I took a long time to write this post. I couldn’t get the tone right, and I’m still not sure if I have.
The usual expression when we lose a pet is to make some vague allusion to the Rainbow Bridge. This makes me uncomfortable, just as it does when people mention God in relation to death. I’m an athiest and my heart belongs to science. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I appreciate the sentiment, especially from friends, but it doesn’t comfort me, or make the loss any easier to bear.
I marvel instead at the unprompted connections my brain will make; a dog barking, and for a second some unconscious process prompts me to look up, because it’s Mollie. Or we’re coming back from an evening walk in the dark, and at the bottom of the hill where I put the leads on, Mollie is waiting for me. Or I glance over my shoulder and I see her padding down to us. I like that, it makes me happy. I am far more comforted by knowing that my eyes see a shadow and my brain finds something to fill it, and the ‘it’ is Mol. I am pleased that of all the tiny electrical connections my brain has sourced, it’s the connections with Mollie that seems right for that situation and that endure.
I do miss her, a lot. Oddly enough, it’s the feel of her I remember most, especially the way her fur over her shoulder curled softly around your fingers. You could sink your hands right in and scritch her with the fur tickling the back of your hands. I miss the feel of her forehead against mine when she hugged, the heavy solidity of her broad face pressed against skin. Feelings very unique to Mollie. People talk about smell and emotion, but it’s non-specific touch that I recall with clarity, apparently.