Two years ago…

Today, two years ago, you picked us 🙂  That’s what you really celebrate when you adopt a dog…who cares how old they really are.  We celebrate the day you changed our lives, and we changed  yours.

I can’t possibly express how much that rainy, cold Monday changed our lives.  I tried to tell you about it in the three letters I wrote to you (Here, here and last but certainly not least, here).

When I wrote those posts, I was caught breathless by the support from our readers (I say ‘ours’ because where would I be without you, boy??)  Everyone, and I mean everyone, said such kind, thoughtful things.  Some understood how I was feeling, some wished and hoped they never did.  One particular reader quoted a play/film called Rabbit Hole (which I have yet to see), but it really resonated with me.  In a nut shell (here’s the comment), a mom asks her mother about the loss of a child, and if it ever goes away (the feeling).  She hesitates, and says it doesn’t but that it does get easier, “The weight of it, I guess. At some point it becomes bearable. It turns into something you can crawl out from under, and carry around — like a brick in your pocket.”

The day I read that, I couldn’t wait for it go get bearable.  But you know something?  It is now.  I’m tearing writing this buddy, but it is.  I promise you.  Gosh I miss you so much.  Little things, like the other day when I was petting Holly and using her as a pillow… it wasn’t you.  Her fur was different, longer, a bit courser.  It’s strange the things that stick out.  It was a quick thought at the time.  My heart skipped a little beat, a pang maybe.  But then it’s gone.

My silky, boney-butt pillow

I certainly don’t carry a brick around, but I wear you on my heart (pretty close to it).  And just like the mom in Rabbit Hole, I don’t really want to forget, because your memory is all I have now.  We’re hangin’ in there buddy.  Brian is still tempted to keep every foster that comes to our home, though he has the ‘comparing to Knox’ syndrome too.  He used to be quick to offer you a permanent buddy, but it was to compliment you… not replace.  Hopefully we’re healed of all that soon.  People say you can never replace your Heart Dog, you just learn to love another.  I’m anxiously awaiting that time.

Until then, you can be my brick… and I’m totally okay with that.

Love you buddy.

You nursing me back to health after that terrible bug I caught in Peru– you didn’t leave my side for 2 weeks. Thanks for being an excellent nurse.

Oh, and here’s the comment– I figured I’d leave it here for you 🙂

TwoKittiesOnePittie on March 2, 2012 at 11:54 am said:

What a gorgeous gift and beautiful song! This makes me thing of a line from the play/film, Rabbit Hole, where a mother and daughter are discussing what it’s like to lose a child, and the following scene ensues (it’s long, but bear with me!):

Becca (Nicole Kidman) has been numb with grief since Danny, her 4-year-old, was killed by a car. Now, eight months later, her mother, Nat (Dianne Wiest) — whose son, Becca’s brother, died at 30 — is helping Becca to put away, finally, the little boy’s things.

Becca and Nat carry the milk crates of Danny’s stuff down to the basement, and put them in the corner with a few other things Becca has put aside.

Becca stands there, taking it in. Danny’s been reduced to a small corner of stuff in the basement. She lets out a breath, then turns to her mother.

BECCA: Does it ever go away?

NAT: What.

BECCA: This feeling.

They lock eyes. Nat can see she actually wants an answer. Maybe for the first time ever.

NAT: No. I don’t think it does. Not for me, it hasn’t. And that’s goin’ on 11 years.

(Beat)

It changes, though.

BECCA: How?

NAt: I don’t know. The weight of it, I guess. At some point it becomes bearable. It turns into something you can crawl out from under, and carry around — like a brick in your pocket. And you forget it every once in a while, but then you reach in for whatever reason and there it is: “Oh, right. That.” Which can be awful. But not all the time. Sometimes it’s kinda … not that you like it exactly, but it’s what you have instead of your son, so you don’t wanna let go of it either. So you carry it around. And it doesn’t go away, which is …

BECCA: What.

NAT: Fine … actually.

Dear Knox, Part II: The Journey

Dear Knox,

You were a smart boy, picking us.  Just like we were a smart couple, picking you.  After bringing you home, you really taught us what it was to learn the meaning of ‘responsible’.  We grew up because of you.   We got you through a nasty case of demodex mange that despite keeping much of your hair, you had a lot of trouble getting rid of.

Playing with your buddy, Foster (and your mangey coat!)

You had countless belly troubles, and oh yea, some of the worse separation anxiety anyone had ever seen (let alone us, who knew nothing about it).  It was about six months of consistency (5 dog beds, 2 crates and a bazillion kongs later) that finally made you realize we would never really leave you, not for long anyway.  It was torture hearing you yelp, cry and scream for us when we left for work day after day; but we were SO proud of you for finally understanding that we’d be back for you.  Always, bud.  ALWAYS.

And fun, there was so much fun!  You, my Baltimore-city-picked-up-running-the-streets-of-North-Ave Boy, got to experience the country!  And boy did it suit you!  I think your most favorite place in the world is the lake.  You’ve been both summers and you LOVE it there.  You hunt for sticks most of the day (even mastering the art of snorkeling), and sun yourself on the dock in the afternoon.

snorkeling for sticks

You sleep so well there since you don’t stop from sunrise to sunset.  I’ve been visiting the lake since I was only a few years old, but it has a special meaning to me now.  I think I’ll always have an easy time finding you there.

You’ve traveled to Rhode Island, New York, St. Michael’s (MD), The Outer Banks, D.C., and a ton of local day trips to hike and swim.  I loved how well you did, everywhere.  If you were with us, all was good in your world.  My easy boy.

Running with your buddy, Tyson in OBX

And Change minds?  Hell Yes you did.  Just within out close circle of family and friends, we got the “YOU got a WHAT?!?!” when we brought you home… but look at the love in these faces now… these people ADORE you now. 

And of course, the fostering.  It was because of your needs at first.  It was a debt, actually.  We needed so much help with the mange and anxiety and everything else.  I told ‘T’ (that sweet gal that runs MABB and basically saved your life a bazillion times since this mama knew nothing and T always had the answer), that once Knox was settled in, we’d give it a whirl.  After all we certainly owed her (let’s pretend I didn’t email her every other day with ridiculous questions…).  Well, who would have guessed, you were the best damn foster brother that ever could have existed.  You were playful with the puppies and let them walk all over you, you gave space to those who needed time to warm up, and you comforted those who were unsure at first, about many different things (like steps and crates and city buses).  I never did capture in a photo, but both Eve and Lola looked at you CONSTANTLY for reassurance.  It was amazing how calm cool and collected you were knowing that you had your lil girls to look out for.  And that wild Buddha man, what a personality!  But you helped him contain himself when appropriate, and you really helped him get over his separation anxiety a lot faster than you did (and can you believe his was WORSE?!)  His new mama owes you a big thank you for that one!

You’re weekends were filled with ‘stooping’ and ball at the park,

Enjoying the grass after some nice fetch at the park - your favorite way to start a Saturday morning

followed by evenings of snuggling up close.

What a trip you had buddy… this journey through life was anything but ordinary.  They guessed you were born sometime in August 2009, but we know your life didn’t really start until May 17th, 2010.  You really lived it up and when it finally came time to lay you to rest, it brought me peace to know we gave you every ounce of love, affection, and experience we could.

I hope your enjoying sun, grass and endless tennis balls and bully sticks right now… I love you sweet boy.  Tomorrow, bud, I’ll tell you all about the Legacy you’ve left behind…