I just can’t believe you are gone. No warning. Just a horrific few minutes last Thursday morning then silence. Except for our cries of disbelief and anguish.
The depth of grief we feel is all consuming. I won’t talk about my three men and their grief. It’s raw and visible and for them private. Matthew in particular is at sea with his emotions and loss. I will be keeping a very close eye on him. We all are. You were so many things to all of us but you were everything to him.
Today I will just share how I feel.
The mere thought of you and my face crumples and I cry. Big, ugly gasping sobs. I am so tired but can’t sleep. You are everywhere but you are not.
From the minute I woke up every day for over 7 years you were there. I could always hear you get off your bed outside my bathroom window as I opened the glass door to my shower. Must have been the signal for you that the day was about to get started. By the time I walked into the kitchen you were waiting outside the window. Sometimes with a stretch but always with a good morning wagging of your tail and your ears standing to attention. I would always, always say “Good Morning baby.” Out loud. I would then move to the lounge to have my breakfast and I would again hear you rest on the stones outside the lounge room window. Not much of an inside dog, by your choice, but you would be as close to where I was as possible.
I would get ready for the day and either take Matthew to school and come back home on my days off, or head off to work. On my days off you would wait patiently by the front gate for my return in 15 minutes. How did you know? Did my wet hair give me away? You would greet me with a low growl and talk to me that way as you escorted me back down the driveway. I would ask you if you would come and “do the washing with me?” You would give a knowing “skip” and walk me to the clothesline and lay at my feet. You knew after I had hung the washing out that a big belly rub would come your way. On my work days you would look at me a little sulkily and lay on your bed on the front porch as if to say “I’m not thrilled about this but I will be here when you get back!” When I returned home on those days you had lots to tell me. You would “talk” to me all the way down the driveway, shaking your head at the same time.
We all had our “treats” that we shared with you. I was your “cheese” girl. I would ask you if you would like some cheese and give you a slice asking you to be gentle. You took it from me with your big teeth as if my hand was made of glass. Such tenderness.
You were my comfort and companion when I was recovering from surgery. Andrew would encourage me to sit outside in the sun to keep my spirits up. You would lay at my feet and keep me company. You were the keeper of my darkest thoughts. In actual fact you knew I was sick before I did. For the two weeks leading up to my breast cancer diagnosis you were unusually attached to me. More loving if that’s possible, and just following me everywhere. Watching me. Leaning on me. I was your “Mum” so I was generally your favourite when you were scared or sick. So the boys, noticing your behaviour towards me, were worried you were sickening for something. I wonder what it was that you could sense.
When my Dad died you caught my tears in your mane of black fur. You would rest your paw on my lap and lay your face on my knee. Your big brown eyes looking up at me in sympathy. Unlike humans you never tried to distract me from my grief. You helped me just by being there and letting me be. You were my friend in my greatest time of need. You gave me unconditional love.
You loved us all more than you loved yourself. You knew all of our habits, nuances and sensed any mood change in an instant.
You were so sensitive that we could not raise our voices at each other. Many an argument was diffused between the boys because they would have to yell at each other in a “quiet, sing song” type voice. Quite funny to listen to.
You hated loud noises, especially thunder. You hated Andrew’s recliner chair. It made a clicking noise when you put the foot rest up and it just about sent you through the roof. In your last week we pushed that chair out of view and you were very happy about that. Never mind we were all stiff and sore laying on the floor due to being one chair down!!
You were never an inside dog as I said, your choice not ours. However that last week as you recovered from your surgery we bought a new “inside” bed. We thought this was the time to introduce sleeping inside before winter came around. We talked about how you would like to lay in front of the fire as the nights grew colder. Once we enticed you inside, at around 730pm when the house was quieter, you completely relaxed. We were thrilled. You snored, leant against whoever was laying closest to you and you were really settled. When we all went to bed you didn’t move until between 4am and 6am. Then you would come to the side of our bed, you were very fair and took turns in who you woke up, and with a nudge of your nose and the wagging of your tail banging against the wall you let us know that you needed to go outside. You were such a good girl. I feel that last week was your gift to us. We were lavished with your love and you with ours more so than usual if that’s possible just by having you inside.
The grief of losing you is like no other and I have had some experience in that department unfortunately. What we had with you was unconditional love in its purest form without any baggage that human relationships carry. You helped my mental health and general wellbeing. Seven years of tiny moments that grew into something wonderful.
Izzy you have taken a big withdrawal from my emotional bank. It’s an account that hasn’t had a lot of deposits of late and I feel low and defeated. I want to sell the house, buy another dog, never get another dog, not go outside in our lovely garden, throw your beds away, keep your beds. This is grief. This is how you feel when a best friend dies. And she has.
You are everywhere but you are not. I miss you so very much.
RIP Izzy 20.8.2009 – 13.4.2017
Love Mum xx
** Editor’s note
Izzy was a beautiful German shepherd who had minor surgery Saturday, 8th April 2017 for a stick injury to her mouth. She recovered completely from that surgery but that was the reason she was kept inside that last week. On Thursday, 13th April 2017 she died from a brain aneurysm – completely unrelated to the surgery. A ticking time bomb she had probably had her whole life.