On the 20th of January 2023, eighty five days after losing our Henry, George slipped away in my arms. I thought we would have more time together. I thought that we would find our way through the grief of losing his brother and that we would start to make new memories.
But grief does strange things to bodies and out of nowhere and quickly, tumours had taken control of George’s little body. They were everywhere and aggressive. Suddenly he just stopped to responding to things.
He took his last breath in my arms, held close with the carefully repeated instructions to go and find his brother. That Henry would be waiting for him. With his passing, my last living link to my family as I constructed it was severed.
Henry and George spent the first 12 weeks of their lives living separately. And the last twelve weeks. The sixteen years, ten months and twenty four days between those two periods, they were never apart. As much as I loved them, their bond with each other was even greater. .
George was our adventurer. He wasn’t shy about making contact with people, especially if there were treats involved. He was an expert at getting zippers and bags open without anyone hearing him. He could liberate your lunch and have half of it eaten before you even noticed there was something going on. In my Lab, I had to buy replacement lunches for people more than once out of George’s allowance.
George was my Mom’s dog. He was crazy about her. When she was making her big plans to move to Ecuador, she told me that she would be taking George with her because he would easily adapt to learning Spanish and would be fine with a new environment. She wasn’t asking me, she was telling me. She was already getting him use to the sound of Jorge instead of George.
George was Raven’s companion. Raven was convinced that because they were both from Yakima, they had an instant friendship and a shared history. Watching them compete to find Easter eggs and to see who could find the most remains one of my favorite memories. The stinky egg farts afterwards from them both, not so much.
George lost both of them, we all did. But for him, they were primary. I felt sometimes that George got stuck with me because I was the one left. I felt guilty too because I loved them both but not the same. With time, I learned to let that go because I loved them enough for six people. Since they have been gone, many people have told me that they have a hard time thinking of me without them. For them, there was no me without Henry and George.
That is the hardest part to adjust to. That after all this time, I am not a We anymore. I am only an I because my boys are together again and without me. I know that grief is the result of love that you feel. But it sucks. I am struggling to find my way through this loss, one hour at a time.
To my little George, so named after Boy George, for your love for attention and outgoing personality, thank you for your love and patience. Thank you for giving me a reason to get up even when the hard days were happening. Thank you for giving me your trust and going anywhere we did. Thank you for loving your brother so much and helping us get through those first terrible days without him. Thank you for the horrible farts you would let loose in the car. Thank you for always being eager to go in the bath and letting us brush your teeth with such ease. Thank you for always wanting to be one inch closer than your brother when there were blankets involved. Thank you for showing me how much joy there is in the life of a small dog. I am missing you terribly. Most of all, I hope you know how much I love you.
For now, I hope you are with Henry. I hope you will be waiting for me. Sleep well, my darlings.