Grief is weird. It takes on whatever shape it feels like and leaves you stupefied. Wandering. Longing. This morning I was thinking of Lucky. He passed in August, just 11 years after bounding into my life. It actually started with not being able to sleep at 3am after being poked in the face by our new dog Griffey. I have no idea why he woke me up but like any good mom, I got up and went outside with him. He didn’t leave the porch but stood growling at something I couldn’t see, then turned and asked to go back inside. Weird dog. He is asleep again, on the carpet next to me.
I realized that every time he flinches, or sneezes, or looks around, I am instantly filled with miserable dread. Sad anticipation of what is surely in our future. And I try to remind myself that Lucky was at least 12 years old when the tumor ruptured and baby Griffey will be with us for a long, happy time. Live in the moment, Lacey. Dwell in the past. Don’t dwell.
Sorting it out while awake before the sun, and in the wake of a terrifying hurricane, it is becoming clear to me that I haven’t yet properly mourned for Lucky. Like it isn’t real. I still feel him with me, all the time. I can hear him quietly panting in his sleep as he dreams of chasing squirrels. At any moment he is going to walk through the door, tags clicking, tail gently wagging, and curl up in his bed next to me. Snuffing quietly in my ear to make sure I’m OK.
At the hospital when Lucky died I could hardly breathe. After he was gone I went numb. For days. I don’t remember crying once we got home. I must have, but mostly I remember feeling nothing. A giant void. Interminable blackness. I canceled plans. I ignored phone calls. I remember being thankful that I didn’t have a job to go to where I would have to go about my business like I was OK .
When King died, it was sudden and horrible and I had to go to work. I didn’t even tell anyone because I didn’t want to deal with pity and well wishes. Why did I do that? Who knows. Wallowing in the darkness by myself seemed the right choice. I wasn’t thankful for the diversion but I was. With Lucky I just stayed in a constant numbness until that dissipated. I wonder what I was supposed to feel next.
And then this morning, in the solitude of 3am, it tears me open. My stomach in knots, writhing in unimaginable pain. I cry. Griffey lifts his head, offering his support but he is a baby and can’t know how I feel. I cry until my muscles lock up and I am frozen in a shameful grimace. How had I not yet cried for my Lucky. My child. My kindred spirit. He knew everything about me and still was so brave, for me, when faced with death.
It feels like a lifetime of sorrow hitting me at once. I realize it is; it is Lucky’s lifetime, a lifetime of love, commitment, happiness, sadness. A lifetime of memories. Of conversation and understanding.
-There is strong shadow where there is much light-