It is certainly repetitive and depressing to continue conversations about our dog who passed away almost two years ago – I know this – but that should tell you how important our pets have been to us.
Jeremy has been increasingly clingy and unable to be alone. He told me it feels like punishment to be told to go to his room and play. And even though I explain that it’s definitely not a punishment but rather a child’s dream come true to have a lovely room filled with wonderful toys, he doesn’t believe me and sulks his way down the hall. It always boils down to him being alone. In fact, as soon as I wake up in the morning (he is usually awake before everyone else in the house), he gathers his toys and brings them to the living room to be with me while I read and drink coffee. He can’t get in there fast enough.
Part of the reason this is so confusing has to do with my own personality. I enjoy alone time, the quiet and solitude. Sometimes I really crave complete silence, which is exactly opposite of Jeremy.
Finally, this morning, I said to him -
“I wish I could understand why you cannot be alone anymore. You used to play for hours by yourself and be content.”
He thinks for a minute, then says, “You mean in Georgia and Amarillo?”
“Yes, exactly. You used to play happily in your own little world and now you seem afraid to be 20 feet away in another room,” I say.
“I can tell you perfectly why,” he says most seriously, causing me to forget for a second that he’s only eight years old. “Hank used to be with me in Georgia and Amarillo.”
This wasn’t the answer I anticipated. He continued.
“Hank used to sleep with me and lay with me in my room when I played. I felt better with him there, and now I just feel so alone and scared sometimes.”
I could tell this wasn’t an excuse or just something he came up with to satisfy my question. He really misses Hank and having a dog in our family. Obviously, Salem is far too independent and stubborn to fill the role of a faithful dog, but on the occasion he’s chosen to sleep on Jeremy’s bed, I’ve noticed a difference in Jeremy’s demeanor.
“When will we get another dog?” he asks, with his big blue eyes looking straight through me.
“I don’t know. It will be a while, I think.”
“I just miss Hank. I miss him so much sometimes.”
“Me too.” Gosh, me too.
[This photo was taken in a hotel room in Arkansas during our move to Texas in December 2008.]