I stood in the kitchen that day, numb and empty. My hands moved, wiping counters, prepping food, washing dishes. The silence of the house was marred only by the ticking of the clock and my son’s breathing as he sat, iPod buds in ears, listening to his music.
Was it only a few hours before that our sweet Tutter lived and breathed? I had shed no real cathartic tears when his life left his body, as his head drooped heavy into my hands and his eyes closed. I gently held him, knowing his body was all that was left.
I was so proud of my kids that day, how they fiercely and defiantly wanted to be there, to be present for their sweet dog’s last moments. So that Tutter would know he was not alone, that he was loved and adored beyond measure. My motherly instinct to protect them from hurt was honestly understandable. But…. Oh how proud I was….That my kids, regardless of how heart-breakingly devastating it would be, knew that they both needed to be there.
We had all returned home after, and buried our family pet. And we all went our somber, separate ways for a while, to assess and try to begin to mourn.
I stood, looking about my sparkling kitchen and felt the dam break. I cried and cried. Nick stood in front of me, simply there, all that I needed at that moment while I wailed and sobbed.
I remember saying “I didn’t know it would be this hard.” And Nick nodded and came to me, arms outstretched to offer me love and comfort.
None of us knew how hard it would be.
For days, weeks and months, we healed slowly. We heard Tutter from time to time, pawing at the door, walking down the hallway, or scratching himself. I smelled him too and one time, while sitting by his grave that is tucked up under our birds-nest bush by the fish pond, I swear I felt him lean against my thigh.
Ghost Tutter was there and we celebrated that. As the hurt lessened, we began to feel lighthearted about the idea that his kind spirit lingered in our home.
Tutter, you were a good goddamn dog. You were one of the best. Not a single day goes by that we don’t think of you, mention you or just have you in our hearts. Thank you for giving us unconditional love, idiotic goofiness, tender protection and the sweetness of your devotion.