These last two days have been harder than I ever imagined. The Hermit buried Lady next to where he buried Annie the day before, the same place where a year ago we buried an old horse, Topper, and where this spring I buried my cat, Lilith. We're going to plant daffodils and wildflowers there.
I've never known grief like this before; I've never lost a close friend or a member of my immediate family, and I never realized how these dogs were such a big part of our family. I didn't sleep well last night either; I kept expecting to hear Lady snoring in her spot on Starflower's bed, to have her get up and go outside with me in the middle of the night. Such emptiness. Being a parent and going through loss is an added responsibility; you have to be present to guide the children through their feelings while allowing yourself to go through the range of emotions. I certainly wasn't a stoic person befitting my Scandinavian ancestry last night.
I did manage to take Togo for a walk, or being the husky that he is, he took me for a walk. As frisky as ever, he took off running on the driveway with such force that I had to let go of his leash. He headed straight for the chickens, some of which were outside the chicken run. Luckily, he did not come back with one in his mouth. I think he's been planning this for some time.
We walked up the road, across Sand Creek and into the field on the north side, with Starflower and Calvin following on their bikes. On the way back, in my clouded state of thinking, I experienced probably the worst scare of my parenting career. The kids had gone ahead on their bikes and stopped at the culverts where the creek passes under the road. Suddenly I heard screaming: "My SHOE fell in!" "His SHOE's in the water!" But to me it sounded like "JOE fell in! JOE's in the water!" Panic gripped me; had Mr. Attitude (Joe) tried to follow us out and fallen in the creek? I sprinted there faster than Togo could pull me, and peered over the edge to see a SHOE floating in the water. I nearly fell over, breathless. Then I calmly tied Togo to a sign post, crossed the road, waded into the creek, and waited patiently for the shoe to float the length of the culvert. It floated pretty well for a shoe.
Earlier in the afternoon, before I came home, Calvin and The Hermit were up on the second floor of the house nailing floor boards. Calvin looked up just in time to see a large bird soaring in from the northeast, over the creek and shrub swamp. At first he thought it was a heron, but it turned out to be a bald eagle. As they watched, it circled three times over the spot where the dogs had been buried, then it soared higher to the south and was gone. I can't help but believe that that eagle somehow was the spirit of Lady or Annie, and that belief gives me great comfort.