This past week I’ve had lessons in letting go.
I said goodbye to our beloved sheltie.
I said goodbye to one of our cats.
I let my YA novel leave my hands to allow it to become what the world needs it to be.
I let go.
I let go out of love.
Stories whisper to us when to step away, that we have done our job to the best of our ability.
Pets trust us to do what is humane when the time comes, to keep them from entering the place where suffering defines their existence.
It doesn’t make loss any easier.
And when you’ve spent hours revising and revising your work while being a pet caregiver, the related behaviors remain. Long after the heart accepts the loss.
I still automatically rise at 5 to check on the dog. I dismantle the alarm, then unlock the door to let him out.
Except he’s not here.
It’s all gone: His bowls, chew toys, squeaking squirrel. His dog beds, food, medicines. Shampoo, leashes. Pill organizers. His bark, the pitter-patter of his feet. The sound of him plopping beside me. His sigh.
His beautiful, beautiful face.
But not his collar, and his green alien boy, he loved so much.
Our one cat that remains hides beneath the kitchen table, curled in a chair pushed flush to the table. What must be going through her head?
Then I remember. We would not know loss if we never loved. And to love and be loved is a gift.
And so I feed the cat, and then settle on our porch to wait for the sun.
I notice my grandson’s blue hippo in our yard, which he sits on when there is nothing better to do than sit on one’s hippo and wonder at the world.
The cement step is cold against my thighs. A hummingbird whizzes over my head.
A hint of pink peers through our trees.
Another day begins.
I hear her spring to the floor, her red tag clink against her collar, and I know she is ready.
I am, too.
She meows through the screen, and I come inside. Walk down the hallway to my writing room.
I open the door.
I open the YA document out of habit. I close it, and pat the place next to me.
Terrapin jumps up, nudges my hand.
I write out of love.
I write about a dog.