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October 13, 2016

Remember The First Day

Grief is a black hole. It swallows all emotion and color and light from the world. It drags your entire universe towards its invisible maw with the promise to crush each atom of your soul from existence. Like cosmic black holes, emotional black holes form when a star dies. At the center of my grief, the singularity of it all, is the day of Eko's death. I cannot escape it. My grief is unbounded in the joy it can swallow. It reaches back in time and begins to destroy all the love which came before it. This I cannot abide.
Grief is a black hole. It swallows all emotion and color and light from the world. It drags your entire universe towards its invisible maw with the promise to crush each atom of your soul from existence. Like cosmic black holes, emotional black holes form when a star dies. At the center of my grief, the singularity of it all, is the day of Eko’s death. I cannot escape it. My grief is unbounded in the joy it can swallow. It reaches back in time and begins to destroy all the love which came before it. This I cannot abide. Before I move forward I must look back. I must stand opposed to the gravity of my sorrow. I must hold each treasured memory against grief’s pull to grind it into nothingness. I cannot shoulder this burden alone, so as always, I turn to Eko. Instead of remembering our last day, I remember our first. I hold the memory like I held my puppy – with tenderness and devotion. I hold on to his sweet smell, his soft coat and his wet nose. I cannot feel it today, but oh do I hold on to that memory of pure, uncompromising love. And so I build my wall. Grief may take me now, but I will not surrender to it a moment of the bliss I lived with Eko. When next you suffer, grieve. Because you may not know how to get through this day or the next one. I don’t. But also remember the first day. The first kiss, the first smile, the first time life felt so perfect you hesitated to breathe because you might lose the moment. Remember the spark that set your heart on fire. Grief steals today, but I will not let it rob me of the love I shared with Eko. I remember the first day. I remember my spark.

Comments for Remember The First Day

  1. I send a big hug and lots of power to you. It’s a good way to look back, the joy and all this beautiful moments you had together will help you this time…. and I hope so much that all this wonderful memories can dry some of your tears…

  2. Victoria Coleman says:

    so well written! and what a wonderful thing to do! I remember your early posts – Eko is one of a kind – and what a kind and wonderful being he was.

  3. Beautifully stated Will……while all the wonderful moments don’t erase the sorrow of the last ones, they help tremendously. I was thinking this morning about the day we brought Sam home from the shelter – the happiness I felt just looking at him. As I watch him maneuvering the slow decline of his health in his old age, those moments from the start are like shining jewels in the darkness and I’ll focus on those and not the parting as painful as it will be. Eko was such a HUGE part of your lives – it takes a long time for those voids to fill in – and still they never quite do! Sending hugs……………..

    Pam (and Sam)

  4. Piglove says:

    Oh my friend. I’m so sorry for your grief. I think of you often and your loss of your beloved Eko. Words can’t make that grief go away. It’s a process that sometimes feels like eternity. Take the time you need and relive every moment you can. Through all of the pain of grief, Eko was and still is a bright star in your life. He left his paw prints on your heart and there they will always remain. Much love my dear friend. XOXO – Bacon

  5. lauramcgrew says:

    Will, it takes great courage to face it, wrestle it.
    I believe you have that courage.
    Praying for you to have even more.

  6. Shary Hover says:

    Your beautiful writing is a balm to all who share the sorrow of losing a beloved dog. Thank you for letting us grieve with you.

  7. Aud says:

    Yesterday I started to looking back at some of the posts you’ve shared starting from Feb 2014 and on when Dutch was still with you all, I’m crying every time I think about you and Eko, yes still, since the news reached us, but looking back at the photos of how Eko interacted with Penny cracks a big smile in the streams of tears, it’s maddening sad and sweet! Eko wasn’t my pup, but you’ve shared so much of him with us in such heart warming ways that he had become a distance member of my life! So thank you and Eko! Have you read the poem – The Rainbow Bridge? Cry your heart out, and enjoy looking back, then share the same kind of life you had with Eko forward with Penny, she also has to deal with that huge hole in her existence right now!

