Stan Was Here

This article has been immensely helpful to me in articulating my grief after Stanley’s death.
How to Grieve a Very Good Dog by Annette McGivney.

Since I was 25, Stanley has alleviated my pain. His absence feels like a massive burden that I simply can’t set down. Allowing myself to feel the intensity of my emotions (rather than attempting to “push through”) has been helpful. Writing has been helpful. So I write!

Much love to you, as always.

The last time I visited family in North Carolina, Stanley was with me. It felt nice to have a co-pilot on the nine hour drive. It was hot that summer. 86 degrees by 6AM with 90% humidity. We did our walking before sunrise. Stan dug a hole in the yard, under the trailer, to keep away from the sun.

At night, with the AC cranked, we slept on an air mattress in the home office. I let him sleep next to me, even though it was prohibited. His claws could easily puncture the bed, but nothing catastrophic happened. We rolled toward each other on the center of the mattress. Back to back, spine to spine.

When we left, I scrawled a note on the whiteboard: “Stan was here”, accompanied by a caricature of his giant head.

I visited North Carolina for the first time without him last month. I slept on the same saggy air mattress. I noticed his likeness, still scrawled on the whiteboard.

I plan to continue making this caricature of him when traveling. In the margins of all my notes.

An offering to his memory wherever I go.