I was ready for my own sadness; my dog had been old for a long time. But I was wholly unprepared for Mary’s grief. And so I was surprised to be talking to her and find her sobbing. Or walk into a room and there she is, tears all down her face. It seems so obvious now, of course, sitting here writing this. Latte was my dog for 14 years, but she was Mary’s as well for the last 4.
Love starts the way stories do — it has to feel both surprising and inevitable.
The thing about grief is that it’s so boring. Her dish on the counter. Her bed in the front room. No toenails on the floorboards. No single summoning bark from the deck. She woke every morning at 6 a.m. Now I bolt up at 7 with a terrible restfulness. How did I sleep through her hour again?
We marry and we think, Our life. Our life starts now. In this moment. But that’s madness. It has been intersecting all along. Tumbling and jumbled so I can’t figure out whose damn socks these are. Mine? Are the ones with three stripes mine? We get the comfort of someone else as a witness. And the horror of someone else as a witness.
Exponential grief. Yours and mine multiplying forever.
I am so fucking sad.
But it’s easier to comfort her than to comfort myself. To tell those stories of the wild dog who hopped into tree branches, caught gleaming fish in the river, never learned to leave porcupines alone.
You share grief and its opposite. You share all of it. The way he lifted her body up by the paws and I wanted to cry out, but she was gone. What I knew of her was no longer bound by her steadily crippling legs.
We get all these things. Those last steady breaths in the sunlight and my wife crying because she wasn’t with me at the end. This weekend, we all of us went to the door and nearly called for her. Too cold for a dog to be outside long. Too cold. Where is she? Where?
The hours don’t mean what they used to mean.
I married you to all of this. I married myself to it as well. Sorrow and glow.
2 thoughts on “Marriage is what brings us together today”
blessings to you all in such a difficult time.
I am so sorry for your grief and loss. Your story made me cry and think of when I am going to have put my Maddy girl into deep slumber. She is 11 and has been with us as long as Big Daddy and I have been married and has grown up with out grand-daughter, they are the same age.
Maddy always meets you with a leaf, a stick or toy in her mouth and she squeals and wiggles when you come in the door or yard. She is not a little girl about 75 lbs, but as gentle as they come and loves all children.
I truly understand Mary’s grief and yours as well, they are our children not just an animal or a furry friend.
They are Family.