A half-empty nest.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kodi in his element-water sports.
Chance overlooking the pond.

Stoli in the sink.

I didn't get to have children. . . and I didn't find out till my early thirties that I wasn't able to have children because I never wanted one till then. I always thought when I want one, I can have one, I mean...why not?

So we (my husband and I) have pets. . . and even though I don't have children of my own, I do consider my niece and great niece "mine" even though I didn't have them? why not? But don't think silly. . . just because we don't have children, doesn't mean our pets are our children. We're not insane. We love animals and incorporate them into our family they are not so much our children as our "wards". (even though we call them "our babies") I'm lucky to have found a man who has very similar beliefs to mine. In that when we have a pet we have a responsibility to take care of him, even before ourselves. Even as things became hard on us financially over the years, our pets did not suffer. As a matter of fact, when we couldn't afford to buy something for ourselves, we still bought for the dogs.

When you've been with a person for 13+ years. . . you can go through quite a few pets. Unfortunately we've lost three and all three were oh-so-painful. It has been 36 days since Kodi passed and a day hasn't gone by that I have looked for him. More often than not, I swear I hear him give a big "sigh".

You see, I loved the way Kodi looked at me. His soul was in his eyes. He hid nothing and openly expressed a devotion so deep it was often daunting because his eyes said "I love you more than you'll ever love me". His eyes said "I see you for yourself, no pretenses, no fake face, all your naked fears and faults and I still adore you." His eyes said "It is okay if you sleep now, I'll keep watch and protect you so feel safe." His eyes said "Show me your worst and I'll accept it with no questions and return to you with nothing but love."
And through all the years together, I only felt on the night he passed that I was able to offer him the same. Even that night his eyes said "you're going to be okay and I'm scared too." But my eyes told him "it's okay if you rest now, I'll keep watch and protect you, so you feel safe, so sleep baby." And my husband cradled his head and his mouth said "you can rest now, you can rest now it's okay, I love you Kodi but not more than you've loved me."
And isn't that the difference between children and pets? Parents tend to love children more than the children love them in the beginning and as years go by, sometimes it the depths of love level out. And sometimes they don't until the parent or the child passes and left alone, we love what we miss.
But your pets always seem to love you more with each day that passes. And it's a mystery as to how they can give such devotion without question. Without want of proof...with just a bowl on the floor half-filled with dry food and water.

And writing about these feelings has been a great cleanser for me and my soul. A release of internal turmoil over having to watch the animal that you've been screamingly in love with for 10 years die in your arms. I am dealing with my own beliefs of death and beyond. And how I see Kodi now even after he has passed. I am dealing with my own mortality and what I think I should do with my life. And I am still crying and feeling very down but each day I notice that I feel a little better. I do better typing about him than talking about him. I am proud of the fact that I can mumble a few coherent sentences before tears start to fall and I have not worn mascara in 36 days because I can't predict the onset of waterworks. Who can? But I know that I'm doing at least 10% better than I was on December 3, 2009. And I know on February 2nd, I'll be doing better than I am on January 6th.

Michael and I have some "internal" work to do and I hope we can do it all together. We've set goals and we're working towards a new life without Kodi. And we have Taz, our Chocolate lab but he's like a slug on my couch 90% of the time. He has always been a "if it ain't gotta be done, don't count on me to do it?" kinda dog. He's more like a CAT. He even "twirls" in circles on the couch about 100 times to get comfy like cats are known to do.

We have a "half-empty nest" here on Seneca Street. We're not happy about it either, but we're living. And we know we owe Kodi a life or two because his was cut short and because he spent so much of his life protecting ours.
We've also had the opportunity to talk to a few Chessie breeders about future litters. But we know we have time. And we want to go slow and pick our kind of dog. We don't want to get a puppy just to try and replace a one-of-a-kind animal. A member of our family. A friend. A confidant. As I said before, anyone who met Kodi and took five minutes with him, loved him. He didn't just work his charms on my husband and I. My sister enjoyed him so much she volunteered to come over to watch him. And my mother called both of our dogs her "grand-sons". Even though she hasn't asked me about him much, I think she's scared to upset me. But I am sure she misses him too. He adored her and knew when she came because she said "Grandma's here". And Kodi would bark and bark to greet her.

And I want to get to a point that I can talk about him. And be overjoyed that he was in my life. I want to be able to hear my husband say "I miss him so much" and not feel a lump in my throat. Not only because my husband lost his hunting buddy but because we had a fleeting moment with a truly amazing creature.

So even though we're at half-empty now, we plan to be stacked and packed in some distant future with a Chessie puppy OR puppies. As far as I am concerned and if I have any say, it will be puppies. . . to honor the leader of the pack previous...Kodiak Bear and Chance. With Stoli the cat following a little to the side and behind.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being here. Post. Comment. Love. Hugs.


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