verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It took a full year for me to be able to walk past another Golden without crying a little.  Stickers died in June, 2005.  The timing was terrible but that's how it was--she had cancer, and she was old.  In the foreground, too much was happening and the noise of our lives was very loud.  In the background, Sticks grew more lame and less bright-eyed.  It was a quiet retreat, hardly discernible at first. When we noticed, she was already full of cancer.  It wasn't very long after that--maybe only three months--when she stopped eating, stopped wagging her tail, stopped trying to live.  I tried to reconfigure her symptoms into some other Thing and to attempt a casual step to the right of what was actually happening.  It was time, but not right now. Later maybe. Some other day.  Some other year, maybe. The vet gently brought me back to the present Stickers.  The next afternoon, I held her face in my hands, our foreheads pressed to each other's, and I felt her leave us.  I still have a tuft of her fur and her collar in a drawer next to my bed.  Her ashes are there too.  They'll eventually go with me, whenever and wherever I go.

In the past, I always wanted a next dog, and I wanted it at once.  I love the anticipation that comes with swinging open the side door and knowing that I will be greeted with enthusiasm and warmth.  Anticipation. Such a hopeful and friendly feeling. A gift in itself, if you pay attention to it.  After Caleb, I had to have the next dog and right then, and so I launched an intense search  until I found Stickers, a 6 year old rescue living on a small farm in Western Massachusetts.  She had come from Arizona, the product of a divorce, and she needed a place where she could share her loving kindness.  When we met I knew instantly that we were a match.  She took to my side that day and never left it until that moment in the vet's office several years later.

After she left us, I needed to allow her echo to linger for as long as I could feel it. I couldn't make way for the next dog until her reverberations had grown silent.  It's hard to believe that it has now been four years.  Since then I have befriended many Goldens and I love the ways they remind me of her with their 'golden' kinks and quirks.  But I still do love her as if she never left.  I always will. It's effortless. Someday I'll have another dog, I'm sure. I entertain the idea, and that's where the next dog begins--with the idea. But love leaves an imprint that extends well beyond the physical.  All the memories and those unspoken understandings are still alive and still very nurturing.  Over time their intensities don't dull, but instead grow softer.

The reverberations....they still linger.  I love to listen for them and when they are felt, I savor the gift.  It helps me to remember that goodbye is simply a perspective.  I am learning to anticipate change with the same affection and peace that I anticipated in constancy.

Sticks and I still walk together.  Just not to the eye.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry for your loss. You write with honesty, pain, and hope. This is a good healing process for you, I think, and it's always a great read.