On Christmas Eve, we went out in the evening and came home late for the first time since she died. Arriving home, we were compelled to peer through the glass part of the front door as we put the key into the lock, seeking the warm sight of her on her bed in the middle of the room. Taking off our shoes and winter-damp coats, we were afloat in too much space and silence, without the tapping of her paws and the small wet nose pushing into our hands.
There is a gap between what we know and what we feel. In the morning, we know she won't be eagerly under our feet as we boil the kettle, but we still look for her when we come downstairs. We know that when we carry our tea and coffee back to bed, we won't need to stop to lift her up so she can scrabble in the sheets with freshly muddy paws. We know that she won't eat the biscuits we've left in her bowl, or drink the water we can't help topping up, but to put them away feels too final. After seven months, the ways we moved around each other, and lived together, and got in each other's way, are under our skin.
Two days before she left us, I lay with her on the sofa. She felt small and quiet, some parts of her already slipping away. We had music playing and the window showed me the steely sky and the birds dancing around December's bare branches, and I cried as she rested her head on my arm. It is bittersweet now to sit in the same seat, look at the same sky and let the sadness lie in my chest. We knew her and were known by her. We loved and were loved. We know she is gone, but we still feel her here.
13/02/2005 - 12/12/2021