It’s been 5 weeks since my dog Molly passed away. By now you would think I would be past the raw emotion of her death and for the most part I am. But a day has not passed where I have not had at least one moment of sadness, one instant of loneliness upon her remembrance. One such moment happened last night.
It was a spectacularly gorgeous night, the air was clean, a hint of a breeze stirring in my backyard, the temperature a perfect 76 degrees, like a summer day in Maine. Pam and I were determined to spend the entire evening on the deck, despite the intolerable shrieking of our neighbors’ kids and the howl of lawnmowers from neighbors who always decide to mow their lawns at night just about the time we decide to eat dinner outside. Pam hooked up my cool wireless speaker system and dialed up the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora and soon, we were competing with the annoying soundtrack of suburbia with one of our own, Sinatra, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, it was no contest! I grilled up some veggies and beef sausages, Pam made some macaroni and cheese and some fresh sweet tea, and soon we were having an amazing night.
After dinner, we sat in our newly purchased recliner chairs, which are every bit as cool and comfortable as they sound, surrounded by beautiful hibiscus plants and Pam’s herb garden. The peacefulness of the moment had all but made me forget about my ailing shoulder. I began to watch the newly filled bird feeder hanging from the tree in the middle of the back yard. There were little wrens and sparrows, competing with rude blue jays, and majestic cardinals. At the base of the tree, an adorable chipmunk was scurrying around for the leftovers.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Molly came to mind. I imagined her laying in her spot in the yard, that one place where she could keep an eye on us on the deck while keeping a sharp eye out down the driveway into the front yard. It was her favorite place, so much so, she had worn a bare spot there. I glanced over at the spot and noticed it was green and healthy, no longer worn and brown as if finally even the back yard, her kingdom, had forgotten her. Maybe it was the pain meds, but in that moment a wave of sadness came over me, powerful and intense. What the hell is wrong with me, I thought. For a minute I thought I was going to start crying, so I got up from my chair, made some excuse for needing to watch the end of the second round of the US Open or something and beat a hasty retreat. Once inside, I quickly recovered in time to watch Phil Mickelson sink a birdee put on 18.
It’s the strangest thing, what the loss of this dog has done to me. About most things I am a logical realist, sentimentality not being something most people would associate with me. But when it comes to Molly, the littlest thing can bring on the most powerful emotions, turning me into a sentimental mess. At some point I’m sure it will all pass, and the memories of Molly will bring only happiness and laughter. But it hasn’t happened yet.