My dog and my neighbor are dying.
These days, when my pup, Winnie manages to make it the six feet over to my neighbor’s porch, she simply just licks his leg and walks away. “I know girl,” my neighbor replies to her, as if they have some weird understanding that soon they will be on the other side of this thing we call life.
I don’t know what to say to either of these two living beings, so I just constantly apologize. When my neighbor tells me the latest treatment isn’t working, I simply reply “I’m sorry” and wish that there was something I could say that would actually make him feel better.
When I give my pup her morning shot of insulin, or pet her when breathing seems too hard, or when I move her food dish closer to her so she doesn’t have to stand, I just tell her how sorry I am that I can’t help her more.
My dog has been such a loving, loyal companion and I know I’ll miss pretty much everything about her. As for my neighbor, although I don’t know him well, I always felt comforted knowing he was next door if I ever needed anything.
When I really think about what will happen when they are both gone from this world, I think about the noises. I think about how I’ll actually miss Winnie’s snores because they were a constant reminder that I was not alone. I think about late night Jayhawk and Royals games and how I always knew if something good or bad was going to happen by my neighbors yells thanks to the slight delay on whatever device I was streaming the game.
I think about not hearing my neighbor holler at me that it was too hot or too cold when I arrived home from work every day or the sound of Winnie’s tail as she came to greet me at the front door.
Of course, there are greatest tragedies in this world. Much greater. Moreover, I realize that these deaths are not about me at all.
But I still wonder what exactly will fill the silence.