Eulogy For Shadow
January 9, 2005- January 30, 2014
The mornings without her are the worst, in that slip of time between the dream state and the metal glare of remembering Shadow’s not there—that she won’t be eye-level to the bed as she has been for years, drawing me impatiently from my slumber, anxious to start her day.
The world was a big, joyous place, according to Shadow, and I couldn’t help but see it through her eyes. Every morning she’d squeal and clamor as if time were wasting. There were scents outside with clues in the yard, and sticks and pine cones shaken to the ground that couldn’t wait another minute. Oh, get up, get up, she’d insist; the world awaits with endless possibilities!
I am listless in her absence. I do not want to rise from this bed. There is no comfort in this house, yet I cannot bear to walk outside where she used to play. I cannot put my shoes on without remembering how the act sent her into spinning rapture, and there is too much space around me without her underfoot.
I never knew silence could affect me physically, that it could start with a ringing in my ears then land so heavily on my heart. If I rise now, every gesture in the rhythm of my day will lack her, and every movement without purpose in this world now grown flat. I roll to my right and see her toys strewn around her fleece covered bed. I should get up and put her bear and her balls away, find some place to put that pine cone, but I can’t bring myself to disrupt her last arrangement. I want to leave everything as Shadow placed it because I still marvel at the single-mindedness with which she marked her place in the world.
I think I will lie here until her spirit comes wet-nosed to soothe me. I lack the strength to rise to a world that exists without her, and there will be no joy if her spirit does not come. I need to lie here until I remember what joy is; I’ve been too long following her lead and have forgotten how to find it on my own.
I am frozen in this bed with the thought of taking my heart back from Shadow. The prospect seems something I am incapable of, and right now I would rather lie in this pain forever than place one foot to a floor where she does not lay. She was ceaseless, constant, beautiful, unending. She came lovingly, unquestioning, every time I called her name.
Hear now, Shadow, my voice as I call you: “Shadow, come back and heal me; here pretty girl, baby come home.”