Monday, October 07, 2019

Bringing Nigel home

This is a casual photo of Nigel and me taken in 2006 when my lifelong friend Jason was visiting us. We were in the Rotorua area, and he was wandering around taking photos, including this secret photo of us just being us.

I’ll be honest, if Nigel was still alive, he’d be grumpy with me for sharing this because it was before he’d lost weight. But this photo is so good at capturing us acting as we so often did that I just had to share it, anyway.

We brought Nigel home yesterday, and put him in our rumpus room, which is on the ground floor. It was a private time for family and close friends so we had a chance to spend a few last hours with him here at home. I lifted the dogs up one at a time so they could see him, sniff him, and understand he was gone and not coming back. I didn’t want them spending weeks lying in front of the window at 5pm waiting for Nigel to come home, not understanding why he didn’t.

As I thought, Jake seemed most affected. He was very clingy to me for several hours afterward. Sunny understood, but nothing much bothers her. Leo didn’t seem to have a clue what was happening. The dogs, Nigel and I all spent the night together last night. Leo and Jake and I were on the spare bed in the room, Sunny on the floor (as she likes it). To be honest, it was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in more than a week: My Nigel got to come home one last time, and we were all together one last time.

I told Nigel I’d do all this (in his last couple weeks, we talked about absolutely everything to do with his death, and that was important to him). He left the decision about whether to bring him home up to me, but I think he was pleased when I told him I wanted to. I know he would be pleased I made sure the dogs got to say goodbye.

I know that Nigel is gone, that what’s left behind is just the vessel that contained everything that made him *him*. But seeing him and being with him is a way to begin to let go of him, and we need to. Today we send Nigel on his final journey. It will be the hardest day of my life.

Originally published on my personal Facebook Page on September 23.

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