Monday, April 07, 2008

How long does hurt last?

My dog, Heidi, died over 20 years ago. I still dream about her. In fact, I had a dream about her Sunday morning. It still makes me cry.

The first time I cried over her I was seven years old. We moved to an apartment for a few months when my dad had a long-term work assignment in another town. Heidi had to go live with my aunt and uncle on their farm. I remember standing at the art table in first grade sobbing.

I was a neglectful pet owner, as children often are. I didn't play with her every day. I sometimes even forgot to feed her. Yet, for some reason, I've always missed her when she wasn't around--even when she hasn't been around longer than she was here in the first place.

I'm not sure why this little ball of black fur has had such a powerful impact on me. I don't dream about relatives who've passed. I don't dream about dead goldfish, or our other dog, or the cat.

Maybe it was the trauma. She was so sick at the end. Dad made me make the decision to put her down. But I don't think so. My dreams are never about the end of her life, and she had that power over me back in first grade when she was still young and frisky.

I miss her. I guess I always will.


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