Honestly, it’s been long enough since the operation now that I had to think about how long it had been. Four weeks didn’t come to mind right away. It’s strange how something that was so massive, so recently, is already so faded in memory. It’s always that way though, at least for me. I adjust to new circumstances quite quickly. I’ve always admired that R does too, but never more than now. This was a massive transition, especially for him, and he has just rolled with it.
I guess it’s been a pretty big transition for both of us, but we do have a lot of practice with those. We’ve moved seven times together. New jobs, new friends, new states, new parks and trails and dog neighbors (nice, and not so nice). And maybe all of that was practice.
Since surgery our life here looks pretty different. I haven’t been able to bring myself to move the mattress back off the floor in the living room. I guess it’s a weird positive to COVID that because no one is coming over to my house these days, I don’t have to worry about how weird that looks. I just… R was never allowed to sleep in my bed with me. That was the only piece of furniture I kept. On very rare occasion we would have extra special lazy Sundays where I’d invite him up for a late morning cuddle and then books and coffee, curled up in the blankets. It was a treat, for both of us. So he’s really enjoyed all of a sudden being invited up every night. And I don’t want to take any joy from him in his final months. And…
He won’t be here to feel him next to me all that much longer. I’m constantly torn between trying to enjoy every moment, and being so conscious of the fact that I’m trying so dang hard to really enjoy every moment. I’m petting his ears and trying to memorize how soft they are. I’m kissing his head, his shoulder, his little chest patch of white fur and trying to memorize how he smells. I’m letting him curl up tight against my side every night and trying to memorize what it’s like to have his warm furry body there, his chest expanding and contracting beneath my arm. I’m trying to memorize how it feels that he loves me and I love him and…
I’ll have to love him all alone soon.
So I don’t want to give up the bed either. It’s more memories to hoard.
But, so, that’s pretty different. We’re still living in the living room. And now our walks are half our old loop, at best. And I keep catching myself just catching a glimpse of R out of the corner of my eye and knee-jerk worrying that he’s limping. No, no. He’s not limping.
But… that’s it. This big transition, and some of it is still ongoing, but other than those things, R especially…
He still grins in the morning. Still wiggled his butt today, waiting for ‘Grandpa’ to wake up and walk down the hallway. Yesterday he. was. thrilled. to play with our guest in the backyard. He’s R again, if a much quieter version. A much shorter duration version.
So the surgery is fading into memory and we’re just living this new reality.
If it weren’t for the constant feeling of a clock counting down in the background, I’d be perfectly happy with this new normal, really.
Well, that and the fact that R is a bed hog and I’m a pushover. Twice now I’ve found myself perpendicular, curled up to fit onto the shorter length of the bed while R stretches out right in the freakin’ middle.
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