When I came across Ann Patchett's The Sense of an Ending in the September 2012 issue of Vogue, the story immediately tugged at my heart. I introduced you to my first dog, Bailey, at the beginning of October. The reading of Patchett's article spawned the introduction, and I have since put off sharing with you why I told you about Bailey in the first place.
Bailey eying up my ice cream sammich.
Patchett's article in Vogue is about the loss of her dog that she had had for 16 years. It was a difficult article to read because, even though I had not had my dog for quite as long as she did, I had been through the experience of losing one's dog, and I could picture Bailey's face after the life inside her had moved on the entire time I was reading the article. It was very moving, and brought back many memories that I had not thought about in a long time.
It's not that I had never experienced death before. My Grandfather had passed away a few years before we put Bailey to sleep, but I was young and didn't see my Grandfather every day. Yes, I loved him dearly and we had a special bond, but, like all relationships in life, it was a different kind of love and a different kind of bond than I had with my very first dog. I didn't take my Grandfather for walks, or stroke his fur. There was a separation in our lives, but there was never a separation from Bailey.
I liked sharing with her.
What else made it different from the passing of my Grandad is that I had never actually seen anyone die until Bailey. My Grandmother called to inform us that my Grandfather had passed on, but I was there with Bailey. I was right beside her as she took her last breath, and I stayed beside her stroking her soft fur for a few moments afterward. I saw it all in her eyes, and that is what made this article so amazing to read. I knew that Ann Patchett had experienced the same thing that I did, and she freed me from something that I had buried deep inside my heart.