Today it's 2 weeks since we had to say goodbye to our Dakota. In a lot of ways, it feels like it's been years since I've been able to kiss him and hug him. Sometimes I look at his picture and think "was that all a dream that I got to be around that beautiful creature?". In other ways, it still feels like I could walk into the room and he will be laying there. The non-stop tears have subsided, but they still break out, sometimes at the oddest times. But they've sort of been replaced by this blanket of sadness....this reality that it did happen, he is gone, and nothing will bring him back. So that's how I feel in my worst times...
In my hopeful times, I have all of the thoughts organized in my head....like puzzle pieces I've fit together. And I go "oh, yes, I get it". I get how this was his life....he wasn't taken from us, this was when and how he was supposed to leave this Earth. I get that we received the best gift getting to spend our life with him. I get that the love and affection we had for him overflowed and he felt it all the time...he felt it everyday, during holidays, when new babies were brought in the house, when company was over. All of those typical times when a pet owner would kind of shoo away their animal, we never did. Dakota never dropped down on our priority list. His spot was solid, and we realized that there was nothing that would take it. We get a lot of comfort in that. No regrets, it's a nice feeling.
The other day we found a bag of his snow white, puffy fur in the shed out back. He was just starting to blow his coat for the summer, so that was the beginning of what would have been a LOT of brushing. Little by little, we threw it over the back fence into the large woods, watched it blow away, and sent him back to nature. It gave us such a peaceful feeling that he would return to what was his natural state. That in a short time, he would be feathering the nest of a bird and the baby birds would be comforted by him. That he would be taken off to a bunny's home and be part of that. He truly was a nature dog, and it's where he belongs. Since Dakota left us, there is a bunny that appears in the backyard. He sits so close to the back door and stares in at us. We haven't seen a bunny do that in a LONG time. But here is the bunny, so close, staring in. I know in some ways I could be resentful of the bunny....like it's presence highlights Dakota's absence. But I'm not....he stares in with his large brown eyes, just like my sweet Dakota. And I feel peace. I feel as if it's a message....it's almost him saying "it's o.k., I'm fine, I'm here....where I belong".
I wish that I could retain that feeling always. But ultimately it's like those puzzle pieces fall apart, get jumbled, and that's when I fall apart. And I'll think "uh, I JUST had it". I'm not sure if I will ever truly heal from this....I don't think so. But I have to believe that this is a process....and I'm moving within it, even if I don't feel like I am.
For now though, the bottom line is just that I miss my friend. I miss his velvetty, upright ears....I miss his little mouth that looked like a teddy bear (he never drooled or showed his gums or anything....he really looked like a stuffed animal!)....I miss how warm his stomach felt if you pet it when he was all curled up in his bed....I miss the way I felt when I was around him. I loved him so deeply...and I hope that no matter where he is, he can still feel that. Some people wouldn't understand....but he honestly changed my life, and changed me as a person.
Thank you for listening to me go on so long....this site has been so wonderful...and you all are a blessing. On this two week mark, I would like to again post the words that we feel most describe our Dakota and how we are feeling:
Please don't say "I'm sorry"
'Cause we will never be
We celebrate his beauty
His spirit still runs free
We feel him in the soft breeze
That cooled his upturned face
He's now returned to Nature
It always was his place
When Winter comes, and soft snow falls
That's when we'll feel him most of all...