Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A sad anniversary

Since Kahlua died a year ago this week, my life has changed dramatically. Five more dogs have entered our lives. At the time she died, she was one of four; three of those we added within four months of the end of her life. We went from one dog, to eight in less than a year.

It’s as if I knew I would lose her, and I was rapidly trying to fill the void that would be left from her passing. But, as usually happens when attempts are made to rapidly fill a void, I haven’t filled anything, and miss her dearly right now, on the anniversary of her death.

Instead of confronting my feelings of loss and actively grieving, I’ve scrambled to fill up my life and avoid the pain of that loss. I was not aware I was doing this, of course. It just happened.

I had a sad realization tonight that perhaps I’ve surrounded myself with dogs in a futile effort to gain back the one dog I miss more than anything, my best girl, Kahlua. Truth is, I would trade any one of these dogs to have her back for just a day. When Kahlua died, I lost part of myself. She was with me through some of the happiest times in my life: backpacking, college, trips out west, moving to Wyoming, my first marriage and the birth of my first child. Losing her feels like losing a part of my identity and those happy times.

It's so difficult to quantify the emotional connection I had with her, to her. I’ve been unconsciously but frantically looking for that part of myself I lost last year. Losing Kahlua has caused a sort of early mid-life crisis in me.

My job is ending again in less than a month, which is also throwing me into an introspective, soul-searching frenzy.

Don't get me wrong: the feeling of running behind a team of huskies is something that I cannot describe and that there are no substitutions for. It's exhilerating and serene ...when it works well. When it doesn't work well, it's so frustrating. This has added to my second guessing myself and why it is I'm doing this expensive and time-consuming sport.

Kahlua died on November 24. I miss her. I took her picture, collar, and ashes down last night and cried for her. I miss you, my sweet girl.

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