  8. Cindy Delgatto says:

    The innocence of his face, ready to face the world with you and his stuffed lion!! That face speaks so much “I may be small but I hold a love in my heart for you that is so large it will forever be with you. Together we will face this world with laughter and joy”. Together you and Eko grew in both age and wisdom. You both added to your family and the love just grew even wider. There will be no end to that love. Grief will try to swallow you up and darken your world, but Eko’s love was so large and bright it will guide a path for you towards healing.

  9. Ellen Quilty says:

    Will I wish for all the world that you were not going through all this.That feeling that your limbs are made of cement and that ache that makes it hurt to breathe are two things I remember experiencing.It takes a long time to pass but it does eventually believe it or not.Eko was your adventure buddy,your friend,your muse and maybe even your alter ego at times and so much more.The fact that he is no longer here is such a blow that can only be lessened with the memories of him.And what memories you have!Cry,scream,moan,break open yet another box of Kleenex,write,write and write some more.
    Sending hugs.

  10. Michael Bondor says:

    Thank you.

  11. Connie Taylor says:

    Pups at that stage of life give us all such promise for the future. Your future now is to take each day slowly and with purpose and remembering all the great times you had with Eko. You allowed so many of us to have shared those experiences and we thank you for that. Grief is one of the worst things we all have shared at one time or another, but it is the building block for strength, love, and compassion and allows those close you to start anew together. And remember, Penny is there to remind you that you must get up, take her on walks, have new adventures and more importantly to “Pee”!

  12. Kismet says:

    Death and demise come with the territory. We can’t even save ourselves from it. You’re doing well to remember the good times with Eko. The end of them comes with the deal. I don’t think you’d turn down the deal.

  13. Rose Frame says:

    Laura is right. Penny is around to try to work towards a smile and warm your heart a little.

  14. Jo Rhodes says:

    When you told us the news I felt the shock that’s followed by the thoughts that questioned this horrible new reality. I kept thinking there was a mistake. Surely , you would come back and say it was a false alarm. After all Eko , like every special pet , signed the contract that says He’ll love us and be here forever. I stared at the black square for days . I sat with you crying– sobbing and hoping for just one more memory. I missed you this summer. And then I too went back into your blog and relived falling in love with Eko and Penny . I ache in a different way because I never got to scratch that ridge! But I need to keep your boy with me and my boys. Thank you for the pictures and words that let light penetrate the grief. Belly rubs for Penny. Good job getting out of bed.

  15. Elyse says:

    This is the only way forward. Sadly and with love.

  16. Ella says:

    Beautifully put. ♥

  17. Shalini says:

    Love little Eko puppy <3

  18. My husband still can’t/won’t look at pictures of khia. He never allowed himself to grieve. My heart is so broken for you, Will. – Samantha

  19. Thank you for your beautiful words during your time of grief. These words should be remembered by all. Hugs friend, hang in there.

  20. Katy says:

    Oh, Will!
    May every dog find a friend like you and may every person find a dog like Eko.
    Words are small in comparison to how you feel but be sure Eko will always be with us all and thus he will live forever! <3

  21. Jamie Sease says:

    Will, Emily & Penny,
    I still look back on the first post about Eko’s passing like is was a dream. My heart hurts for the three of you so much. I never knew that I could be so emotional for a family that I have only met through words and pictures. Don’t forget to take care of each other.

  22. TheRidgebackLife says:

    I was laying on my bed last night paging through all of your blogs I’ve kept in a file. My favorites are, of course, the videos of bitey face battles. Neeka and Khoi were curled up next to me and, out of nowhere, Neeka slaps a paw at Khoi’s shoulder. He’s up and in war mode. They had the most epic battle. I could do nothing but smile at them, even when they started stepping all over my bare legs. I felt sorrow at the same time, thinking about what Penny is surely missing. I felt sympathy knowing what you and Emily are missing. Once their battle was over, they hung over me and I grabbed their heads into a group hug. They wanted to go outside for a mad minute. We did. They did. Then Khoi promptly ran off to a neighbor’s house. Once again I thought, “Why can’t he be more like Eko?”
    Thank you, once again, for sharing him with us. Kiss on Penny’s nose from us and maybe a tug on her ear from Khoi.

