Sunday, July 1, 2012

Three years on

Yesterday marked three years since Jake died. I can honestly say I only thought of him sporadically. I believe this is a good thing, a symptom of healing. People told me shortly after he died that it takes three years to recover from the death of a beloved pet. I heard it from several people; it's interesting to understand there's a tried and true interval - though - I'm sure the three year rule doesn't work for everyone. It was spot on for me.

For three years I have focused carefully on remembering what was not good about Jake: his fear aggression, his frequent maladies and his tendency to chew through super kongs, cow femurs, woodwork ... whatever. I think I was protecting myself by remembering what was hardest about him, shielding myself with these difficult memories from the pain of my grief.

But the three year interval has passed. Suddenly I'm able to remember how sweet he was, how dedicated he was to me as well as to anyone I cared about. Even if he had never met them before, he would enthusiastically welcome anyone into his zone as long as he felt my love for them. Should I be surprised to remember how psychic he was? I should not.

He had his favorites, of course, among them a friend named Dennis with whom he was madly in love. When Dennis left the house after a visit, Jake would sigh mournfully, turn around in circles for awhile, then collapse into his bed, bereft.

Ha. My dog was as much of a drama queen as I am.

What a sweet, intense, beautiful being he was. It's wonderful to remember what was good and noble about my dog, rather than everything that was awful. This is the path of healing for which I am extremely grateful.

Happy Sunday, y'all. Onwards and upwards. Shalom.

Jake, trotting down East Capitol Street, circa 2008. 


Elizabeth said...

Jake was a star --a big star and such a huge part of your life.
How odd you mentioned the three year thing;
it was exactly three years between Skippy and Buster.

So now your happy memories have overtaken the sad ones and your heart may be open for a new pup.

That said, our life is totally ruled by Emperor Buster....!

Reya Mellicker said...

YES. You are not the first or the last to remark on the three year interval.

ellen abbott said...

It's taken us much longer. We haven't had a dog sine Tilly died. Not one of our own. My SIL (who lived next door) brought home an abused dog who would back up and tremble when you called his name. I eventually had to drag him into my house and after Tilly died we mourned together. He sort of became my surrogate dog. He would spend his days with me and go home to sleep when we went to bed. He died of heart failure unexpectedly in the night. My SIL called at 2 AM to tell me and I got up and we buried him in their front yard in the middle of the night. Now we (Marc and i) come up with all kinds of excuses for not getting another dog. The cat is enough for now.

Cheryl Cato said...

Such a nice remembrance... Jake was a love. As Elizabeth says, "your heart may be open for a new pup".
Personally, I'd opt for about a year-old dog that is finished with chewing everything in sight!

Reya Mellicker said...

Jake lived to the ripe old age of 14, but never stopped chewing. Never.

Ellen - brought a tear to my eye. I am so not ready for a dog. I know all the excuses, too. Oh yeah.

Pam said...

Interesting that three-year theory.
I guess you really can come to a common denominator time frame with such things.
Having lived in so many places for most of my life, I've agreed with many that it takes 4 years to feel at home somewhere, and yes I agree with the 3 years needed to move on from the death of a much loved companion animal.

Steve Reed said...

I haven't heard about the three-year interval. It's oddly comforting to know it can take that long to heal. I still feel horrible sadness six months after losing Ernie and Ruby.

Jake was a great dog, and reading about his adventures with you was always so fun. I love the photo!

Ravenstar said...

Reya, I'm so glad you have come so far in the healing process. Your journey with Jake helped me so much, as I've lost three of my beloved pets in the last four years. They all lived long, quality lives and I find solace in that; however, the empty spaces have been enormous. They are filling in little by little. Healing is an ongoing process and I have embraced it. I will miss them always, but there will be other pets, as they give so much joy.

Peace and happiness to you.

Gary said...

How nice to see a pic of Jake. I hope you are enjoying the 4th.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a blessing to be with you in body and mind on this anniversary.


namaste sis-star