the Fedex drop off and then I'd drop her at the bus stop. We splashed through the parking lot and while the kind lady at the counter was prepping the package, we looked around the store. Only for a moment though because it was filled with dog-related knickknacks. Fuzzy socks and little figurines. Small signs that talked about pawprints on your heart, and a lot of other things I could not manage that day. Not that day.
The radio hummed in the background, some station I didn't recognize with the Top 40 hits.
Until I tried to stop the tears in my eyes and couldn't. I was crying in the Fedex drop off and the poor lady behind the counter had no idea why.
And then? 9 to 5 started playing on the radio.
This forty year old song. Randomly. On a station that played contemporary hits.
The song I sang to my dog. My poor, sweet elderly dog who probably just wanted me to shut up and give her food.
I cried even harder.
I haven't been able to sing any songs in the last eighteen days. I don't know if I ever will again.
I do believe though, that she's somewhere safe and happy now. That she's not in pain. That she forgives me and she still loves me. I want to believe someday I'll see her again. That she's hanging with Jesus and he's got her. She can run again, and chase squirrels, and she's not sad, even though I am.
Maybe just a dream, but it gets me through the day.