  23. coastingnz says:

    Well done Will. Baby steps and that is certainly a good one. It is the memories that will last forever – no matter what. We all know what a fabulous boy Eko was and this is his way of not letting you forget either. He won’t let you forget – he is now your Angel and he did bring you such love and joy and that will stay with you forever.

  24. Remembering past days is a great way to walk forward. #rememberitall

  25. Fozziemum says:

    So beautifully written Will..and so apt as indeed these precious pups are the centre of our universe..i had a beautiful dream about Forrest not long after we lost him..he was no longer white around the muzzle and he rushed me knocked me down and licked my face like crazy..i hugged him tight and could smell his fur..it was so real so precious i woke in tears..again..but i knew i just knew he was fine…i hold onto that as best i can..and try not to let my mind go to his last moments which can like a thief steal my heart at any time and render me inconsolable..those puppy kisses are precious..and we send our virtual hugs again….

  26. Pat says:

    Love seeing him before he grew into his ears. Thanks for that.

  27. As you remember, you will find humor and laughter. It’s perfectly normal and healthy. I’m heartened to see you moving forward. Believe it or not, looking back at the good times is a way to move forward. This is why humans have funerals and wakes. We gather together and look back at a life lived with fondness, love, humor, and sadness. I guess we (your blog family) are the attendees. Maybe there is something to be said for pet funerals.

    I keep meaning to ask you if you have reached out to your brother and Doc. I would think they would be a great source of comfort and empathy. Even Doc weathered a loss if I remember the story of his adoption correctly.

  28. The good times are the ones to savor, today and always. They help mute the sad times. Thank you for sharing your joyful life with Eko. We are all blessed from your sharing his all too short of a life. Healing hugs to you and ear scratches for Penny-girl. ღ

  29. Karen in Oregon says:

    Well said, Will…Remember the spark. Never forget the love, NEVER! We have two ridgies now who rock our world, but before they came along, we had an amazing little grey rescue poodle. Oh how we adored him! We treated him like a child, heck, we called him our son. He traveled with us, flew on airplanes with us, went to work with us, was smuggled into more restaurants than I can count, and pretty much made our hearts whole. He, like Eko, left us suddenly. The pain left us shattered. We were broken, and I doubted we could ever recover.

    But we did. It was our memories, and the love we shared with our little man, Curly, that got us through the pain. Grief took hold of us for a long time, but love eventually won. It always does.

    I know someday I will meet up with my little guy, and I will hold him, feel his breath, smell him and be with him forever. I never lose this hope. I know he is waiting for me. Eko is too.

    Take care. Thank you for sharing your beautiful dogs with us.

  30. Sarah Pressl says:

    Will, I wish I could have had your blog nearly 10 years ago when I lost my Sugar. I felt so alone in the unending grief (I mourn still to this day) and I didn’t think anyone else understood. I admire you for putting these horrible feelings out into the open for the world to read. We need more people like you.

  31. ((((hugs)))) that is why when my soul kitty passed in 2007, I missed him so desperately that I went to Target and bought collage frames for EVERY ROOM (because I couldn’t bear him NOT being in every room with me anymore). I assembled photos and hung those collages so that I could see him in each and every room that I entered. That was in 2007 as I said above and they are still hanging. ((((hugs))))

  32. big hugs from us to all of you. Good to read that you have the courage to look back at Eko’s love. We love to hear from you and look back with you. X willemijn

  33. Emmadog says:

    Going through all the photos and memories is very painful but it does help us with the healing process. The hurt is something one can’t imagine.

  34. Will I am so very sorry for your loss. Your tribute was beautiful. The grief we feel over our pets, no they are much more than that, they are our friends and companions, is so great! Hold onto those fond memories.

