Sunday, February 28, 2010

Letting Go

In the quiet of the house, I hear the clock ticking away the minutes, see the dust and dog hair settled on the floor in the sunlight sneaking through the windows wintered with fine dirt. I know I should sweep, do some spring cleaning, but somehow, right now I can't. I hear the strong March winds, come a day or two too soon, and the chimes out in the trees, clanging and singing, a sound so familiar yet so far away. It's a reminder, a knowledge that the world is there. But it is not the same. I want to set things aright, there's a need and a desire both, but somehow I am frozen here at this table, a cup of coffee growing cold in my hand.

Life isn't fair, and death often cheats. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This time we lost. Up on the hill beneath the grass that will one day be green again lies Bruschi, at 5 1/2, so young but oh so old after 18 months of seizures and medications took their toll on his beautiful body. He is not far from Amos, from BeeBee, from Gesso. They each have a flowering tree, but Bruschi will have blueberry bushes. When we used to walk through the yard, or when I went out in July to pick the berries, he loved to join me, and he ate his share off the branches, using that wonderful hound nose of his to seek out the ripest. I know that come harvest time, five months from now, I will still cry.

John dealt with his grief with a shovel in his hand, muscles straining to remove heavy loads of dirt enough to open a hole in the earth that would envelop our 95 pound baby. It took him several hours, a lot of water, and a shooter of whiskey to get through.

I simply could not participate in that. I had held Bruschi's head in my arms while he died, and I could not look at him again, motionless and still, on the cold February ground. So for once in my life, I was thankful for a dirty house and during those digging hours, I vacuumed, scrubbed the smell of seizures off the floors, washed dog bedding, rearranged furniture, some of which had been moved over the past months in light of Bruschi's condition, cleaned bathrooms and the kitchen, cleaned the winter off the windows.

And now, the house seems so quiet. Our morning routine has changed. So much focus and energy had been spent on Bruschi, and while there is a sense of relief, there is so much strangeness and lonesomeness about the house. It seems so empty. As John says, Bruschi was such a big presence and he could not be ignored. He is missed in so many ways.

Our Abby knows the emptiness of this one-dog house, and even on this sunny Sunday, she has chosen to stay in bed, sleeping the morning light away.


  1. oh Rebecca that is so sad to hear. I'm wiping the tears away.
    It's so hard to see your loved one go, especially when they suffer an illnes and not old age and are taken away to the spirit world early.
    The only consolation I have after Zai left us early (and precious Burns before him) was that his spirit is still here with me and that Burns has come again to stay but with a different name.
    Our kindred spirits never go far from us in this universe, Bruschi will be watching over you and when his spirit is ready he will be at your side again in fur form.
    sending a warm hug xxx Annette

  2. Such beautiful writing... such a sad story.

    Why is it that we clean, women, as we move thru our large emotions? I wonder... the need for just being in motion, work, activity... the need for putting forth some effort into change... the small findings of remembrance, that spot where Bruschi would lie in the sun (I imagine), or the sofa there, under the window, where conversations and hand-holding took place... moving things means moving through, which you will - in time...

    I'm saddened deeply to hear of Bruschi's death. I missed the opportunity to meet your beautiful boy, but I've followed this story over the past few months and waited, hoping to hear good news and sending prayers and love to you all (four!) during that time... and I'll be thinking of you still in June and July, as berries ripen and young birds fly off into summer skies to start their own new journeys, just as we all must do.

    Much love to you.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about Bruschi. Cyber *hug*

  4. Rebecca, once again I'm reading with tears in my eyes. Tears for you and John, for Abby and Scout, for Bruschi and the others there with him ...
    Your beautiful words bring back the cold sting of loss I felt for our darling Gris. The first time we walked into our so empty house, I ran out into the yard and howled my grief to a changed and lonely world. Joe found me there, huddled and sobbing, and held me until I could face going inside again.
    You are so in my heart ...

  5. Rebecca - so sorry to read this. It's such a terribly hard thing to go through, and all the more tragic for his young age. Our best wishes are with you and John. I know you gave Bruschi a wonderful life while he was with you.
    - Chuck

  6. I am so, so sorry. It's awful when animals are in pain....he was so blessed to have such loving and caring parents during his life. What a terrible loss....warm, loving hugs to you...xxxx

  7. when i woke up at 7:30 that morning, i thought it was the sunlight that forced my eyes open. when i was told to call you after work, i knew something was wrong, and when you told me, i realized i mustve unconsciously known something wasnt right that morning. i still have not been able to keep the tears back. bruschi was golden, a treasure to behold, and our family was very blessed to have had the chance to know a dog like him. on the more important side though, bruschi, though he lived a short life, could have had no better a family to live with. for all the love he gave, he received it back, tenfold. you and daddy did everything you could to make his life as easy as it could have been, and for that, i know he will be eternally grateful.

  8. What a beauty of a dog. The love that you had for him is so pure and your writing is so honest and generous. I am feeling your sadness through your words. I wish you comfort and healing.

  9. I am so sorry. I too wish you comfort/healing and am sending positive thoughts your way.

  10. Rebecca, I'm so sorry for your loss...and the emptiness left behind. Though I'm sure Bruschi could not have had a better and more loving home for his short years here. You are in my thoughts and hopefully all the caring here will bring some small comfort.

    Love, Cait

  11. Reading all these beautiful comments, with tears in my eyes, I don't know what else to add. Bruschi was a wonderful spirit and all of you were privileged to have been a family for as long as he could be with us. Your telling of his story is so sad and moving. He was blessed to have caring parents. When harvest comes, don't be surprised if you feel Bruschi trailing behind you and enjoying the sunshine of a day without pain and filled with the joy of being free!

  12. oh Rebecca I am so sorry to be reading this news. I know how empty you feel right now. Beautiful memories will hopefully feel that void very soon. Thinking of you... Jaime

  13. I'm so sorry for your loss Rebecca. Warm thoughts and prayers to you as your heart breaks and begins to heal.

  14. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    I understand the pain you are feeling... and whilst you are not really alone (i feel sure Bruschi is hanging around and visits you when you think of him) I know how strange it is to contend with the physical emptiness of your surroundings... especially those special spots where our beloveds used to spend so much time in. I can still see Nimue's facial expressions as she wiggled her butt in the front passenger seat or as curled up in a certain spot on the bed.

    My sympathy and condolences...