At 1:55 a.m. I woke up. Sasha took two deep breaths. I reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. The breaths changed to gentle ones, with longer pauses between each.
Breath. Breath. Breath.
Within two minutes, she was gone. Whether as a gift from the universe, or a request from Sasha, I was awake and present for the passing of my dog. I left my hand on her shoulder and felt her body tingle through the transformation.
Since then, as I sobbed beside the body that used to house Sasha’s soul, as I woke up my husband and we sobbed together, as we broke the news to our children and close friends and sobbed again, as I write this post and sob some more, I have become aware of how unconsciously conscious I was of my dog in every moment.
I have to restrain myself from putting dog treats for her on my breakfast plate like I did every day for nine years. When I go outside, I still close the door carefully behind me so a dog that no longer lives here doesn’t get out. I fight the impulse to get ready for our morning dog walks when we would go to Bruce Pit and she would run up and down the sand dunes so fast she’d do a perfect front flip and then keep on running.
Now there is silence instead of the click of her nails on the hardwood. There is absence instead of the presence of her cute face looking up at mine. I feel a hole in our family fabric.
I am also conscious of the fact that I’m writing this on 9/11.
On this date, other families had holes blasted into their family fabric. No love-soaked gentle passing in the night for them. Their family members passed from a violent act based on hatred and a lack of compassionate acceptance. Even as I mourn, remembering 9/11 gives me perspective and helps me to find the gratitude I need to move on.
I’m grateful that for nine years I had a dog-shaped bundle of unconditional love in my life. I’m grateful that she had a gentle passing surrounded by love.
The gratitude helps me to believe that right now Sasha is in Bruce Pit running up and down the sand dunes so fast that occasionally she does a perfect front flip and then keeps on running.