It’s now been a couple of days since we let Gunther go. The weight of the loss on my heart isn’t as constant or always so obvious but it remains there waiting for the next moment to raise something that brings back into focus the degree to which our little guy was ingrained in most everything we do. I still find myself all of a sudden in the midst of a sob or two as I again get hit with “something is missing” and it’s Gunther. We, as a family, haven’t stopped doing all the things that need to be done since none of us have ever worked that way but I for one feel it is as much of going thru the motions as anything else as I wait for time to help balance the fantastic memories with the pain of a loss that will never ever really go away. We are doing a lot of talking about Gunther, what he meant to us and how much we loved him. We are looking at a lot of pictures and I’ve been working on an ever-evolving slide show presentation with music as a means to get every ounce of him in my head possible. I think it is good that we never really took him for granted and we recognized and knew how lucky we were to have him be part of our family – I just don’t think any of us wanted to acknowledge how much given we knew this day would come. We have never been a family that is always looking for more as we know what we have is good and that we have been blessed with much more than many get. That doesn’t change the pain and the heartache we are feeling but it makes it easier to look at the time Gunther gave us and it allows us to begin to heal – however slowly.
Where it is probably most evident of Gunther’s place in our lives is the number of instances or situations where one of us will do something, usually pretty simple and an everyday activity, where you look for that little face or you hear those doggy footsteps working their way to you. The mornings and evenings are the toughest since I would say that over the past year or so it is those times where we have adjusted the most to Gunther’s needs as his health changed. I spent a lot of mornings, especially after late nights, grousing at Gunther at the 7am or early rise from sleep but that quickly dissipated as soon as he jumped down off the bed and the tail started that wagging and he gave you that big grin that it was time to start the day. At night, he let us know he was tired and wanted to go to bed – but not by himself as he needed to be snuggled up tight against one of us. Annoying on one hand that he “made” us go upstairs to watch TV in our bed but that feeling quickly disappeared when he planted himself against your leg. This was a dog that needed people touch – and we now realize how much that took us to needing Gunther-touch.
Today there was something else that became very evident to me of the change in our house without Gunther. Yes it is quieter and he wasn’t a noisy dog but he was always where you were and that meant he was always on the move and you could always anticipate that when you moved from one room to another, he would soon follow. For the first time this morning when my wife was out with a friend, I realized that I was really alone in the house. Yes, I’ve been by myself with no wife or kids in the house with me but I always knew Gunther was somewhere around, waiting to hear me move or call him, always ready to stop what he was doing to join me in anything and everything. It was very clear as I ate my cereal today and I managed to somehow have one of the Cheerios pop out of the bowl – nothing surprising to anyone in my family. The difference was today I didn’t need to see if I could be faster than Gunther to grab it off the floor …and I never really fought that hard to get it before him anyhow.