When you bring a new life home – whether it’s a baby, puppy, fish, whatever – you experience a number of “firsts”. First feeding. First nap. First car ride. First holiday. First this. First that. Unfortunately I’m learning that you also go through a new whole set of firsts when that life is no longer with you.
Today I realized that void more than anything. Hubs and I built in Carp almost 3 years ago. We have a beautiful backdrop with miles and miles of forest behind us. One of the reasons we chose this location was so our princess could be free. On the weekends we would take her on long hikes back in the bush.
As hubs oversees the Bell Capital Cup – the largest hockey tournament in Ottawa right after Christmas – Maddie and I would spend much of our holidays exploring the bush together. It didn’t matter how cold it was outside, she wanted to be out there. A few extra layers and I would gladly oblige.
You see, this week after Christmas was always my time with her. Just the two of us. I knew it and somehow she did too. While she would normally be batting Aaron’s side of the bed to get up in the wee hours of the morning, she would sleep beside me until I dragged myself out. She would patiently wait until I got some caffeine in me and then we would be off.
Today I forced myself into the bush. I needed out of the house and desperately needed fresh air. I knew it would be hard. And it was. Every step I took I kept waiting for her to turn around to make sure I was coming. But she was never there.
I knew to put Kleenex in my pocket and I’m glad I did. Every so often I would realize there were tears streaming down my face. Crying subconsciously. I hiked to the place that was the farthest spot we had ever hiked. This little natural stream that trickles across the path. The last time we were there she immediately ran in to drink the cold, fresh water.
While I reflected in this spot, I watched her do all these things. She always knew she was doing something wrong. Maddie would look back at you with a smile almost to say, “catch me if you can”.
After a few moments of reflection, and tears, I headed back home. That’s when I really felt the absence. Whenever we were on a hike and turned to go back home, the #suckhole would run ahead. Every so often she would stop at the top of a hill and wait for you. Every time I rounded a corner or came to a hill I expected her to be there. But nothing.
I’m still very much adjusting to this new reality – life without the #suckhole. I miss her dearly. Tears are inevitable. At any time. I am finding some peace is going through all of our pictures though. While they are a reminder of some of the “firsts” we have gone through – both with her and now without, they’re also a reminder of how wonderful she was and how HUGE of an impact she made on our lives.