Sufi died today. She had been struggling with illness for many months, with adversity for over a year.
I have been writing this post for a long time in my head, and yet now that I have to sit down and actually put pen to paper, I don’t know how. She died in my arms and I dug her grave and buried her under a tree.
She came into my life with my wife. The first time I met my wife’s family (at her birthday bbq), I was so nervous that I managed to lock myself in the bathroom by breaking the door handle. I continued being scared until, just as everything seemed too much, this little white and brown dog decided she would sit on me. Decided, for I didn’t have a say in it. I must have looked comfortable, and so on she climbed and wouldn’t leave. Not that I wanted her to.
A few months later, Wife and I were playing house when her parents decided to take a weekend break. Sufi was due to stay with us for three days, but in reality she never left. By the end of the first day I had fallen deeply, unsettlingly, in love and after three weeks of me asking for “just one more day”, both my wife and her family had given up.
Sufi was not your normal dog. She was stoic and opinionated, angry and forthright, moody and difficult, tender and compassionate. She was perfect, and she was my best friend. She turned a couple into a family and showed me how wonderful the future would be. She dominated our lives as she dominated our bed and, until first Young Dog and then our daughter arrived, she would share all our experiences and never leave our side. When she began to get sick, we tried not to imagine what it would be like without her.
Now we know.
Though in time there may be relief in the knowledge that she is no longer in pain, for now there are only the callouses on my hands from where I dug her resting place beneath that shady tree, and waves of nauseating, unbearable grief. Nearly thirteen years after my wife’s mother saved her from abandonment in an empty lot, and six years after I fell in love, tomorrow will be the first Sufi-less day. The world is an emptier, colder place. And we miss her too much.