It's been a rough few days. On Thursday Charlie passed away gently and without any pain in his sleep. It was sudden and unexpected. I don't want to be writing this, but the grief and numbness feels so consuming.
I never thought I would be seeing him for the last time when I scratched his head and gave him a thorough rub down before my flight out. Nothing in his eyes suggested anything other than pure joy, happiness and love. Now I don't think I'll be able to forgive myself for not being there to hold him as he went away. There won't be any closure, and everything now feels so absolute and final.
It was so easy to love Charlie, as he so easily fell in love with everyone he met. He loved to eat more than anything, as is often the case with most labs. This immense brown mass of fur and fat just constantly wanting and needing to be near you; to hold your hand while you watched TV; to nuzzle into your lap as you tried to do some work. He was never like the other dogs, and that made it easier to think of him as someone special who by some miracle came into my life for a decade.
I remember way back when we first had him as a puppy, and Mum brought him along for the after school pickup. I can't imagine a more perfect little unaware pile of fluff rolling around the school grounds followed by two very concerned parents. He was always in his own world - wandering off to smell the flowers instead of playing with other dogs, and casually allowing himself to get dry humped by every other dog at the beach.
I'll miss the soft smell of cinnamon after he came back from the groomers each and every time. I'll miss his complete and utter terror of jumping out of the car. I'll miss his blissed out face as we lathered him up at the dog wash (just a long extended wet hug really). That one time he smashed Dim in the balls will stay with me forever, as well as the time he pooed on the carpet out of sheer excitement that Reb had shown up at the door. He always maintained those twinkling puppy dog eyes that made you weak at the knees, even as the fur around his muzzle started to grey and the cataracts began to turn opaque.
He was always there, ready and willing to just be your friend. I can't help but feel that I took it for granted while he was still around, and that I didn't put more care into my last farewell to him - but I guess that's the harsh reality of hindsight.
I miss him so much, and I'm not ready to describe him in the past tense. Life is just so much easier having a dog by your side. I can't believe he's gone.
Thank you for everything.