There’s nothing like a few days off to rest and recharge the mind. I touched down in Ottawa 2 days ago and am happy to report I haven’t left the house since. It’s a welcome change from the bustle of Toronto, to be sure. Truthfully, however, it’s mostly due to the fact that I detest winter in Ottawa.* It’s incompatible with my footwear and in the battle for affection, I choose you Cole Haan, I choose you.
In my quiet time here, I’ve had the opportunity for great reflection. Being a first-generation Canadian with no extended family on the continent, Christmases have always been rather quiet. This year, however, with the inevitable passing of my dog (RIP Bea), and with my sister’s new life in Switzerland (she got engaged!), this Christmas has also had the eerie resemblance to an Agatha Christie novel. And then there were three…
The loss most palpable to me is that of my dog (I love you Carolina! I get to call you!!) There are so many little subconscious behaviours I catch myself doing which are so superfluous once a pet is gone. After 13 years, I don’t have to push the bread so far back on the counter anymore because no one is going to try to sneak herself a piece. When I pour myself some water, I find myself turning to pour some into a bowl that doesn’t exist anymore. When I drop some crumbs on the ground, I have to go sweep them up because my little furry vacuum just isn’t there. I may have shed a tear when I reached for the dustpan. I saw my father come across a picture of her yesterday and I watched him do the same.
In the end, while I’m a bit sad, I’m overwhelmingly happy. If, at the moment, the worse pain in my life is the loss of a beloved pet who led a full life, I’ve lived a charmed one. So, in the spirit of the season, I’m finally going to finish the blog post I started 6 months ago about what I learned when I said goodbye. Not because I think Christmas is depressing, but quite the opposite. When talking about our greatest and most transformative loves in this life, even when they’re over, it’s always a celebration.
*Minus Winterlude. Everybody needs a hug from an IceHog or Bonhomme at least once.