Sunday, October 2, 2011

Inez was here

On Friday we lost our best thing: Our beautiful sweet soul Inez, who showed up on our porch seven years ago and essentially made us a family.

The loss was sudden and unspeakably painful. We had her, and then we didn't. Her absence leaves a terrible emptiness in this house that we're not yet ready to fill with our memories. We know those memories will come. They come already, but they bring with them such piercing heartache that we push them away. Later. Later.

For now we stumble through the hours, challenged to tackle each of those first things: The first morning waking up with her gone, the first step into the kitchen where she took her breakfast, the first entry into the living room where she sneaked onto the sofa strictly forbidden to her. The first time sitting on the family-room couch -- her couch -- and the first time realizing it still smells of her body. The first time clearing away her food bowls and toys. The first sighting of a collection of her hair on the floor, or on a shirt from the last time she slept on our laps. The first time we let ourselves look at her photos. Say her name.

It's a little like stepping into a very cold ocean. You go in to your ankles -- so cold -- so you step back out again. Then you resolutely go back, stand in the icy undulating water for a few moments so your skin can get used to the temperature. When you're ready, you go to the knees, stand, and adapt. Then to the waist -- this may be the hardest stage, when you can start to feel that tingling on your back, and you resist, stretching taller and holding your elbows out, tempted to think this is all I can bear. But you wait, settling in as your skin gets adjusted. Ready to go a little further. Up to the middle back, the shoulders, the neck. And finally, boldly, you duck your head under the water until you're brave enough to open your eyes, then swim.

Right now we're in to our baby toes. Maybe today or tomorrow, we'll wade.

We miss you, little girl. Thank you for finding us.


Rosemary said...

Discovering how deeply integrated those unconscious routines are is one of the hardest things about losing a pet, I think. I can't tell you how many times I could have sworn I heard our old cat Lucy running up the stairs from the basement like she always did in the mornings, or thought I saw her out of the corner of my eye. It's so painful. My heart goes out to both you and John.

tracy said...

This is one of the most achingly beautiful tributes to a pet I've ever read, CP. I've been thinking of you all weekend since I heard the news, and half dreading what tear-jerking gorgeousness you might write here about Inez. Thanks for sharing your grief and love.

Adriane Harrison said...

Much love to you and John. Your wading metaphor is beautiful and so apt. I had my cat Peanut for 19 years. To this day I weep when I see her on our family videos or think about her for more than a minute. It's so hard. Condolences, really truly.

Berdawn said...

So sorry for you loss. Your post is wonderful testament to your furry loved one.

Christy said...

I just wanted to check in and thank all of you for your support and lovely words. The grief is easing a bit with each passing day, and we're grateful for the friendship of so many amazing people who send both sympathy and empathy. Heaps of thanks to you all.

leslie said...

Such a perfect photo of sweet Inez, and such a lovely tribute.