Heartache is no metaphor. The space under my sternum ached for so long — the sucking void of longing for what can never be, again. The loss of you was too vast to fully grasp. I processed as much as I could, but eventually put it away. Now and then a reminder forces me to pick it back up, to run my fingers through the threads of the thing we wove together, and see which memories fall out. Whether they are good or bad, the tears on my face are the same.
There is a hole in the world that will never be filled. Years later, I am surprised at how much it still hurts, how the ache has never diminished — there are only larger gaps of time between bouts of grief.
This is Shadow. We wish you could have met him. He drives the cat crazy, which you might have enjoyed.
The first time I saw him I burst into tears, because he reminded me of you.
Everything we’ve tried to do right with him makes me aware of the ways I failed you, out of inexperience and ignorance. I had to stop reading a book on puppy training, because everything it said not to do I had done with you, and it made me so miserable.
He turned out okay, though. I love him with a depth of attachment that’s probably unhealthy. When I most miss you, he’s the only thing that makes it bearable. Don’t tell him, but sometimes I kiss the soft fur on his cheek, under his ear, and pretend it’s you.