Saturday, December 31, 2011
First of all, thanks to all my readers who offered support yesterday. My god, what a day. I don't have a lot of experience with mourning, mercifully, and let me tell you, yesterday was brutal.
I'll spare you the details, except to say that everything went smoothly and as planned.
I cried on and off all day, but the real enormity of what had occurred didn't hit me until last night as I sat talking with Dave before dinner. I realized that not only am I mourning the dogs, but also my own sense of purpose. For nearly this entire year, much of my time has been taken up with planning for the dogs' move, shuttling them to veterinary appointments in the states, preparing to have them shipped to England, anticipating their arrival and finally, once they were here, caring for them. The dogs have been my job.
Dave certainly helped, but he had his teaching and other work-related obligations to distract him. Even he would agree I took the lead on dog care and planning.
Now, obviously, all of that is over. I'm thankful for the cleaner house (I spent most of yesterday afternoon cleaning -- vacuuming, washing the floors, doing laundry) but I'm left with a sense of emptiness and uncertainty. What do I do now?
I have never lived without an animal. Now here I am, animalless. (Or is it animal-less?)
Oddly, I've found some comfort in the Bill Bryson book I'm currently reading. He talks about life on Earth, how it arose and its incredible diversity. Did you know that something like 99 percent of all the species that ever existed are already extinct? Life just keeps growing and evolving all around us -- we die, the substances of our bodies become other things or organisms, and we're reborn again. In the vastness of time, our individual lives are so short. Ernie and Ruby have moved on in the cycle, but I feel like they are still all around me, part of the fecundity of the world.
(Photo: Moss on a telephone exchange box in Maida Vale, yesterday afternoon. England is a very mossy place, and I'm often impressed with how diligently it grows in the most unlikely locations.)