“I love you.”

 

“You’re the best living being I have ever known.”

 

“I have been so blessed to have you in my life, for almost 16 years.”

 

“Can you please live forever?”

 

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t utter these words at least once to my beloved girl. Rolo and I have shared our lives for almost every day of those 16 years. I have pretty much always worked for myself, so by my side she has stayed. But by my side she cannot stay forever and the anticipatory grief is getting strong as that day inches closer. And I want to share with you how we’re dealing with said anticipatory grief – Rolo and I are living our best lives with every breath!

 

Travel Companions through every heartbreak and horror

Rolo and I both share a love of travel and have travelled top to bottom, East to West of the UK together. We have lived in France together, in Portugal together and more recently in Spain. ‘Together’ is the word that defines us. We have been here for each other, unconditionally, 365 days of those 16 years. Rolo has mended my broken heart, twice. She has given me the only reason to continue, once. But that once lasted four long years and she was there: Every. Single. Day.

Photo: author’s own

 

 

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour?

The timing of my meeting and choosing the naughtiest puppy in the room all those years ago, along with the invitation to write this article, was pure alignment; synchronicity. We are currently on one hell of a road trip, together! We are driving (Rolo unfortunately doesn’t drive – perhaps for her SEVENTEENTH birthday I’ll gift her driving lessons!) from southern Spain to the UK, via France and Belgium and back again. That’s over 4,000km of road we’re travelling together. 

As deep as I dig, I just don’t have the words to describe how amazing this adventure feels. How fortunate I am. However, there’s also a new awareness creeping in, brazenly shining a light on the reality of this trip. The reality is, it feels a little bit like Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ tour. I’m filled with anticipatory grief for my lifespan-exceeding doggie. 

You see, we are visiting old places that we have loved living in together. We are re-walking our daily walks along the French river from years past, meeting faces (and probably sniffing bottoms…Rolo, not me!) we haven’t connected with for over a decade. This a BIG deal for me, jam packed with emotion, nostalgia, and something else I just don’t have a word for… Does she remember? How does she feel? Is it confusing for her? Did I make a bad decision by bringing her here? Gosh, all the thoughts are going on but I have to tell you, this journey, and we’re only a quarter of the way through, has already been everything I could have hoped for, and then some.

Photo: author’s own

Give in memoriam to help street dogs

 

The dreaded anticipatory grief

I can honestly say, these past couple of years have brought about a new anxiety. When Rolo reached 12, I was both thankful that she had reached her ‘life expectancy’ and that I had been a responsible human enabling that. But at the same time I was filled with a gut-wrenching horror and sadness that our parting was getting closer. This is what they call anticipatory grief. As she stacks up more years, I’m both amazed and critically aware that she has far less living in front of her than what has already passed. Rolo’s joie de vivre and, to be honest, her sheer bloody bin-dipping-mindedness has pushed her through. In October we will gloriously celebrate her sweet 16th birthday! And we will keep celebrating until that heartbreaking day arrives.

I have so much love for my girl. Tell me, what do I do with this love when we can no longer be together?..

I keep the poem below close, and perhaps it can provide some comfort for someone suffering the loss of their best friend today. 

We continue on our Yellow Brick Road Tour, making the most of the bottom-sniffing, river-walking and nostalgia-tripping, as I try to keep my grief in check, for when the time comes.

With love,

Laura (and Rolo) xx

Photo: author’s own

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can’t say I loved you. I just can’t

Because it makes it sound as if my love is past tense. Gone, finished, ended.

And that is so far from the truth.

My love is not in the past. It will never be gone.

I love you now. Still.

You didn’t take all this love away with you. It stays. It lingers.

Some days it jumps up and hits me in the face just to remind me that it is still here. Still persevering.

Some days it nudges me. Challenges me to keep going. Daring me to find the strength to get through the day.

But mostly, it just resonates inside of me with everything I do. With every step forward and every glance back. Every close of my eyes. Every breath.

My love is not dependent on you being here.

There is nowhere far enough,

and nothing permanent enough

to stop me from loving you.

So I will not say I loved you.

Because I love you.

Still.

{Poem by Becky Hemsley}

Learn more about us

Subscribe to the DAR Newsletter below:

About the author

Laura Brown is a creative, an Artist and English Tutor. Originally from London, UK, she and Rolo now live part time in Andalucía, Spain, and the other, in her camper van travelling through Europe.

You can find out more about her work here: www.brownowleducation.com

en_USEnglish