Okami

Today, I let go of the closest I have known of a soulmate on four legs. My wolf dog Okami. Okami is Japanese for great wolf spirit, and he was and is the embodiment of this name. He was otherworldly, wise, gentle, and my shadow for the four precious months we spent in together in these bodies in this life.

I am not sure I can explain in any kind of language—verbal, written, musical, or beyond—the kind of connection I felt with this sentient being. Perhaps, the connection itself was otherworldly and thus meant to carry on from this life to the next.

People we met sensed this quality in him and told me so. at the vet this afternoon, Technicians kissed him and whispered their love for him moments before and after his heart stopped beating.

And he picked me. I picked him as well. I think it was our destiny to spend this time together, if only to secure our bond for lifetimes to come.

As I type, he lies peacefully on a towel to my left. I am sitting  on the carpeted floor of my bedroom, a fan blowing the stuffy, humid, afternoon heat into the room. Not that I feel it. Periodically, I reach out and stroke his fur. I gently guide my fingers up the slope of his nose toward the crown of his head and bring them down in a circle, ending just behind his eyes. I take my hand and bring it from his neck and shoulders all the way to his tail. His beautiful tail, the one that caught everyone’s attention, especially when he was happy. In response to his joy, his tail would curl up in a glorious wave of the fluffiest, white fur you will ever see.

It is strange to think that I will have to part with him yet again when I place him in the ground. I want to keep something—a cutting of fur just does not seem enough. Perhaps, I could cut off his paw and keep it. Or take an eyeball. How long does it take for a body to decompose? Could I dig him up and keep his skeleton? If we move, can I take him with us?

Of course, I know how morbid and ridiculous this all sounds. It is not these pieces of him that I want but the entire being. I want my dog, my soulmate, the creature I tried so hard to save and thought I had.

There are many “if only’s” that run through my mind, but I know this kind of thinking will not change the fact that he is gone. And I know he is still here, with me in my heart. I just want him in body, mind, heart, and spirit.

Do you need a few more minutes? My writing was interrupted by the gentle voice of my partner’s son came from the doorway. He had been digging a hole.

A wave of electricity ran through my body at the thought of parting with Okami’s body, lifeless as it was. It still smelled like him when I buried my face in the thick fur around his neck. How could I find a way to capture his smell? How could I find a way to keep him?

Of course I’m not ready. I deserved more time. We deserved more time together.

I remember carrying him into the vet and watching the vet and one of the secretaries place him on a stretcher to carry into one of the patient rooms. When they carried him out of the room to bring him to a treatment area for oxygen, he lifted his head to look back at me. I wish now that I had gone back with him. I could have been with him during all of the time waiting for bloodwork and test results.

When I walked into the treatment area at the vet, I saw him stretched out on a long table. A technician held an oxygen mask over his muzzle. I spoke to him as I approached and wrapped arms around him. He lifted his head into my chest so the top of his head touched the bottom of my chin. He let his head fall into my arms. I stroked the fur on his muzzle, drawing my finger back toward the top of his head and around his eyes, over and over again, all the while whispering to him how much I loved him, over and over again.

And for the second time this year, I felt the final breath of a four-legged beloved leave the body. I felt the wave of life pass over and leave. I knew he was at peace, but I just felt empty. I knew we had chosen each other, but I had thought we had more time.

The hole is ready, but I am not.

Of course I’m not ready.

I will never be ready to say goodbye to a piece of my heart, my soulmate.

I will never be ready.

Never.

Ever.

But if I have to say goodbye to your body, I want you to know how deeply you are loved and in my heart forever. That I am with you always and that we are together in spirit and will be together again in body. This I know. This I promise.

Be at peace, my dearest love.

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