15 Jun My Main Man Stan
On Saturday I said goodbye to Stan, my beloved four legged besty. I knew the day was coming, but I was unprepared for the tsunami of grief that would overwhelm me in the days that followed. It’s not like I haven’t danced with grief before. I recognise the way she moves and how I duck and weave to avoid her embrace, retreating to a place where no one can see me. A place where I sleep and I write. I sleep to forget and to pass the time until a thin protective barrier has formed over the raw, open wound that grief inflicted as she shaved off a layer of my heart. I write to untangle the world. I use words as my flashlight to find a path through the fog.
Whether a person or a pet, losing something that you love deeply, hurts like hell and it doesn’t get any easier with practice. Maybe that’s because the pain comes from a place of having loved and been loved deeply. The loss and the love are inextricably linked. And boy, did I love my main man Stan. If it’s true that we gradually come to resemble our pets over time, then I’m in big trouble. Stan was an elderly ‘Westy’ with bad teeth, a generous girth, a penchant for chicken and a small problem with flatulence. He was his own dog … stubborn to a fault and loyal beyond measure. He was by my side (quite literally) through some of the most tumultuous years of my life. By my side as I wrote and walked and slept and cried, reminding me that I wasn’t alone as my people peeled off one by one, until it was just us. And maybe that’s part of why losing him hurts so much. Stan was the last tenuous link securing me to my ‘old’ life. A life where my identity was tethered to my role, supporting the people I love.
At the risk of sounding all woo woo, I believe that Stan held on until he knew I was good to go… settled into my new ‘rightsized’ pad and ready(ish) to embark on a new chapter of life with an identity that’s tethered to no one but me… and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Grief will continue to drip out imperceptibly, one tiny drop at a time, until one day it will subside and be replaced by the sweet memories of the quirky little dude who I was so lucky to love and be loved by.