"Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go.
Acceptance is a small, quiet room."
--Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough
Lead with the most important facts, my high school journalism teacher used to say.
Moe bit Little Miss. On her face. A bit of unattended food that slipped through our usual safety net. Christmas Eve in the emergency room. Ten stitches, but thanks to the most competent nurse ever, she'll likely heal up with minimal scars. Not that she should have had to have been, but my daughter is a tough cookie.
Next most important fact.
Moe is dead. After a weekend of fighting with animal control, I managed to lawyer my way into the right to give him the least traumatic end we could. I've helped too many people to say that this is the best use my law degree has ever been put to, but it's definitely in the top five. We spent the last night of his life curled up on the couch, listening to the sleet hit the windows as the candles burned out. He died at the hand of our amazing vet, with Sweet Husband scratching his belly and me whispering "good boy" into his velvety ears.
And the next.
So much guilt, but maybe not of the kind you might think.
About once a day I take count of the lives I'm responsible for. Sometimes I'm surprised I don't shout out the number in my sleep the way my brother used to do when he was responsible for making sure there weren't too many of his teammates on the field in high school football.
Ten. There were ten, but now there are only nine.
We knew--all the way back from when Moe bit the Kid we knew--that this could happen again. We worked with him and with a trainer. We were hyper-vigilant. But it was always a risk. I hate what happened to Little Miss--what mother wouldn't?--but I can't honestly say I'd change a single decision I made between then and now. He was family; we had to try. My only regret is that the best I could do wasn't enough to keep him alive and her safe.
He's gone, but he's everywhere. I keep trying to pick things up--stashing the food bowls away, putting the dog bed into the washing machine. But I can't smooth away the scratches on our dining room table where he would jump up to look out the window. I can't control the way my leg reflexively twists to keep him from bolting when I open the front door. I can't push down the urge to turn around as I realize--in my car, a block away from home--that I've left dirty diapers where he could reach them in the kitchen trash.
For the first time in I don't know how long--decades, near as I can figure--I am dog-less, and indeed, completely pet-less. Bella, Bum, Becca, Tori, Moe--I'm crazy lonely for them all tonight.
We all need to heal and grow--perhaps because he knows me so well, Sweet Husband keeps saying this in different ways over and over again--but right now it's just so hard to be in a world where I don't have a dog.