Yesterday I was sweeping our kitchen floor when I found myself standing still, with tears running down my cheeks. For the first time since Stella died, unexpectedly at Christmas, there were no balls of fur hiding behind the door or rolling around the floor. Now, I realise how ridiculous it is to cry about not having fluff-balls to sweep up but it was the finality of everything that got to me. That our adorable dog has gone and will never come back - that I will never again watch her spiralling tail as she charges down the stairs ahead of me, eager for her walk - that she will never again rest her head on my knee and fix me with those brown eyes while I eat, trying to convince me that she is starving. How many memories, all beautiful, and such overwhelming sadness.
I have given in completely to my emotions, my grief, over Stella's death, in a way that I may not have allowed myself to do with a person. No forcing my upper lip to stay stiff, no telling myself to "snap out of it and get a grip". I have come to see this period as just another phase of "dog therapy". Not only did her exuberant, unconditional love give energy, joy and comfort to us as a family, everyday. She is also teaching me about how grief can heal and how necessary it is for personal growth. The ten years that we shared with her were simply wonderful. I am enormously grateful for every moment, including the pain I feel now. Thank you Stella