It has been over a week since our beloved family dog DeDe died, and although our house is slowly starting to feel normal, there have been constant reminders that her memory is far from leaving.
DeDe was a member of our family for close to 13 years, happily staying near home after we rescued her from a dumpster. She was wonderful with our three children, letting them crawl all over her while giving hugs. She would greet us every time we returned home from work or a trip, meeting us at our car door with her tail wagging.
When she got older, she insisted on coming inside our house at night, often sleeping in the living room with us or at the foot of the bed in one of the kid’s rooms.
And now she is buried under a cross in our yard. There are no more nightly visits. There are no more hugs with kids. And it breaks my heart to pull up in our driveway, and she is not there to greet me. The yard, and the house, seem empty without her.
I admit, I took her death the hardest. Maybe it was because I was the one who scooped her into our truck when Jason discovered her abandoned at a dumpster. For almost three days after she died, I would cry at the drop of the hat. Believe it or not, this week was the first time I think I accepted it.
I still haven’t put her food bowl away. In fact, her food remains there. The blanket on the front porch still has her water bowl, and I find myself running my fingers over a few of her white, stray hairs left on the surface.
I have put a fresh flower on her grave every day since we buried her. And I often catch glimpses of our baby son Jase just sitting on top of the grave, silently.
Having said that, I think maybe DeDe is paying a few visits from pet heaven too. I know this may sound ridiculous or even just coincidence. But it is strange.
Jase graduated kindergarten a few days after DeDe died, and his sweet teacher was hosting an online ceremony to call each of their names out loud. I was getting a horrible reception inside my house so I stepped outside on the porch and put it on speakerphone.
A few seconds after “Jase Patterson” was called out, a large red cardinal came swooping in under my porch. It sat on the rail for just a second, and then flew off toward DeDe’s grave. And it landed right on top of a light we placed at the foot of her grave.
It remained only for a few seconds, but out of all the places in the yard to land at the exact moment of Jase’s name being called out…it made me smile. It was almost like we had a little visitor, a little reminder that DeDe will always be around.
Her poor, weak body may have left. But her sweet spirit, her loving ways, and her precious memory is still there. And with every memory we make at our home in the future, I will always look out to her grave and smile. Perhaps she is looking down from pet heaven.
And I can bet she is wagging her tail.