She was more important to me than I knew....

by Angela

It was like any other day. I was working at the hospital when I recieved a call from my mother. It was around 10 on Monday morning. One if our neighbors had come to my parents house, crying because he had hit our dog Eliza. She was actually my daughters dog. She had helped my daughter through a rough period in her life, she was still helping her. My daughter had plans for a birthday party for her and was deciding on the perfect outfit for her Halloween costume. When my daughter started college 2 year before, she had lost her friends. She never had gotten involved in college the way I hoped she would. When she was in High School my house was always full, I had at least one of her friends usually more at my house. This last year my daughter had struggled with loneliness and depression, that changed when she brought Eliza home. Eliza brought her comfort and a faithful compaion. She brought joy back into my daughters eyes, and laughter back into our house again. Eliza was goofy, a klutzy, jumped on you, Eliza was a mess but she bought so much happiness to my house. I hadn't understood what she meant to me either, or well not the full scope. My husband left me for another woman 4 years ago. He has not divorced me, it kinda screwed up my life, and my kids lives too. He isn't a supportive father. His wants and needs always come before ours.
Eliza filled this hole I didn't realize was there. Eliza was actually a present to my daughter from him on her birthday last year. Eliza was suppose to be the size of a beagle. She was huge, kinda like Beethoven in the movies. She had that personality also. She thought she was a lap dog all 76 pounds of her. She played and wrestled with the kids, but at the end of the day she slept at the end of my bed, but just until my daughter came home. Eliza would greet her at the door. I let her out in the morning because the kids usually weren't up yet. Eliza and I ate breakfast together, well we shared my breakfast. If you didn't share what you were eating, she would lay her head on your lap looking at you with the saddest eyes, and she was usually drooling.
My daughter met a boy and had started dating in April. My son has a girlfriend and was visiting her as much as he could. So it was just Eliza and me at the house. She had filled a void for me left by my kids who were just growing up. I hadn't ever started going out after the split because well my self confidence is shattered, and it was easier to work more and read books than to have relationships outside my family. Plus the kids were my focus, always trying to be the good mother I know they deserve. Eliza was there on those nights when I began feeling the truth of my lonely existence, and she made me feel not so alone. I realise now that she is the first person I had allowed myself to get attached to since Joey and I split up.
When I left that morning I will always remember petting her that last time, bending down for "kisses" before I left, not caring if a few stray dog hairs were on my uniform. I had bought a fence that was wireless. She had a collar that went on her and she ran outside all day long in the wireless fence. Sometime during that night or the one before, the battery on her collar had fallen off. No one noticed. Eliza chased something out of the yard that day and was hit by one of our neighbors. She died instantly.
I cried at work when I found out she had died, not just because she was gone, but because of the heartbreak this would cause my daughter. That dog was like an emotional support dog. She cried so much when we told her Eliza was gone. She cried because she had lost her best friend. My daughters boyfriend has helped keep her from shattering into peices. Caleb has been good for her and he loves her. He is her best friend too. Caleb is getting his own apt. I am sure that my daughter will be over at his apt more, and it makes my heart ache. She would have come home because of Eliza, but I doubt she will come home as much to see me. And it kinda hurts to be at my house, because you feel the lose of Eliza not being there more so. When I am home, I see Eliza everywhere, and miss her terribly. I know that it must be more difficult for my daughter, and it worries me. I have seen her slip into depression, she struggles with it. I am terrified I could lose her again to it. Maybe it won't be that way. Maybe Caleb being there will make the differnce.
Now my son never cried in front of me about losing Eliza. He loved her but it's differnt for him. He expresses his emotions differntly than me.
This weekend will be the first weekend without Eliza's companionship. I dread it. We were suppose to take eliza to a pet clinic at the park Saturday. And I have this routine I do on the weekends. I always clean house that first day I am off. Eliza would try to attack the broom and mop as I cleaned, I first would act annoyed, but then we just played. She would get all riled up and run around slip and sliding on the wet floors. And we would all laugh at her antics. We would watch movies and she would be curled by my daughter or me. When I would lay done after getting the house clean she would lay down with me while I read my book. I was happy escaping from reality for a bit with her at my side. I took for granted that Eliza would be there when my daughter left home because she married or got her first apartment. She would be with me when my son left for college, and when I was sad and alone.
I know I can get another dog. And I eventually will, but I will miss her snuggles, I will miss her kisses. I will miss our breakfasts togather. I will miss her at the end of my bed, feeling safer because she was there. And I will miss watching her make my children laugh. I will miss watching her run to my car when I got home from work, because she was always so happy to see me. I will miss playing tug of war with her, she had started to growl at you if you growled at her first. She had just learned to sit, lay down and stay. I will miss buying her dog treats, and pig ears to eat.
I would lose myself in my work if the kids weren't there. Going home right now makes me sad. I see the tire marks that were left when my neighbor tried to stop. They are right in front of my house. The quiet hangs over my house like a depressing fog, sometimes it feels sufficating. I used to love to come home from work to see my kids when they were home, and enjoy dinner and a book, relaxing after a full day of work. Its not so relaxing now. I am worrying more than I should about my daughter, I am hovering more than I need to. Its hard to stop. We only had Eliza for 10 months, but she made things so much brighter. My heart just hurts so much now, and I know my children are hurting too.
So now I pray that things get better. That I make the right decisions, and choose the right path to take. I know that the pain will lessen, it will just take time.

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