I am grateful, again, for signs. If you read here at all, you know that I am generally unsure about what awaits us after we die, and therefore, I am generally unsure about where my sweet girl is now, if she is anywhere. I certainly know that it brings me great comfort to imagine (indeed, to hope) that I will see her again, that she sees me now, that she still feels my love, that she’s with other people I love who have died, that she is happy, that she is OK, and that somehow, she can still communicate with me when I most feel the need to know these things.
So I’m always grateful when little things happen that nurture that hope and put a dent in my natural skepticism. Like getting the sudden urge to open the holiday decorations only to find a picture of her holding a stuffed penguin. I’m trying harder just to be open to the comfort these things bring.
Today, my dear friend Caroline (who happens to be first cousins with my Jess) sent me an email about a dream that she had early Wednesday morning on Hudson’s birthday. Caroline and her husband, Chris, spent several months this year fostering a German shepherd named Josie back to health and friendliness after years of neglect. They took her in not long after Hudson died, even though they already had two 5-month old German shepherd puppies—Caroline said that her impetus, in large part, was having witnessed a moment between Ed and Bess when Caroline and Chris had been visiting with us the week after Hudson died. Caroline said:
We were sitting on the patio and Bess was sitting next to Ed on the couch. Ed looked at her and said, “You miss Hudson, don't you? We do, too.” He said this very quietly, and in some ways I felt like I was intruding on a private moment. But that has always stuck with me.
Soon after, they found out that a local German shepherd rescue was in desperate need of foster homes, and Caroline insisted, over some hesitation from Chris, that they take one in. With Caroline and Chris’s love and care, Josie transformed from an anxious, timid, and un-housetrained dog to a dog every person fell in love with as soon as they met her. They finally found a great new home for Josie in October, where she lived happily until she suffered a fatal blood clot on Monday night. Caroline found out about this on Tuesday and was devastated. That night, Caroline had a hard time falling asleep, overwhelmed with sadness for Josie and Hudson, both of whom had been taken too soon from homes where they were adored and happy. I’ll let Caroline tell the rest of the story:
I woke up Wednesday morning with Zeva [one of their other two dogs] licking my hand to wake me up, as she does about every morning. I realized I was smiling and had been crying in my sleep. And then my dream came back to me. We were at the hospital with Josie while they put her down and while her body stayed on the table, we could see her “spirit” or whatever, walking down this long hallway towards some light. We were crying but she was just prancing along, as she always did. And then, all of a sudden, I saw Hudson. She came running down the hall from the other direction, towards Josie, as fast as her 2-year-old little legs could carry her, and squealed and then just wrapped her arms around Josie. Josie was thrilled. She has always loved kids and she just seemed ecstatic that Hudson was there. Hudson never looked at me standing there, she only had eyes for Josie. And then the 2 of them pranced off together down the hall, with Hudson babbling away. I couldn't understand what she was saying, but I knew she was telling Josie about all the great things they were going to do together.
Reading this brought both Ed and me to tears. For now, I’m just choosing to believe that Hudson was trying, in some way, on a day that was very, very sad for us, to let us know that she is OK and happy. I don’t know how much it changes about my sorrow, but it is certainly comforting to imagine.