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.