Today I miss Traveler.
My dear golden friend who passed away in February.
He taught me how to love. How to open my heart and let my life be something I never thought it would be.
Me. Someone who was just a little afraid of dogs. Suddenly "I am rescuing a golden." I knew that something had to shift. He was the catalyst.
A woman from the rescue called and said she had read my application and that Traveler had found his forever home.
He helped me to create space in my heart. Space to love and know that I could be loved. Unconditionally. Space to learn to love myself. Space for J. to come into my life.
I miss how he would jump up on the bed with me every morning. J. would take him out while I stayed in bed. Then after eating, Trav would climb up into bed with me and curl up in the crook of my bent knees. He would rest his head on my leg and sigh. I miss that.
This time last year we were doing everything we could to fight cancer. My grandparents were both sick - my grandfather with cancer and my grandmother was becoming ill. A dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. Then another friend. Then another. Then Traveler wasn't feeling well and I sat there in total bewilderment when they said that he had cancer too. It seemed beyond unfair. And the only thing I could control was that we would do all that we could for him. To cure him. To make his life a little better.
But he passed away. And in a way I know he gave me a gift. I started to grieve. I had glimpsed grief so that when my grandmother died I had some frame of reference. Some understanding of the crazy, empty, irrational, heart-slowing feeling that the death of someone creates.
And yes we have another golden child. Millie. Another rescue dog. With a little more baggage (so she fits right in). I am learning from her as well. Sometimes she jumps up on the bed and rests her head on my leg and sighs. And it feels like all might be right in the world for that brief moment.
But I can't help but wish that J. would come home one day and say "hey, look who was outside in the backyard." And there would stand Traveler, squeaker toy at his feet, ready to play.