  35. cafall says:

    Sending all of you so much love.

    Monty, Harlow and Ramble

  36. Karen says:

    I cannot help it. again, and again and again, you bring me to tears. How can it be, the story of a lost pet that I never hugged, rubbed his velvety ears, or had a game of tug-of-war or a stroll on a warm, fragrant evening together makes my heart ache for the three of you. Somehow we your readers feel your pain, wish for the healing to begin and send you strength. Sending doggy kisses from my precious Emily.

  37. Oh Will, this is so beautiful. Thank you. My sweet Callie got her angel wings over a year ago; and while my grief is not as raw, it does still bring tears to my eyes at times. She was my heart dog, as Eko was yours. Love and wags from Shadow and Ducky, love from me. RIP Eli.

  38. PS. Sorry about the misspelling – autocorrect drives me nuts!

    RIP Eko.

  39. Alex says:

    I remember showing my wife your videos while I was trying to break her down into getting our first dog as a couple (specifically a Rhodesian Ridgeback). She eventually gave in…now we have Huntly, and the three of us couldn’t be happier. We’ve never met, but Eko had a direct positive influence on my life, my wife’s, and my dog’s…and in that way, he lives on forever.

  40. Ellen Quilty says:

    I don’t think my Instagram message went through but I just wanted to say that I’m glad you can manage a watery smile today.Those slapping tails and Eko’s airplane ears are so funny.Nikki’s ears do the same thing in the wind and it cracks me up every time.I hope you have a nice weekend plan so you can relax a bit and exhale.

  41. Jo Rhodes says:

    Miles of empty beach and Penny’s running in circles! I love the look on Eko”s face. Yep, she’s mine.
    Those tails look lethal. I don’t know how you resisted just snuggling right in.
    Thanks for this. How are you, Emily and Penny and today?
    Love and more love, Jo, Sam and Dean

  42. Eve says:

    Just a beautiful post and still having to fight thru some tears that want to fall and always reminds me of the ones we have lost too soon! Still hard to believe that he is gone. Hugs to you, Emily & Penny!

  43. ana teresa camara says:

    I am with vou. Sending love ando comfort. Thanking for sharing Eko with us all.
    Four years ago, your blog helped me deeply when I lost my 12 years old RR Nilo. I knew goodby was dificult and painfull and when reald about Eko, I remember the pain, the emptiness and lhe question ” What I am going to do whitout him?!”
    Now I remember him and I smile looking at the photos ando the vídeos. And I have Mel, my big ridgie girl.
    Througt her eyes I see him and I thank her every good moments of my life. I thank for these special family members ridgies are.
    You’ll rever forget Eko and neither do we. You ‘ll have ” muitas saudades” as we say in portuguese.
    You have two beautifull ladies to love.
    Give Penny a big, big bug.
    Love From Portugal

  44. Looking back is always really hard, especially when you’re in the raw time just after a bereavement. But after a while looking back is what makes life easier. Thinking of Alfie nicking a chicken from the oven made me sob after his death, now, it makes me laugh again, and feel proud that such a quirky goofy dog shared his life with me. I loved him so, as Eko loved you, and would have wanted you to smile for having known him. Big hugs xx PS He was one cute pup 🙂

  45. Esther Walker says:

    I have just returned to your blog after a while away. I was so saddened to learn of Eko’s death. I list my ridgeback Hector in 2010, he was only 3.5yrs old. The grief was overwhelmingly and to be honest I think it was not until the 2.5 yr point that I felt the grief really lift. Your blog was part of my road to recovery in subsequent years. I enjoyed hearing about RKO and seeing him. I was comforted by your blog. I also was inspired when you talked about not waiting for life to be perfect before getting another dog. My dear friend needed her ridgeback looked after, I didn’t hesitate to give him a home. Rafiki was Hectors best friend and when I see familiar behaviors he brings Hector back into my life. He has also brought a joy back that was missing. This dreadful, aching pain that you feel will lessen and change but it will take time. I wish you joy in your journey on with Penny.

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