Well, I knew this week would be hard, and it's only Tuesday, but it's hard. I've sobbed about fourteen times in the past four days, including this morning, about all manner of unrelated randomness, things big and small (but they felt big). I do that.
It doesn't feel like a year since Audrey passed away, but on Friday it will be exactly a year.
I remember so many things about that time, the day that it happened, the weeks before and the weeks that followed. I remember how in the car Andy said that he really didn't mind carrying her, everywhere. Even if she couldn't walk anymore, he really didn't mind carrying her anywhere she wanted to go, if only she could stay. And he would've. And so would've I. I remember that, how desperately we wanted that, how I immediately starting thinking about selling the house and moving into a ranch, so there would be no stairs. I couldn't think of anything else to do.
Clover Meadow is here on the sofa, next to me, as I write. She's curved into that doggy parenthesis I love so much, smooshed tightly between me and the patchwork pillow, for she is a smooshy kind of dog — always wanting to be pushing against you, or resting her chin on your ankle, or leaning her forehead to yours. She is heavy and cuddly, thinking nothing of sitting on my lap with her limbs hanging off, no matter that her pointy elbows are jutting into my stomach, no matter that my legs fall asleep with the weight of her on them. I don't move. Stay, girl.
Thank you for all of the kindnesses, the million sweet and gentle kindnesses, that you extended to us then and this past year, extended to us and Audrey and Clover Meadow. I think about it all the time — how, when Audrey died, we sat for hours and read the comments in the ever-darkening house, and I felt there were these tiny points of light, all over the world, each point a little wish for Audrey, for all of the lost pets, love and wishes to be well and at peace, and how the idea of that shimmering constellation comforted me then, and does still.
A couple of days later, sitting on the lawn at the zoo, listening to the Old Crow Medicine Show sing "Wagon Wheel," I laid back on the quilt and cried. The night was so soft, the song too good. When I opened my eyes, I was looking at the sky. And in the sky the clouds were swirled into wiry cowlicks of white fur — Audrey's belly, huge, right above me and filling the sky, her on her back, stretching. I grabbed Andy's hand and pointed, and for a few moments we both stared at it in awe; there was no mistaking what it looked like. Within seconds the image had changed, the clouds softening into a blur, the tufts rearranging themselves into other lost things. But the moment will stay with me forever. I can still hardly believe it really happened. But it did. I know it did. So I know she is up there.
For a long time, I could not look back at the blog, either to see the posts I wrote about everything last August, or later when I went off on that guy in the parking lot, or even before that, the older happy photos of Audrey in front of the big, huge dress; the ones where she is in the dog sweater; that funny one where she is sitting on the green chair by the window waiting for her true love, the one where she is sitting in front of the Christmas tree at night, listening for Andy. But today I looked through some really old ones, taken the weekend after September 11, 2001, just after we got her, our first puppy. We wanted to be near other people, and the ocean, so we took tiny Audrey to the beach for the first time. There, by the sea, and the rock, things felt better, as they always do. And I remember that everywhere we went that day people smiled when they saw little Audrey. She was so small and earnest. Even if you were sad, you just couldn't help but smile at a puppy. We smiled back, wanting so much to share peace. And that felt good.
I feel better.
Miss you, girl. We all do. xoxo