We lost our Tessie girl on Sunday and we are just heartbroken.
She was about 13 years old (it’s hard to tell for sure with a rescue of unknown origin) and has been slowing significantly over the last year (I mean even slower than she was…she was never what you might call “energetic”), but we thought we had more time than we did and this still feels quite sudden. We are still reeling, honestly.
We feel the absence of her everywhere, the way she was ingrained into every daily habit and a part of every decision large and small. She was the third “person” that took us from couple to family and while I know that there are people who roll their eyes at the idea of an animal being that important, I have to tell you that her loss has brought grief that feels every bit as real as any other I’ve felt.
The thing is, loss is loss. It’s the universal price we pay for love.
We get time, years if we’re lucky, to bask in the wonders of love, laughing and hugging and enjoying every quirk of the subject of that love, be them human or animal. Our lives are richer and deeper and more full because of that love, because of the beings that fill it with all of themselves.
But at some point, the bill comes due and we have to pay the piper for all that laughter and all that joy and all that richness. It’s a cost I’ll gladly pay for the rest of it, but holy shit, it’s a doozy.
Over the last year or so, several friends have suffered big losses- parents, mostly, as we are beginning to reach that age. I’ve witnessed their knee-buckling grief and done my very best to offer what meager comfort I can, to wrap them in love and understanding, trying to avoid platitudes and simply stand with them. Their unimaginable pain has taken my breath away and I have been awed over and over by their courage and resilience as they have leaned deeper into love, even knowing that awful cost.
I’m not trying to compare losing Tessie to someone losing a parent or spouse or dear friend. I know it’s not the same.
But loss is loss and grief is grief just as love is love. We open our hearts to let fragile, mortal beings into them, knowing that we will eventually say goodbye long, longbefore we are ready. Anyone who has ever picked up a phone to call someone who is no longer at the other end of the line, or reached down to pet a beloved animal who is no longer lying where she always has, knows the unique ache of suddenly being hit by that absence, the hollowness that follows the terrible reminder that someone is missing from the world that should be there, if only because we still need them
To all of you who have reached out over the last few days to offer us your own love and understanding, I cannot thank you enough. Every kind word and offer of comfort has been a balm to our broken hearts and we are so grateful to have such a community. Thank you so much.
To Tessie, our sweet Too-da-loo, we love you, Monkey, and miss you so, so much.