I once had a terrible case of the flu. In addition to the body aches and chills and stuff, I was puking my brains out all over the place all the time. The worst part of it was that it would happen with no warning; one second I was fine, and then I'd suddenly feel my stomach turn, and I'd be throwing up whatever was left in my stomach from the last time. I couldn't control it at all, and after about 12 hours of it, my neck and throat just ached like they'd been kicked by a mule wearing 1930s baseball spikes.
For the last 24 hours, I've experienced the same thing, but instead of throwing up, I'm hit by these unexpected waves of incredibly powerful grief that seem to start in my stomach and explode into heartbreaking sobs in a matter of seconds. My whole body aches, but my throat, neck, and shoulders are especially sore and tired. I know I slept last night, but I don't feel like I got a whole lot of actual rest.
This morning, I made it about 5 minutes before the first wave of sorrow hit me, but at least I knew what set it off: automatically looking for Ferris on her little doggie cot in the living room, where she'd greet me every morning, wagging just the tip of her tail, until I came over to pet her. Since then, it's been less like I'm crying every five minutes and more like there are these occasional breaks when I'm not. Maybe my body needs time to make and store new tears, I don't know.
I went to the comic shop to get my mind off of things. I haven't been in almost a year because I've been so busy, but figured I'd pick up some trades and recent issues of my friends' books, so I would have something to do. Besides, going to the comic shop always makes me happy.
I picked up a lot of books, and decided to give Green Lantern, which was one of my favorite titles in the 80s, a look. My comic guy recommended this one particular trade as an entry point, so I added it to the pile. When I went next door for some falafel at Zankou, I opened it up while I waited for my order to come up. In the first panel, Hal Jordan is talking to someone named Ferris. I felt the sob rise in my chest, but I caught it in my throat and managed to keep it down with some deep breaths until I got into the car a little bit later.
It's been an extraordinarily difficult day. Our other dog, Riley, who we got as a companion for Ferris when Ferris was 2, has realized that something is very wrong in the house, and keeps looking for Ferris. All day today she's never strayed very far from my side, and though I'm aware that I may be projecting and anthropomorphizing, it sure does seem like she has sadness in her eyes.
Anyway, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who has offered condolences for our loss. Ferris was our dog, but she was as much a part of our family as any human, and loved us unconditionally. There is a gigantic open wound in my heart and a vast empty space in my house that feels like it's never going to heal (even though I know it eventually will.) I've always felt like telling someone "I'm sorry for your loss" wasn't ever enough, but being on this side of it, I can tell you that it's more comforting than I ever expected.