Goodbyes and new normals

When we walked into the yard to meet Boomer for the first time. I was so depressed that I had barely been able to get dressed to go. I'd been struggling for some time and the idea of a dog was daunting. This dog, when he came bounding out of the house with all the energy in the world, seemed particularly so.

He slammed, boxer style, into my mother and knocked her back and zoomed around the yard repeatedly. He was so skinny, his ribs prominently showing through his coat. He'd spent 12 weeks pent up in a crate for 18 hours a day, hadn't had many of his puppy shots. We knew even if we didn't keep him, he wasn't staying in that house. 

But he came bounding up the stairs, where I had chosen to hide from the excitement, overwhelmed and scared out of my mind, and he placed his paws on my shoulders and licked my face. And then he sat down in front of me. And I knew he was my dog. The way you know the sky is blue and water is wet. It was bone deep and the most comforting feeling. 

He was always smiling, that happy dog smile. He wasn't the most coordinated dog, but he threw his whole soul into the effort. He loved walks, but hated the heat. He loved to blow bubbles in water to try and get ice cubes in the summer. He would hold a tennis ball in his mouth for hours, never dropping it, so that he could be comforted by the fact he'd won it. 

He was SO much personality.  And I'm staring at the wooden box with his name on it and I cannot fathom how so much fits into such a small box. And I can't stop crying. I've lost friends and family before, people I loved dearly, but I didn't feel like this. I feel untethered. Adrift. 

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Every heartache, fight, struggle, career move- all of them have had him in my life. Boomer was my steadfast cuddle buddy, content to curl into a ball on the couch with me, head on my chest like a toddler. He was my protecter- he stood in front of me for 8 hours one evening, preventing any more injury or damage to my battered soul when my ex came into my house for the last time. His fur had more tears soaked into it then I'd like to admit. Both happy and sad. When the days of depression would get particularly bad, there was no judgment from him, just a comforting presence beside me. He loved to be pet, he would walk up to children, strangers, everyone and anyone to get a touch. One time, he tried to climb into a stroller, much to the delight of the toddler within it, and to his mom's horror. But she laughed when she realized how much of a giant baby he was. 

I have remembered so many little memories over the last two weeks. So many moments I didn't realize had such an impact. 

I miss him so much. And it's everywhere. From the way the bed seems colder because his body isn't laying beside me like a little furnace. To the way walks seem so different now. I feel lonely. And like my pain is a burden. There is nothing to do but roll through these emotions until they hurt less, but when people care about you they struggle to see you in pain. So I do my best to hide it, and they do their best to comfort.

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I'm still blessed to have Onyx. And I'm appreciating the time I have with her so much more. Each little moment. We take longer walks and we cuddle as often as we can. She's found her new space between our pillows, she lives with one paw on his shoulder. 

I'm trying to find my way back to "normal" but I'm struggling. The things I love to do have lost a bit of luster. The pain is like a paper cut, taking forever to heal, sharp and stinging and reminding you of that at the most inopportune moments. I'm trying. That's all I can do. 

I found this video the other day. And I hope you'll take more pictures and videos of your moments. Take pictures of the animals, the people, the friends that you love. Build a memory bank of wonders and moments. 

This was one of the happiest memories.