On Saturday at 3.30pm, we said goodbye to Olive, our chocolate labrador. She was our first baby. I still called her ‘baby girl’ although she was 16.8 years old, which in dog years is beyond geriatric.
One of my happiest memories ever is of walking along one of Sydney’s beautiful coastal walks about 8 months pregnant with my first child in my belly and Oli walking by my side, smiling up at me, so excited to be out and exploring.
She was so smart and loving. She loved bananas, carrots and strawberries. She knew how to signal to us to let us know what she needed, we were attuned to one another.
The grief is still coming in waves for all of us, as is the nature of grief. I haven’t come home to an empty house in nearly 17 years. She has always been here. She was such a gift to our family.
The thing about grief is the emptiness. The automatic expectation that I’ll hear her paws tapping as I approach the door. There will be no sound. The thought to give her a treat. She won’t be there to receive. Reminding myself to feed her before it gets dark. No need.
I’ll miss her hitting my legs if I haven’t given her breakfast, the feeling of having another presence in the house when it is just me and the kids, the sound of her barking in her sleep as I work on the sofa. I’ll miss her joy. The smallest of things made her light up; breakfast, bananas, a touch, a walk, a ball thrown. What a beautiful soul she was.
She was one of my greatest companions. In her memory, I chose to delight in the mundane, just as she did.
Forever in our heart.