Of all the men I’ve lost, I miss my dog the most . . .

Like many of you, I’ve had a lot of loss in my life. There are times, when the loss seems overwhelming. If I get caught up in the “what ifs” and the “if only-s” I can find myself spiraling down into a place that sometimes takes days to get out of.

Now my losses are not nearly as bad as some that other people have survived. I know this. I try to keep that in mind. But sometimes, when you are in the middle of a really good pity-party you just don’t want to be reminded to count your blessings. You just need to wallow for a little while. Not too long, but sometimes the best way to get over pain, once and for all, is to feel it, acknowledge it and then let it go.

As Spring comes and plants start to bud and kids and dogs appear outside, I sometimes start thinking about the things I really, really miss. When you get divorced people ask all kinds of questions that are supposed to help. Do you miss him? Do you miss your old life? Do you miss the house your kids grew up in? Do you wish you’d stayed longer, waited to sell the house, gotten custody of the dog?

The truth is the only thing I’d go back and do over is who got the dog. I thought there’d be shared custody and lots of visits. There haven’t been, not nearly enough. I made the mistake of moving to an apartment that won’t let me have pets and he made it clear that, once the check cleared and the deed was filed, I was no longer welcome in the house we raised our family in.

But a house is only a home when it’s filled with the people you love.

I really miss him . . .  the dog that is. I miss coming home to his tail wagging, always happy to see me no matter what type of day we both had. I miss him sleeping on the end of the bed. I miss his warm, fuzzy little head. I miss his devotion and his unconditional love. I miss watching him throw himself against the windows in a frenzy every time another dog dared to walk down his street. I miss his optimism, believing that just maybe this will be the time he catches that squirrel even if every other attempt has failed. I miss sitting in the sun on the back porch with him on a lazy summer afternoon.

I also really miss my gardens. I miss the hope that comes with planting a Tulip or a Daffodil bulb in the fall and believing that it will survive, way deep down under the dirt and the snow, and bloom again the next Spring. I miss the perennials I planted; the Iris, Lilies, Clematis and Peony, a few more each year, with the faith that they would survive a long Maine winter and bloom again. I miss the old Lilac bush that came with the house and the Forsythia that I planted and watched grow from tiny saplings to a giant hedge that bloomed bright yellow every spring.

I miss these things that I could always count on; my spring gardens and my warm beagle. No matter what happened, no matter who else had let me down, no matter how hard life got, the garden kept blooming and the dog met me at the door when I got home.

What I have come to realize, as I pull myself up and out of this difficult time, is that my roots have nothing to do with the house I lived in or the gardens I tended.  As beautiful as they all were, the real roots I planted are still mine. They are the children I raised there, and the adults they have become. They have each drifted off like seeds on a light wind, to settle in gardens of their own, to make lives of their own, and they are healthy and safe and growing just fine.

The parts of my own life, the things that I love to nurture, aren’t gone. They are just below the surface, waiting safely until the time is right, to bloom again.

and maybe I can find a way to spend more time with the Beagle.

Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.