I'm looking out a this beautiful ocean today. The sky is an unbelievably blue dome and the sun refracts light onto the green expanse of sea. I take a deep breath. The breeze caresses my face, the surf rolling gently in. Goodbye TigerLily.
I've been dreading this beach trip since January 29. TigerLily, our beautiful, wonderful, endlessly playful twelve-and-a-half year old dachshund, died in her sleep in the early hours of that wretched, wretched day.
The amount of tears we cried shocked me, unnerved me. And the irony? We have another dachshund who is SIXTEEN. Over 111 in dog years. Bayleigh hobbles; she sleeps mostly, she is bony and myopic and deaf. And maybe I wished for her to cross that rainbow bridge to end her misery. But death swept into our house and took the cuddly adorable perennial puppy of a dog instead.
At first we couldn't believe it. She had been so lively. Granted, she'd turned into a finicky eater and some days couldn't keep her meal down. The day before she died, we decided to take her to the vet if she wasn't better. How we wish we had taken her sooner!
But as days have slowly crawled by, her death seemed inevitable. The truth, cold and hard, is that everyone has a death day. She lived eighty-seven dog years, and was deeply loved. Our family has grown closer in our grief, contacting each other daily to discuss Tiger and her sister Bayleigh.
With TigerLily gone, the centenarian seems to have revived with our sudden attention to her. There is a certain beauty with age, and we value her life deeply.
But I still miss my precious puppy, and I've found a way to cope. Whenever I think of her, I picture her in my arms, happily licking my face and wagging her tail. I'm playing with her impossibly soft floppy ears, and I'm happy.
It's easy to remember that wonderful feeling, and it's getting easier. She loved me, she loved us all. She's in puppy heaven and when I have my death day, I know she'll be in my arms again. Meanwhile, I hold tight to Rumi's words, "Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form." And this gorgeous beach day just might be one of those forms.
Photo credits: Chris Zokan