When my husband died, there was so much commotion in my house. Friends and relatives were constantly in and out. People couldn’t do enough to help. And the food – there was so much food!
But, as time goes on, everyone goes back to their regular lives. The problem is, your life is no longer regular.
Even with two young daughters, my house was quiet. So quiet. We went through the motions – school, work, dinners at home and out, seeing friends. But the joy was gone. All we could see was an empty seat, an empty bed. There was no real laughter and joy. Someone so important was missing. The void was huge.
After a few months, I wanted to bring some semblance of happiness into our house, for my girls as well as myself. My answer was a dog.
I never had a dog. I didn’t know the first thing about dogs. But I didn’t want to think it through. I was afraid I would come up with too many reasons not to do it. Was I up for this while still not used to this new life without my husband? How do I train it? How many times a day would it need to be walked? How much responsibility would my young daughters be able to take on?
I didn’t give myself time to answer these questions. I just offered up the idea of a dog to my kids. I already knew the answer before I heard the resounding “Yes!” from them.
No turning back now – we were getting a dog. I did have some conditions. It had to be small because I didn’t think I could handle a big dog. And it needed to be hypoallergenic. My oldest and I both had allergies.
So after some research, we got our little puppy. Love at first sight is an understatement. All three of us were enchanted by this little ball of fluff. I saw smiles on my daughters’ faces for the first time in a long while.
Suddenly, there was life in our house again.
We had been walking into a quiet and depressing house since our loss. There was no joy in coming through the door. But after the dog arrived, we walked into squeals of delight and wet kisses. It is hard not to smile when this little creature jumps all over you.
Training him gave us something to focus on besides our own misery. The little guy was counting on us so it became our mission to make him as happy as possible – and what a fun job that was!
My daughters love our little guy. But, as the years have gone on, they have not been around as much. Off to college, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends. The little dog that I got for them has become mine. They still adore him, and he loves them, but I am his world. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There were a lot of decisions that needed to be made in the first few years after my husband died. Some I did well, and some, not so much. But, all these years later, I still say that the dog was the best thing I did for our grieving family. I can’t imagine having gone through the worst of times without him.