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  • Lotus Magazine MC

yours truly, mary

I was drawing stick figures in the chilled backseat window of my mom’s toyota rav4 when she said to me: “I have a surprise for you when we get home.”

Little did I know that my life would be changed from that point on. I would soon realize this surprise was not a new monster high doll or the rainbow loom set I had my eyes on. We got home and I was greeted while walking through the back door to a small ball of amber and black fur. I could still see even from far away how one of his ears stood right up while the other was flopped over. I was so overwhelmed with pure happiness and excitement that there was nothing else I could do but scream to the top of my eight-year-old lungs. I was finally seeing a rainbow after a year of gloomy darkness. It felt like when that first warm day comes after a long winter, when everyone is outside smiling and basking in the sun. Before this day, within a year we had two puppies at different occasions. Each died at three months due to illnesses. I thought this must’ve been a sign that my family should not have a dog, and even with all the excitement that was coursing through my body when I saw him, I had my reservations.

My parents named him Bacchus, after the Roman god of wine and parties, although I would eventually learn that he was only social around my family. He was a long haired German Shepherd with big paws that at first he tripped over, but now the print of one sits in a tablet of clay covered in dust on the mantle of the fireplace, his favorite place to lay and listen to us talk about our days with the backtracking strums of Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac.

Bacchus died in the early morning hours of July 7th this past summer. He was three weeks from his eleventh birthday.

I am grateful that I haven’t experienced much loss of loved ones in my life. This was also what has made the loss of my dog so hard. It is so hard to not feel crazy about grieving in the first place, but when you’re grieving the loss of an animal, it makes the process so much more confusing. I hesitate to even explain how I am feeling because of the fear of judgment. I often catch myself thinking, “it’s been four months, let it go.”

The grief sets in randomly, it comes in waves that I cannot ignore like when you get a bad case of the hiccups and even holding your breath can’t stop the repeating motion. The other day I wore a jacket I used to wear when I took him on walks around the neighborhood. Then that got me thinking about how it is now my first autumn without him in eleven years.

Bacchus was my lucky charm. He was my best friend. I sit here and write this with tears on my cheeks and he's not there to lick them off anymore. He listened and knew me from the inside out.

When he passed, he laid beside my pool after taking his last swim and went to sleep forever. I still find fur sitting in every corner of my house, I just want him to come back. There's no other way to put it. I just so desperately want him to walk up the stairs and down the hallway into my room in the attic of my parents house and sleep at the foot of my bed. Somehow he knew exactly when he needed to be by my side.


Yours Truly,

Mary

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