One of my challenges over the last few years has been getting used to a new kind of quiet.
Interesting how quiet can be so loud.
You all know I complained about Nikki sometimes.
All his jumping and barking every time I came in the door about drove my crazy.
One minute of separation or two weeks, it all felt like eons apart to him.
Sometimes I wanted less exuberance, fewer scratches on my legs and runs in my hose.
But now, when I come home to an empty house, I miss those I’m-going-to-burst-out-of-my-skin-with-happiness greetings from Nikki.
Okay, I don’t miss the jumping and scratching, but I miss knowing that the little tail wagging animal loved me that much.
When I wake up, I’m used to Nikki sidling up to me for a morning greeting. I’m used to him lounging in the sun in the bathroom while I get ready for the day.
When I sit down on the couch, I brace myself for him to pounce on my lap and settle himself.
I go through several adjustments a day.
I don’t think I’ve walked through the neighborhood once since he died.
He kept me on a good walking schedule.
I need to get out and walk without him now.
Cleaning out rooms in our house, I find bones hidden in odd places.
No wonder he whined by the guest room bed. He lost a bone under there.
I had a dream he came back and scratched on the deck door.
I opened the door and said, “Nikki, you’re not supposed to be here!” He looked up at me like he was so happy to be home, and I had to tell him he couldn’t stay because he didn’t live here anymore.
Then, I woke up feeling sad and guilty like I’d turned him away when he wanted to stay.
Even though I know we did the right thing in putting him down, it’s still an adjustment to live without him. He shadowed me every step I took all day long, and I have to get used to him not being near me.
Our empty nest is really empty now.
I’m not terribly sad or maudlin about it, just noticing and sharing the difference.
I confess to doing a few searches for puppies, but I know that getting a new dog is not the best thing for us now.
A house without kids and a dog is a different house.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just different.
We’re just again getting used to a new, loud kind of quiet.