Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Joy of Hannah


We took away Hannah's bowl and her favorite pillow, and today we're going to undertake a good and proper vacuum.

But we can't exorcise her spirit from the house. She was into every activity, standing beside me as I minced ham for the egg white omelette; up on the bed hovering over me, waiting for her first constitutional of the day; greeting guests with a teddy bear in her mouth, nearly knocking drinks off coffee tables; and chilling beside the barbecue while Scott made his famous ribs.

There is still evidence of her in the yard, waiting to be cleaned with the first thaw. There are tufts of hair in the corner. Toys on the floor. It will be weeks before the house will be officially de-Hannatized.

Her pictures are all over the walls. Up beside Scott's chair, there is a photograph of Hannah as a one-year-old solid white, her black nose not yet turned brown. On the music shelf is an electronic slideshow jammed with her images, playing with the pugs in the yard, goofing on the softa, posing in the snow beside the shovel.

Her presence is all over the electronics: on my digital camera; on our YouTube site; she was even my password on all my accounts (they were changed today!) She is the name of our company, Hannabelle Media, and her image adorns all our business cards.

It's so clear to me how she captured our imagination and snuggled up in the chambers of our hearts.

On Friday night, on the day we set her free from the cancer that was ravaging her beautiful body, the family congregated. Stef came by with a bottle of 18-year-old single malt for Scott and a jug of wine for me, and we sat and talked about the little girl who was only four weeks old  when we rescued her from a puppy mill. I cried so much that night that I had no tears left on Saturday, only anxiety and images of her being led away for her final journey.

I sat through Whitney's funeral, listening to the preachers and singers and I couldn't cry at all. But my heart was pounding out of my chest.

All I wanted was respite from the pain in my soul.

But to misquote Tom Hanks: There's no crying in dog land.

Gordie proved to be an absolute monster yesterday, jostling to see poor, innocent Skye when Nick brought her up. The vet told me to ignore him, but there's no ignoring a dog intent doing a child harm. So I tied him up, and slapped him upside the head. I hope Skye's first words aren't "fuck off, Gordie."

He was a yipping, twirling little monster and I found him hard to love during those hours. Hannah wouldn't have been such a pest; Hannah would have snuggled up to the baby and laid her head on her tiny feet.

Gordie's not Hannah, but he and Ming are as much loved by our family and their presence is welcomed despite Gordie's anti-baby protest.

There are things I won't miss, honestly. Yesterday, Gordie got to have a chew bone without Hannah stealing it from him. And there won't be the occasional scary fights over food that drew Ming's innocent blood.

The house is quieter and more peaceful -- at least when the baby isn't present -- and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get used to that. I loved the joy, commotion and chaos Hannah brought to the party.

Yesterday,  I realized that that Hannah hadn't been present in our house for some time. That Hannah had already left us week ago. The Hannah I took to the vet was a ghost who stopped greeting me at the door, who barred access to the bathroom because she spent nearly all her day lying on the cool tile trying to get some relief from the cancer we did not know she had.

The Hannah I took to the vet was grateful to be going home.

My grief began to abate, in inches last night, when a thought came into my head.

Hannah would not have wanted us to be sad. She was all about joy and happiness.

She would have wanted us to move on and remember her before she became a ghost, on the nights she spent under the barbecue hoping for drippings and on the walks she took us on, playing with her lease and trying to befriend squirrels.

Hannah will always be in our hearts in a happy way.

There is no time for sadness.

Hannah wouldn't have it.

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