Jack’s gifts to me — One

atop-graveMany thanks to the kind readers
from all over the world
who took the time to stop here and offer their condolences.

I mean it. The outpouring truly has meant a lot to me, partly because it would no matter what, and partly because this has been an unusually solitary week with K. in China and the boys running in and out (mostly out).


added to “River House” quilt last week

Tending the grave? Wishing for heaven? The passing of my parents did not produce these responses. But Jack’s death has. I suppose this difference is further testament to the kind of love we feel for our pets. I haven’t wanted there to be a heaven since I was in my “pious phase” (that was second grade, during which time I fervently wanted to be a nun — mostly for the rosary beads and gilt-edged missals, I’ll admit — clearly, another story). This week, though, I was cottoning to the idea of eventually reuniting with our dog. Of being the recipient of his ‘help across’. I found myself uttering the cliche farewell, “See you on the other side, sweet Jack!”

There will be a number of posts about the gifts Jack has given me, but I’ll end here with one of the most immediate ones — lying under the catalpa tree this week, with my spine resting on the earth and my face oriented skyward, my heart softened as I watched the late summer sun move through the catalpa branches. Illuminating the undersides of its giant leaves. Glaring across the picket fence. Then disappearing. The acknowledgement that I still reside in this sensual world — this achingly beautiful world — while he does not, made me sad. But the fact that I was pausing to notice such beauty, and was marveling with fewer defenses than usual at how fleeting it all is, were things I could thank Jack for. And I did.

14 thoughts on “Jack’s gifts to me — One

  1. Anonymous

    oh Dee. i did not know. ’til now. and this post gave me goose bumps and touched me so deeply. to the quick. remembering all my dogs. meeting Jack now, for the first time. the stories they will tell. oh.

  2. Michelle in NYC

    A human heart ‘loving’ is the best heart to have-
    worth all the gris of grief of it for the jo yit holds.
    I know, know that grief, and also that gratitude.
    Your words have expressed it beautifully here.

    1. deedeemallon

      there is a heightening of awareness mixed in with the sadness… some of that is, indeed, joy.

  3. deanna7trees

    missed your last post. so sad but how wonderful that he had such good years with you and yours. i still see my 2 cats, that lived till the ages of 18, out of the corner of my eye on occasion. he will always live in your heart.

    1. deedeemallon

      Hi Deanna, I keep waiting to see Jack from the corner of my eye, too. I still look under my feet when I stand up from the couch, as if to avoid stepping on him.

    1. deedeemallon

      Thank you, Mo. The cross also sprang from a recent read of the Pulitzer-prize winning novel Gilead. More on that another time.

  4. Lynda Merry

    Dee, I am so sorry to hear about Jack. He sounded so much like my rescue Grady, who we lost last month. I relate to what you have reflected on in this post and the prior one. I know our dogs aren’t people, but their unending companionship, the loyalty and gratitude they express in their funny ways and the dependence they have on our being there for them makes for a pretty deep connection. My dogs have always hung in there with me when some people have checked out.

    Thinking about you…

  5. deedeemallon

    thanks, Lynda… we should all be as loyal and unyielding in devotion as our dogs, right?

    PS I don’t know why comments don’t appear when I hit the ‘approve’ key on my phone… I think it used to do the trick? Anyway, sorry about the delay.

  6. Peggy

    Oh Dee. I saw the post about his passing but wasn’t able to leave a comment when I read it. I’m so sorry. I’ve loved everything you written about him and every photo of him you’ve posted. xo

  7. saskia

    I find myself looking at our Tungsten with even more affection than I thought possible after your posts about Jack, Dee……you have lovingly honoured his brief existence in our world; once again I realise how fragile a life is, oh the fragility of it gets me everytime I stop to think about it.


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