We who choose to surround ourselves with lives
even more temporary
than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan . . .
"The Once Again Prince"
I haven't slept well for the last several nights. I lie awake for hours, eyes burning from the tears that run down my cheeks, soaking my pillow. The house is too quiet. I listen in the dark for the gentle snoring that used to come from Rocky's bed, but there is nothing. I wake up far too early, remembering how he hated to get out of his bed in the morning, even to go outside or eat breakfast. It's the small details that are so painful to remember.
How could such a small, silly dog have filled this house so completely? How can it feel so empty with him gone? It seems like just yesterday that I was holding him, scratching him under his chin, tugging on his velvet ears.
We only had Rocky for the last three of his 12 or so years. We adopted him through San Diego Pug Rescue, an older dog to keep our other pug, Poco, company. We never knew the history of this little gypsy, never knew why he was afraid of heights, why he barked at his food and refused to play with toys, why he had issues about so many things. All we knew was that he needed us, and we needed him.
In the last year since Poco's passing, Rocky was our only pug. He seemed to enjoy his lone wolf status, becoming more playful and attached to us. And we, of course, grew more attached to him.
We had to leave him behind when we went on vacation. All we could talk about was the homecoming we'd have when we saw Rocky again. But instead of the wagging tail and the happy prancing, we found a note telling us to call the vet.
Rocky had suffered a sudden failure of his kidneys and liver. The end came in a matter of hours, and the doctor assured us that Rocky wasn't in pain. But now the pain is ours, as we feel cheated of sharing Rocky's last moments.
I come home from work to an empty house, recalling how I would find Rocky asleep in his bed, and how he seemed embarrassed to be caught sleeping on duty.
I see his favorite spot by the window where he would bask in the sunlight on lazy afternoons.
And I lie awake at night, feeling the aching void in my heart that he used to fill. There will never be another Rocky.