How do you put into words losing the thing that you held dearest in your life? Me, husband, dog. That's who I was. Until I wasn't.
While on holiday in Byron Bay, we lost our beautiful, crazy dog. I wrote baby, went over it with dog, I guess for the people who don't understand that bond. But fuck it. I miss him more than I could have ever imagined.
We don't know what happened, never will. It was all so quick, the best guess the vet had was snake bite. All I know for sure is that I'll carry the guilt with me forever for not getting him help in time. Guilt and sadness have become such opposite, but constant, emotions for me that the gut-wrenching guilt is almost easier to deal with.
Marcel was not loyal, not at all obedient, and was rarely happier in our company than a stranger's, but that's why we loved him so much. None of the cliches about man's best friend ring true for him, the same that no dog rearing advice applied to him.
Our suburb seems to be in mourning, which is both comforting and devastating. Not a day has gone by since we got home from holidays that I haven't been in tears on the street. Tears from some unexpected memory sparked, or from consoling someone who stops us and asks why he isn't with us, because he always was, and who breaks down when told the news.
He was our wombat cow pig koala panda Tasmanian devil bear. What got us out of bed at 5:30 every day, and had us racing each other home to be the one to walk him. We turned down invitations because nothing was as good as being with him.
Life has been, to be honest, shit. Nothing is the same without him and it feels like we're just biding time with nothing to look forward to. Being away when it happened was both a blessing and a curse. We had no idea what to do, but were looked after by the most wonderful people, whose kindness I will never forget. Being on leave, we had plenty of time to sit, dwell, drink and sob until we didn't think we could any more. Then we came home and the grief started brand new and fresh, when we realised exactly what life was like without him.
The four years he was in our lives were the best, no question. The day we brought him home was like every Christmas I'd ever had, times ten. We were smitten from the first photo at a couple of days old, and he'll have our hearts in his dirty little paws forever. When we first got him, people would point, stare and whisper at this strange little dog with small man syndrome. Over time, Frenchies became a 'thing' and we were asked constantly where we got him from. But never have I seen a Frenchie quite like Marcel.
This weekend we are babysitting Marcel's friend Pom Pom. It's been both heart breaking and a joy to have him. He's not Marcel, nothing like him. It's just having another dog here, without my terror to harass him, another strange thing.
Hug your babies, hug them more than they can stand. I know I never missed a chance to hug Marcel, and I'll never have another chance again.