Daisy inhabited a well-respected, prominent place in our family hierarchy of five dogs and five people. With a loud bark and at times, a body block, our resident matriarch managed a sense of familial harmony with 80 pounds of firm and gentle wisdom. Both humans and dogs leaned into her physically and emotionally.
I've never had such a close relationship with dog. She was the one I missed the most when I went away. Even in her last days, when she could barely walk, she would smile, move her tail and painfully rise to greet me when I came home.
And those eyes. Who needs words?
It's been two months since my sweet soulmate, Daisy, walked this earth. Well before that day came, I began anticipating the heavy sorrow that has blanketed my days. Fourteen years is a long time to be in love. We all had a hard time letting her go. Her generous physical presence was an undeniable force of balance in the lives of our family. I have been been struggling to find balance in my own and make peace with the space that remains.
In Daisy's absence I have made one hundred-plus poor daily decisions to distract, comfort and avoid my feelings. Look in my closet and you'll find a new set of workout clothes or in my fridge for evidence of a rekindled childhood love of fudgsicles. Ask me about the best shows to binge watch Netflix, I've seen a few.
Thankfully, like Daisy's presence, habits that sustain and balance me have not completely vanished. Instinctively, I have continued to work in my garden, something that Daisy also loved. I felt her presence as I planted okra seeds just after she died. Those seeds have grown and the okra is now part of the soup I'm making on this cold day.
At a loss for words, the time spent I usually spent writing in my journal transferred to longer daily walks; something Daily relished but could no longer manage. The essence of her spirit goes with me and patiently waits as I have stopped in the same place to take a picture of the trees over the pond near my house. The two-month visual compilation of the changing colors reminds me to stay awake for each precious day.
She is now the earth under my feet
In the wind that gently moved her fur
She is in me, wherever I go.
**** This poem, You Can't Have It All, by Barbara Ras from the poetry collection titled Bite Every Sorrow was part of my weekly newsletter from Maria Popova, which arrived not long after Daisy passed. I dedicate its essence to:
"the black dog,
the look that says,
if I could I would bite every sorrow until it fled".