Save for one strange and dreamy interlude, my words seem to have all dried up since Columbo died. Everyone and everything went sort of grey and unfocused when we lost him, including a sense of my own place in the world. I knew he was an integral part of the solid and shining family core around which my life revolved, but I hadn’t realized how large a part until months went by and I found myself still silent and crawling.

I’ve tried to keep to routines and doing the things that I love best, but honestly, it’s only recently that our other pets have started to appear again in sharp outline to me, that the constant refrain in my mind isn’t a numb desperation at the thought of a whole life without him.

Hissing Baby Opossum

Even riding my bicycle, which I’ve been doing as much as life and limb will allow, has only in the last few weeks begun filling me with the kind of pure and total joy I’d come to reliably expect from it. A large part of what I love about riding is, of course, the wildlife. But except for one opossum hurrying past looking as though he were trying to work out some particularly knotty philosophical question, and two fleeing baby bunnies, the urban beasties I love to share my world with have been off doing other things. The city feels much lonelier without them, too.

(I did have a thrilling encounter with an eagle a few weeks ago, however: this gorgeous big bastard was posing for some birders’ glamour shots on a high pole on the Leslie Spit; when he got tired of ruffling himself up and looking nobly towards the horizon, he flew off his perch and dived straight towards me. I just watched and at the last moment, he pulled up and away instead of kicking the shit out of me. I had two thoughts: “Life, there you are!” and “It would be metal as hell to die from an eagle attack.”)


I told my friend J., over coffee last week, how I was feeling: about how my brain still messes with me by making me think I’ve just seen Columbo around a corner, how happy I am for that moment when him being here makes total sense, then how sick and sad I feel when I realize he isn’t. He told me he still dreams, in just this way, of a dog he lost over 10 years ago. But he said that he’s simply happy when he has those dreams now, because that’s how he gets to keep her in his life. Maybe I’ll get to that; maybe even soon.

Since February, I’ve written a bunch of depressing as fuck half-posts, but didn’t want to post a bunch of depressing as fuck full posts and so have completed none of them; they’re all languishing in my drafts file, and I think they will stay there. But my husband suggested maybe I had to post something awful, just to get on with it. So, here we are. And here’s hoping this is a sign that I’m on my way to walking back out into a world of colour.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely to see the word-wielding you again.

    1. Colleen says:

      Thanks, Mr. Kevin. Where’s the word-wielding you, though? I miss that guy.

  2. heidenkind says:

    (((Hugs))) Columbo will always be with you in memory and spirit, even when the pain of his absence isn’t as great.

    1. Colleen says:

      Thanks, Tasha.

  3. I missed your post on this Colleen. It’s awfully sad losing a dear pet. We lost our lovely poodle at 14 1/2 just over three years ago. She just died. Like Columbo we knew her heart was becoming a problem but she was still eating and walking, could see and hear (reasonably well) and thought she had a few months at least yet, but she just died. She saved us that vet’s trip but it was awful. It took a long time before I stopped “seeing” her and there are still times when the missing wells up. It doesn’t matter what people say to you to make you feel better because you already know all those things in your head. It’s your heart that’s the problem.

    Anyhow, nice to see you pop up again, and I’m sorry I missed the February post. I think I was travelling.

    1. Colleen says:

      The heart is definitely the problem. Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot.

  4. J.G. says:

    Plain and simple, they leave an empty space in our hearts and our psyches when they go. Wishing you the comfort of happy memories, when you feel ready to receive it.

    1. Colleen says:

      Thanks, J.G.–and I’m so glad to see you blogging again. 🙂

  5. Gubbinal says:

    I am so sorry to read this. Yes, our dearest friends and relatives can indeed come in “animal form”. What is more intelligent and comforting than the excellent companionship of a fine cat, dog, or even an excited gold-fish?

    The world stops and all becomes dull and gloomy for a long time. It is good to find new animals but none can be a genuine replacement.

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