Over a year later and I have no clever words of wisdom.
I just reread all of my entries and found not much has changed: I remain heart-broken. I still get seized by a desperate sense of panic and pain when I realize the full magnitude of my loss. The road ahead is still one I can’t contemplate too much because it’s a long and lonely one without Atlas’s presence. My sweet boy will never return and will never be replaced.
The only shift I’ve noticed is that at about the year mark I think I finally started to truly understand he’s gone forever. I don’t know why I’ve struggled so hard with this fact – I tried so hard to repeat and repeat it to myself, but there was a stubborn emotional reaction that just kept not quite “getting it.”
I finally made it to Dog Mountain. I went the day before Thanksgiving, which even though wasn’t on the 26th of Nov. is the day I will always consider the anniversary of Atlas’s death. And even though it wasn’t quite as magical as I hoped – also it was too cold inside for me to stay long-I did still get some comfort out of the experience.
I enjoyed preparing a tribute of Atlas to hang, the drive through the mountains of NH and VT was lovely and peaceful, and I was touched by the tributes of others who clearly loved and deeply missed their dogs. I gained a small relief through the sense of communion with others who also have suffered a profound loss, but in the end it is but a temporary reprieve and I’m left with a reality I hate: a life without Atlas.
Currently I’m still searching for handholds. I’m still trying to embrace life. Atlas was a great example of joie de vivre. Here’s hoping that one day I’ll learn to live life with even half as much gusto as he had.