This is Buddy, our family sleuth. Ever since Steve died, he’s been on a mission. At first, his behavior just kept irritating me. I had to keep shooing him out of my closet as he got underfoot. Then I realized why he was there.
Awhile back my sister Anna took on the unenviable task that loving family members all over the world do for the bereaved: packing up the clothes that aren’t needed anymore because they don’t belong to any “body.” She went to Home Depot and bought some large boxes, then proceeded to load up Steve’s clothes. (Ellie and I had already gone through and set aside a few things that brought up particularly strong memories for us.) She labelled the boxes and stacked them neatly there in the closet. She is so wise–she knew it would be easier for me in stages.
Buddy doesn’t need any labels to know what’s in those boxes. I’m convinced he can still smell Steve’s scent there, and no one’s been able to tell him that he’s not coming home. So he just keeps searching.
I was watching the news the other night when they showed a clip of a reunion between a Great Dane and a man who had been separated from his beloved companion for four years. At first, the dog stopped in his tracks when the man was about ten feet away. You could just see the wheels turning… (“That looks like my master…No, couldn’t be…But he smells like…” CLICK!) Then, in a joyous dance–wiggling from head to toe–he bounded forward and sprang into his master’s arms, almost knocking him over in his exuberance! There was a tangle of yelping, licking, wagging, crying and hugging: a perfect moment.
I so love these furry creatures, with their ever-ready unconditional adoration and unflagging loyalty.
So my Buddy hasn’t forgotten Steve. I don’t know when (if) he ever will… Meanwhile, I will let him sniff around in my closet as much as his determined heart requires, because he’s got a mission to accomplish, and he knows it’s an important one.