Happy Birthday, Dieter. You would have been 18 today and although that is getting to be ridiculously old for a dog I still feel like I have to mark the occasion. It’s been almost three years. It will be on September 3rd. Three years without you.
It’s been a gut wrenching experience as if I got stuck on some manic carnival ride that has tumbled me relentlessly head over foot without any regard to causing bruises or broken bones. But the real pain came from inside as my heart rotted and my chest burst open from the rancid steam of my decomposing insides. I felt like a husk. Like a fragile porcelain doll stuffed with maggots. My nails clawing at stone trying to get a grip, to hold on to survival as the world spun wildly around me. The wind whipping my hair in my mouth causing me to choke on myself and suffocate on the hot ash that surrounds me.
Sweat ran down my back as I melted away fueled on anger, my legs pumping until the muscles seized and I lay down. I gave up, I gave in, I was not going to carry the weight any longer. I cried not for what I was letting go of, but only for the fact that I missed you and I was shedding a little more of the life we shared. There is not much left of that time together.
Then I breathed in, a deep, resurrecting breath and I was laying on beach. The sun was bright in the blue sky and the aqua waves gently rushed up on the shore around my feet. In the distance, I can squint against the brightness and see the smoky, tired volcano giving up it’s last breaths. A lot has changed in the last three years. A new job, a new home, a separation, a new relationship with myself, with life.
The pain is still there hidden deep. It threatens to burst when I think about holding schnauzer puppies. As if I were in danger of someone thrusting one into my hands. I already hold human babies like ticking bombs. The result of handing me a pup will be more fatal. The thought is ridiculous, I know, but I still imagine it. I think I would turn into a melting, weeping mess. All the pain I tried to contain in order to function as an adult these past years will rip me in half, just because someone innocently knew I liked schnauzers and thought I’d appreciate the gesture. I hope the kind gesture comes with a side of pre-paid inpatient mental health services at the best hospital in Minnesota, because I’ll probably need it.
All because that puppy will never be you again. But even as other upsetting crap has happened in my life during the last three years, I found myself not crying because of what another person said or did, but because I felt awful and you were not there to comfort me. Thank you, my little dude, for all the years of undying love and laughs.