Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Time To Remember

It's eleven years today that I lost my husband to a traffic accident. This is him with our last dog Jesse, the two of them giving me accusing looks as they often did. In a succession of furry children, turns were taken as to who the current one "belonged" to. It was my turn again when Jesse came along, and since I wasn't working anymore, I was indeed the one spending the most time with her. Yet as you can see, she was always "daddy's little girl" whenever he was around.

He was the trainer, the disciplinarian always, all of our dogs generally ignoring me until they hit about 3 years old and then obeying grudgingly. Unless of course, he was ignoring them at which point they'd come and bug me. Allen was fond of telling me I needed to remember that I was the master and to quit trying to reason with them. Jesse seemed to bring out this problem more than any dog we'd had. And she was the very definition of what being dogged means. I couldn't get up to walk across the room without her leaping up to follow me. Couldn't shut her out of my studio if I was in there - she'd be whining and howling at the door. Couldn't go outside without her - same treatment. And yet for all our togetherness, she'd desert me instantly when Allen was around, and played the selective hearing game with me. She could be such an irritation and a bother over the course of the day. I hadn't been ready for another dog ("his" dog, Megan, was still around at the time - that's them on the right throwing more accusing looks, why do you hate us so much? We're so cute!). But Allen insisted I needed one.

And then I lost him, and I started thinking of the dog as my blessing and my curse. So stubborn, taxing my patience at every turn, a responsibility I wasn't sure I could handle by myself, still the clinging shadow, perhaps even more so. But also, loyal and there and nose in my face whenever I found myself overcome with grief and tears. She gave me a schedule to keep, a warm body to hold on to, company whether I wanted it or not. I know she was a big part of what got me through the worst of the days. In retrospect, I can see that in those first few years on my own, I clung just as much to that dog as she'd clung to me all those years when it drove me nuts. She didn't seem to mind. And the fact that Allen thought I needed her seems prescient.

Now they're both gone, Jesse for almost three years, and I find myself in no hurry to replace either one of them. Well, really neither one can be replaced as such. And if there is a heaven, I like to think the two of them are together. Spare a pleasant thought for companions of every kind today.


Felicity said...

Such a beautiful post Sheila.

Connie Rose said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Sheila. And what a beautiful post, lovely words and thoughts. Hugs to you.

RHONDA said...

Beautifully expressed, Sheila. You certainly have a gift for writing. I know how difficult anniversaries can be, and I'm thinking of you.

June said...

You have been in a pensive, thoughtful mood these last few days. It's perhaps good to be able, at last, to feel openly. Hugs from me, too.

The Happy Apple said...

Ooooo Sheila, that's a very moving post. Be of good cheer if you can, and mega hug from Leamington Spa xx