I saw Ferris' empty dish last night when I fed Riley, and it unleashed an agonizing wave of sadness so overwhelming, I dropped to the floor in our living room and cried as hard and as long as I ever have in my life.
After she was finished eating, Riley came over to me and sniffed at my face. Through my tears and gasping sobs, I told her it was okay, I just missed Ferris a lot and I was sad.
She rubbed her face against my cheek and trotted into the family room. A moment later, she returned with her soggy tennis ball, which she gently put into my lap. She looked up at me, and then walked into the corner of the family room, where she picked up her rope - her favorite toy, which she brings with her to the front door whenever we come home - and brought it over to me. She set it on the ground next to me, and then laid down and put her head in my lap. I cried for a good long time, but I was comforted by Riley's actions, even if I'm projecting my own feelings onto her. I felt like she could tell I was grieving, so she brought me the things that make her happy, before letting me cry on her until the fur on her neck was soaked with my tears. When I finally stopped, mostly because I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I felt a tiny bit better.
Anne is out of town and Ryan went back to school last week. This is Nolan's first major loss, and I haven't wanted to burden him with my own grief, so other than emails from friends and comments on my blog, I've been essentially alone with my pain the last three days. It's been incredibly difficult, and I'm glad Anne is coming home this afternoon, so I'll have someone to cry with.