"It seems like Stella has been gone a lot longer than two weeks," my mother said last night.
It does feel as if we've all gone on with our Stella-free lives rather easily but Stella is not forgotten. Even though I don't feel her, or hear her, or even sense her, Stella is still here.
Stella wasn't an easy dog to live with and now that she is physically gone from our home, I believe she had a huge energy that overpowered everyone else's, particularly mine and including Abby, our three and a half year old dog. We are adjusting to having the energy level in our home drop to a normal level; it's no longer dominated by the force that was Stella.
I can't tell you how lovely it is to walk a dog on a loose leash. After 12 years with the incorrigible Stella, it's a delight to walk an easy dog like Abby. If Marmaduke and Cujo had had a puppy, that dog would have been Stella.
A friend who had two Boxers once remarked that she thought she preferred having only one dog because with two, you never really get to know their separate personalities as fully. I'm now seeing what Abby is like when she isn't battling the effect of Stella's energy, Stella's presence, Stella's constant vigilance for food.
"I dropped a peanut half on the floor while making supper," my mother told me on Tuesday, "and Abby didn't get off the couch."
Stella would have eaten the peanut before it hit the ground.
So our household is adjusting. I'm adjusting. Stella is gone but she is not forgotten.
I haven't yet written about the remarkable last three days of Stella's life because I'm editing another book and can't step out of that zone. Besides, I promised Stella I would write the story of her life and making that promise seems to have evaporated my immediate grief. She's hanging around because of that promise, knowing we have one more walk to take together.
Ah, yes, two more. Stella wanted her ashes spread where she loved to walk so over the field she'll go. Her epilogue.