Sunday, February 28, 2010
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.