Everything makes me cry.
Peel a banana. Cry.
Open the refrigerator door. Cry.
Look up at the night sky and notice the beauty of the moon. Cry.
A thousand moments in a day — every day moments, no big deal moments, just moment moments — brings tears to my eyes and often down my cheeks because she is not there to be part of them.
After 15 years, we said goodbye to our sweet rescued pit bull mix named Jada. She was 16. She was in kidney failure. It was time.
When you check the math on this equation, you realize that for 12 of those 15 years you worked primarily from home, and for three of those years you and your husband were empty nesters after the kids left, and for the last two of those years you were trapped in the house in a pandemic, and then you understand that it adds up to millions of moments, hundreds of habits, dozens of routines. And you are left with so much empty space, so much silence, so much aloneness … and everything makes you cry.
Because of the countless bananas we peeled in 15 years — really it must be thousands, right?—she always got the top nubbin first and she always got the bottom nubbin last. It’s been a week, and I’m still breaking off the top of that damn fruit and looking for her face by my side.
Every time someone opened that refrigerator door, no matter where she was sound asleep in the house, she would bolt to the kitchen and stand at the ready. Nine times out of 10, there was a corner of something for her.
Every night when we would go out for that last pee before bed, I would look up at the sky and remark to her about the brightness of the moon, or if we could see Orion’s Belt, or if it was overcast.
As for sneezing, as a young dog she didn’t care who sneezed, or even if they covered their mouths. As an old dog though, for the last couple of years, if I sneezed she would get up, come over to me, climb up on me and stand on my chest. I always wondered if she thought I was having a heart attack and was attempting chest compressions.
“It’s just a dog,” many people think, and some have even said — to my face no less — will you get another one? Even when we were all young and busy she wasn’t “just” a dog, and in the last few years, the pandemic especially, she was my constant companion. We spoke to each other, me out loud and her with her eyes and her ears and the way she would lay her head on my chest.
It is an impossible situation to love a dog. “How long does it take to get used to it?” my husband asked me yesterday. “Forever, I guess,” I replied. I had just finished weeping while vacuuming because there were piles of crumbs under his desk where he eats his lunch. She would stand next to him while he ate at his computer, with her chin on his thigh, and when he was done and got up to bring his dishes into the kitchen, she would go under the desk and hoover up all the crumbs.
So now I talk to myself, and I cry over various mundane moments of daily life, and I know that someday, probably sooner than I imagine, the new routines will be set and the mundane will be just that. Our hearts manage to put themselves back together, no matter how many million pieces they break into. Someday, a banana will once again just be a banana.