Each morning I wake up and the first thought that pops into my head - before I'm even aware I'm awake - is that Finnegan is not downstairs waiting for me and a fresh wave of sadness washes over me.
Each time I leave the house and then arrive back home my stomach does a little excited flip when I'm opening the door waiting for Finney to greet me until I realize that she isn't there.
We don't need to take her for a walk, get the fun of giving her treats, have to make sure she has plenty of fresh water and that the couch cushions are uncluttered so she can make herself comfortable there.
Day by day time moves on and it is getting a little easier. I'm re-learning how to live in a house without a dog and I don't like it very much. I still talk to her as if she is here and pretend she is in another room. I look at her photo a lot and it makes me smile. We had a nice sunny day yesterday and I was sad that she wasn't here for me to take for a long walk - she would have loved the long walk that came along with sunny winter days.
We have some home video of her chasing her beloved ball when she was a baby. We watch it frequently and laugh - Julia especially loves the video. It's nice to remember her energetic puppy days.
I went through photos from the last few years to find Finnegan photos. It's amazing just how much she was woven into the fabric of our family. It reminded me of all the fun memories we made with her.
- We took her to others' houses, for walks on Main Street, to the park, on errands, car trips to drop off or pick up the girls from school, on vacations.
- She chased balls, chewed toys, was front and center for many of Emma's at home therapy sessions.
- She would always lay on top of the many blankets Julia coated the floor with for her baby dolls. When Julia realized Finney wasn't going to move off the blankets she gave in and covered her up like she did her baby dolls. Julia also liked to pretend Finney was her customer at her beauty salon and Finn was more than happy to humor her as Julia combed her hair, painted her nails, dressed her up and "blew dried" her hair.
- She hated when the smoke alarm went off, didn't mind flies outside but if they were in the house she often hid upstairs from them!, changed rooms whenever the vacuum was in use, barked indignantly if we went on a walk to the store without her, and did not like Schnauzer dogs.
- She had lots of quirks with the most notable being not liking to walk on various indoor surfaces - wood laminate being her most avoided flooring.
- Until recently she jumped in our bed each morning, happy to be up snuggling with us while we enjoyed the extra sleep it gave us. The last few months she stopped going up the stairs, preferring to sleep the night away on the couches.
I've felt Finnegan around me recently. Little things - like a tennis ball rolling under my car - feel like a direct message from her to me that she is happy in heaven. As Chris said, she will never have another "incomplete fetch" to drive her crazy. Of course, he also said the tennis ball is from the next door neighbor's dog! It probably is, but it never landed on our side before so I think it's Finn at work.
The good memories are comforting. They are helping us all move on while still honoring her memory.