A friend of mine recently asked if anyone believed in love anymore. I said, "I do." I absolutely do. Love is an overwhelming, unconditional, unyielding motivation to care and be there for someone. Simply put, they somehow have the power to make you do things for them even if you don't want to! Most people experience this when they have their first human child. Mine just happened to come in the form of the most handsome bulldog of all time:
Love is the memories I'll hold onto forever, so that even if Meatball isn't physically here with me, I can go to them when I'm tired, having a bad day or just want to channel comfort, peace and warmth. I'll remember the tickle of his fur when I snuggled him, the sound of his snoring and the smell he protruded whenever he needed a bath. It's like corn chips and soy sauce I swear. These are things that stay with me every moment of my life. This is love.
Love is also the sound of my friends and family's voices when I called them in a blind shock that day. I didn't know what to do or what to say, and I'm sure they didn't either. But I needed them and they sat with me, sharing their own loss, words of comfort, or just silence while I sobbed and tried to process what was happening. Love is being there for me while we hibernated from the world that week, doing what we could to cope.
Finally, love is the drive that Meatball fuels within me. His spirit is laced in everything I do. When I am totally stressed out, doing too many things and find it difficult to focus, I know I am never alone. It might sound weird, but I just remember how I used to come home each day to his loving, often sleepy face. The look in his eyes and the feeling of coming home to that big ol' face is like a sea of calm to me. Everything is better already.
I tell people that we probably won't get another bulldog until we have a house. Since his passing, I've devoted most of my philanthropic efforts to animal safety and rights. I donate to ASPCA monthly, volunteer with Bullldog Haven NW & Cascade Bulldog Rescue, and contribute my time, money and energy to PAWS on a regular basis (including participating in PAWSwalk, a tradition started when Meaty was 3.)
More than anything, love is knowing that Meatball's passing will never be something to get over. Rather, Meatball's spirit, light and amazing presence courses through my veins and will illuminate the rest of my life.