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Finding My Way



It’s been three weeks today since I said my final goodbye to Hazer. I try real hard not to “count the days.” I really do. But it happens anyway. Things just automatically get divided into one of two categories: all the stuff I did before Hazer died and the stuff I’ve done since. Trust me, I haven’t done very much since. Certainly nothing that warrants remembering.

At the  risk of sounding maudlin I’ll admit I’m not doing great. Oh, I’m past the stage where I can’t breathe and I have to shut myself in the bathroom to muffle the sobs because it upsets Gus and Nina. But I’m shocked (and willing to say, a little bit frightened) by how often the tears still come. Suddenly out of nowhere I’ll find myself going to that dark place where I question my decision to let him go. I’ll  wonder if I did everything I could do to help him. I’ll see snapshots of him in my mind, pictures where he’s happy and healthy in one, then languishing and not at all himself in another. When my head gets really messed up I’ll reluctantly grab my cell phone and glance at the handful of photos I took of him the last two days he was alive. My eyes will linger on those pictures a few seconds, which is just long enough to convince me I did the right thing. Sometimes it’s only a matter of hours, or if I’m really lucky a day will pass before the cycle starts over again.

There are a million and one firsts. First time I finished a roll of paper towel and Hazer wasn’t there to get the empty tube. First time I made salad and Hazer wasn’t there to beg for lettuce. First time to the barn, the garden or the car without Hazer at my side. First time I unloaded groceries and didn’t come out to find Hazer rooting around in the rest of the bags in the car. First time UPS or FEDEX pulled into the drive and Hazer didn’t announce their arrival. The first Saturday my husband went in to work without a dog. Those are just a few of the firsts I’ve had to get through and every day brings more; those moments when you pause for just a fraction of a second, waiting for a dog not there. I can still barely sit down at my computer because I’m bombarded by literally thousands of photos of Hazer. I’m still at that stage where I want to look at his pictures, but I can’t. I can’t handle the fallout.

I know it will get better, but I’m afraid it will get better. I’m afraid there will come a time when the thought of Hazer or the mention of his name won’t cause my heart to break and my eyes to fill. It’s like I’m being tortured, but I don’t want the torture to stop because that would be like saying my life is OK without him. And my life will never be OK without him. But I know my heart will heal because that’s just the nature of things. Eventually all my memories of Hazer will become happy memories and the pain of his loss will lessen with time. Perhaps I’ll always remain a little wistful about Hazer, but the bulk of my sadness and grief will wash away and leave me with a lot of gorgeous photos and dozens of great stories about a big red dog who waltzed into my life and stole my heart completely.

10 responses

  1. Beautiful. It makes me miss that time of missing that hurts the most. From a distance of time there is peace, but a bit less truth, maybe. Thank you. I shared a photo of Hazer with a cattle dog lover who forever misses her Bill The Dog who was his twin, and that dog in her life as well.

    April 20, 2016 at 2:34 PM

    • Thank you. It pleases me that you could share this with someone who also understands.

      May 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

  2. Ever so heartbreaking ………..I still have not been able to open the beautiful box that is supposed to hold Kizzi’s ashes….its been four years and still it sits in the shipping box waiting for me to be able to handle opening it. I don’t know how to get there to that point…..I share your feelings and your pain. It does get better over time but I think you are correct that its never OK. Thinking of you and your big red dog.

    April 20, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    • The letting go is the worst. Remembering is easy, but letting go? Ugh. I know you’ve been there and I feel your pain too. Thanks for sharing and for the support.

      May 4, 2016 at 1:49 PM

  3. It is a great loss indeed. And I am sure for him too…

    April 20, 2016 at 2:57 PM

    • Thank you for the kind words.

      May 4, 2016 at 1:49 PM

  4. Mags

    Warm, gentle hugs.

    April 20, 2016 at 4:01 PM

  5. That is a beautiful photo of Hazer by the garden. They do come visit in dreams, Cheryl. They are never far. Peace be with you.

    April 24, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    • Thank you. I’ve had several interesting dreams with Hazer in them. I’ve found them oddly peaceful, when I’d thought that would upset me more. I can accept that and I hope it happens again. I miss him.

      May 4, 2016 at 1:52 PM

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