Jennifer left us on Wednesday evening. Suddenly, and without warning she was gone. The house, though still occupied by 5 adults, 2 children, 2 cats, and a 3-legged beagle, feels empty. Hollow. As if the pivotal piece of a magnificent puzzle is missing.
I can't help but feel like a complete idiot for blogging about the loss of my family dog. How profound an effect it has had on me, my brother, most of all my mom, who has a cavity in her chest where her heart once was. Empty. Aching. Threatening to hurt for the whole of her existence. Jennifer was a dog, not a human. Not a child or a parent or a sibling. A pet. Four legs, shedding fur, stinky breath.
Except she wasn't. She was as much a member of our tribe as any of us. Another of my mother's children. My dog-sister. And I ache as though that is exactly what I lost. A sister. A best friend. Gnarly breath and all.
I'm sure the ache of her absence will eventually dull, and our hearts will heal. There will be a new puppy who will fill the space that Jennifer once occupied, her barks echoing through the now silent halls, her nails clicking on the hardwood, her nose wetting our faces. She will fill our home, and our hearts, without ever threatening to replace Jennifer in our memory. Instead, she will serve as a constant reminder that time heals all wounds, that love carries on, and that pets hold a place in our lives of immeasurable value.
I love you, Jennifer.
I'll remember you always.