An Ode to Piper
by Alex Buckley
You know, grief is a funny thing. One minute, you’re crying in a emergency room waiting room, feeling like there’s no point in going on. And the next, you find an old video of you singing your favorite love song to your dog and you have that loving feeling again. I hope to have more of the latter.

9 months isn’t a long enough time to love someone. How do you fit all the special moments into just 9 months? We only had one birthday today, one Christmas morning. I didn’t get to pick out a Halloween costume for you. You were supposed to be a pirate. But here I am, turning around when I hear the jiggle of car keys thinking they’re you. How am I supposed to go on with you my sidekick?

I got in my car the day after I lost you and your little paw prints were still on the seat. The parking lot was wet and it made your paws dirty. Little stains on my car seat. You loved that final car ride, your nose against the window, tail wagging. Like you didn’t even know. Like I didn’t even know. But we didn’t. Neither of us knew how limited our time would be together. We still had so much left to do together.

On your final day on earth, you took a nap in my lap. Something you hadn’t done in a while. But there you were, curled up, snoring, grumbling at me when I woke you up to move you. I should have sat there all night with you. That night I had a nightmare you died and I couldn’t be there with you. I woke up crying and ran to where you were sleeping and held you. I promised that wouldn’t happen for a long time. Less than 12 hours later, you’d be in heaven. Maybe the universe was trying to prepare me.

In your last moments, you were so peaceful. You looked up at us with relief. The Beatles played somewhere in the background. But it was just us, holding each other, giving you a piece of my heart as you left this earth.

I miss that feeling of you curled up against my legs at night, grumbling at me when I bumped you while you were trying to sleep. I used to cover my head with the blankets when you’d run up to me in the morning and scratch at me to wake up and feed you. But I’d give anything to hear your little bark wake me up before the sun did. What I’d give to hear your little nails on the concrete as we went down for your morning potty.

9 months isn’t enough time. I had a lifetime of love to give you. To make up for all the time we missed before we met. I don’t know where to go from here. But I hope I remember that love I felt singing to you and not the pain I feel of letting you go.
Comments would be appreciated by the author, Alex Buckley
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