Friday, March 31, 2006

Emma Sightings (part two)

Soon after the charka balancing it was time to sit down with Linda Lee. As I settled into my chair I caught, out of the corner of my eye, a flash of movement down by the floor on the right side of my chair. As I turned to look down I wondered who had brought a dog into the building. I was surprisingly not surprised to find nothing there. I turned back to Linda Lee and asked, "Is there a dog with me?"
She smiled and asked me, "Who do you think it is?"
Then she told me Emma would always be with me and I felt both sad and comforted by this statement. I still can't believe how deeply an animal could burrow into my heart but at the same time I can't deny that Emma did just that.

Five days later as I was driving home after the big snowstorm I had Emma visit me again. I was out on the eastern plains of Colorado thinking about her when all of a sudden an image of her popped into my mind. It was almost like a vision. The image was so clear and sharp it was like looking at a 3D photo. The instant the image appeared I felt a great sense of loss and regret and started crying. I felt so alone.

When I got home and drove the car into the garage Duke came out to greet me. When I climbed out of the car he was standing by the back end of it and staring at me as if he had never seen me before. I called his name and he came up to sniff at me but did not greet me with the tail-wagging joy he has shown all the other times I came home from a trip. My dog did not seem to remember me. It was as if he had forgotten my scent. After a few days he seemed to warm up to me again but he still wasn't acting the way he did before I left. He was hesitant and timid where as before he had shown great confidence in himself and his surrounding.

One night he came into the bedroom to go to bed. When he got to his empty bed he stopped and looked at it and then at me the way he does when Kate is sleeping in it instead of her own bed. That look means he wants me to make Kate go get in her own bed. He stood there looking from me to his bed until I finally got out of my bed and went to his bed. I leaned down and patted it while telling him it was OK for him to sleep in it. After I patted it a couple of times he got in and curled himself into a ball and went to sleep.

It wasn't until last Saturday that I noticed his face looked different than the way I remembered it being. As I stared at it I got a mental image of him standing at back of the car and could see that his face had looked the same way that day, too. Now I understood his behavior. Emma was no longer with him. The way he had been acting since the day I got back from Denver was the way he would sometimes act when we first got him. He was only hesitant and timid on the days when I looked into his face and did not see Emma looking back at me.

It has been a year and 24 days since Emma died and a year and two days since Duke came into our lives. I knew that Emma was only with Duke to help him become a part of our family and I guess Emma thinks her job is done. And I think the reason Duke would not get into his bed that night was because he did see another dog there, Emma. Emma trying to show us she was now separate from Duke because it was time for her to leave him. Duke no longer needed her. Knowing that Emma is not with Duke any more makes me feel sad but it does not make me feel as if my heart had been torn out of my body once more. This is good to know.

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