I want to talk about him. Zack. Still. Talking about him keeps him alive to me.
The other day, we came across a couple with a little shih tzu named JC. We greeted them and little JC, then they asked us if we have a dog. I said yes. “How old is he?” “14”. Little JC is 2 years old with that adorable and friendly shih tzu charm.
On our way home, I felt bad because I said a lie. Zack’s gone yet I acted as if he wasn’t. The thing is, he’s always ours, our eternally 14 little boy. They don’t need to know that he’s gone. He’s never a heartbeat away from our thoughts anyway. When it’s just hubby and I together, we talk about Zack like he’s alive. Sometimes we pretend that he’s sitting in between us or on our laps like he used to. Because to not do that is to acknowledge that he’s gone and we won’t ever see him again. We’re allowing ourselves all sorts of idiosyncratic ways to deal with our grief. After all, fourteen years is not something to be taken lightly.
Last weekend, I met some new people and this girl, for some bizarre reason, sang “You are My Sunshine” to me. I was taken aback. Then I thought maybe it was fate’s way of sending a message from Zack.
Some days, I think the worst is over. I try to think that what happened is a blessing in disguise. Losing someone you love will be replaced by something major, right? Then I wait. What would the replacement be? I can’t imagine what it’ll be because Zack wasn’t like a material possession to me. I wonder if the replacement is another dog, which I’m nowhere near ready for. We’ve had our third puppy offer, a husky. We declined, of course. Neither one of us is ready for a puppy. The little pup is too adorable to be second-best, and we don’t want to be half-ass furbaby parents. She deserves a loving home where she’ll be the superstar. She deserves 100%, nothing less.
Evenings are still tough. I lie awake at night, unable to sleep until it’s nearly morning, but at least when I do fall asleep, I sleep longer. I’ve gained weight in the past months, so the current goal is to go back to my regular weight. We’ve been walking 3 miles sporadically, and going to take up biking and badminton again soon. Zack loved walking so much. I always said that he walks us, not vice-versa. Just to make sure we exercise.
Three months later, I keep on keeping on. Making my life, my decisions mean something because of and despite of the loss. Trying to quell the what-ifs, focusing on the what-is. He wouldn’t want us to be sad and unhappy. So I’m trying my best to go out there and grab life by the scruff of its neck. Or at the very least, just to go out there and enjoy life.