Grief + Loss {family}

Two weeks ago, I shared my eulogy about my beloved Mason. I am still struggling to come to terms with him not being here. I still expect him to be here when I walk in the door, to see his head pop up, to feed him dinner, to wake up next to him. Grief is funny. My brother assures me that it takes 6 months to lessen. It just seems like an eternity because the loss is still so palpable. This dog was legendary.

I'm still trying to slowly put things away. Last week, I delivered the unused open dry dog food to a shelter. They offered to let me snuggle some puppies, but I'm just not ready yet. Plus I'm not sure I trust myself to not bring one home to try to fill this empty spot...

I am slowly retelling the story--to friends and family. It took a week to talk about it with my cousin Brett (who brought home Mason's sister Penelope) it was the first time I talked about it in detail...thankfully he understood.

I washed his blanket, and I moved his dog bed from next to our bed to the other side of our bedroom. Eventually I'll figure out what to do with it. Today is just not that day. I put away his bowls. I still haven't washed his nose drags off the glass at the back door. I'll do that soon. Maybe.

Today, I brought home Mason's ashes. They're still in the bag. I was surprised that they came in a beautiful wooden box.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my neighbor and she asked if Mason had come to visit...and I replied that he had not. And later in the afternoon, I picked up the boys from school and noticed we had a box at our front door. When I opened it, I was overcome with grief--but it felt so good.

The attached card read: "What we have enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we deeply love becomes a part of us." Helen Keller --Um, wow. Isn't that the truth?!

I had forgotten that the day after we lost Mason, we happened to see a Weimaraner in the car pick up line at school. I'd never seen a Weimaraner there before and haven't since. It was a reassuring sighting, and I was happy the kids were able to see that dog too. It felt like Mason was visiting. Then to come home to this box, with this beautiful artwork--I don't think I've ever hung up artwork so quickly! I had moved Mason's bed and thought to myself I wanted to hang a picture there...this is so perfect in that spot!

The artwork is by Juniper Avery Sea Glass. Isn't it beautiful?!

Special thanks to all the love. It definitely has touched my heart. And I know that over time, I will feel better.  I've already been feeling so much better...I hate not having a dog here. And I know that when the time is right, the right dog will find us. Hopefully, soon.

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Losing Your Best Friend {Losing the Greatest Gift}

A little over twelve years ago, what now feels like a lifetime ago, my recently graduated roommate Leslie and I decided to get a puppy. In an unexpected twist of fate, my mother called {long before text messages and the iPhone} and told me that over Memorial Day weekend my cousin Brett brought home a beautiful Weimaraner puppy, she had siblings and that we should get one. I guess we took a leap of faith, contacted the breeder, and arranged to travel to Long Island, NY to pick up our puppy.

Yesterday, after months of decline, we ultimately decided we could no longer allow our loyal Mason to suffer. It's heartbreaking.  Today was the first day of my "adult" life without Mason, it feels incomprehensible. 

Puppy Mason was really a misfit. A maniac. He ate 18 dinner rolls once. Computer cords. A digital camera (back when they first came out and were really expensive!) Even a plate of hamburgers on a kitchen counter--that's when he learned to always check the kitchen counters. He once accidentally broke my nose when he excitedly jumped up and hit his head into my face. 

Leslie and I knew we had a rambunctious Weimaraner on our hands, so we enrolled him in a training class (mind you I was a Catholic school teacher, and we were just starting out!) and I think the instructors always had this glazed over "great, a Weimaraner" (not said in a positive way) sort of like ewwwww....and ultimately Mason was really smart, he caught on quickly, and it didn't take much time until Mason would be come the teacher's pet. 

In the first few years of his life, Mason took countless training classes-even running obstacle agility courses-although he could never master walking on a leash until very recently (the world was JUST way too amazing!) and sitting and he was never able to pass the Canine Good Citizen training. But we loved him anyway, and really, he loved every person and dog he met. There was no shortage of optimism and joy in everything Mason did. 

Leslie and I had a "Puppy Prenup" in case we decided to no longer live together, basically the person who chose to leave would forfeit the pup...and so ultimately I think I was given one of the greatest gifts because when I got married just about two years after bringing our puppy home, Momma Leslie gave us Mason. 

Two year old Mason was slightly less crazy. Still pretty rambunctious, but not as much of a lunatic. We moved him to Colorado, got Trekkie so he'd have some four legged company, and then Chris left for 15 months in Iraq. We made friends into family, we hiked, we explored, we made the most of our time until Chris came home.

Then we moved him to Virginia. Chris worked hard. We made do with a tiny back yard. He welcomed home Callum. He had his first love affair with a high chair. He cleaned up snacks and messes. He took his big brother role seriously and started acting more mature...

Two years later we moved him to West Virginia. He welcomed home Cole. We lost Trekkie. We moved again and had a big yard. He expertly cleaned the high chair and any mess Cole shared. He learned about the electric fence and would explore if the battery went dead. He sunbathed and chased deer and turkey.

Eighteen months later we packed up and moved to Oklahoma. We made sure he'd willingly go into the storm shelter, and of course as long as we had treats he happily joined us. He welcomed home Delaney. He resumed his job cleaning up the high chair. He slowed down. He finally wasn't a maniac, but still excitedly welcomed everyone into our home. He would explore the neighborhood if a gate was left open.

In his almost thirteen years, Mason lived in 6 states, and 8 homes. He started with two moms. He loved his new dad. He welcomed three babies home. He loved treats and food. He loved sunbathing. He loved hiking, fetch, frisbee, and visiting The Farm and The Lake. For years he slept under the covers in our bed. I'd train him out and the first cold day he'd end up back in the bed under the covers. He had the softest ears, and no matter how hard I tried he never would grow hair on his belly.

Mason taught me to be a mother. He taught me how to use psychology. He trained me. He loved me. And he loved us. And I am so thankful to have so many wonderful memories. I grew up into an adult with him. He loved me unconditionally. And I'm heartbroken, but I also feel like I am the luckiest to have had him.

{In no particular order}

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