I thought for sure I'd see you in my dreams. Me, of the talking alarm clocks and other vivid sleeping manifestations of my anxiety and state of mind. You, of the endless antics and plentiful stories of joyful times to pull from in my subconscious. But, for reasons I do not understand, I have not, not once, dreamt of you. In the beginning, after you died, I noticed it often and wondered why I was keeping you away. Now I just find it a strange phenomenon to have persisted for a whole year.
My dreams would be a good place for you to visit though, away from my daily life where memories of you occasionally creep in at inappropriate times, making me cry in front of strangers a few more times than I’m comfortable doing. And we would have a lot more fun in my dreams.
I am mostly okay though, not because you are not with me always but because clichés are made for a reason and the passage of time dulls the pain. It likely helps that I am in a new house, a place you never knew, a place with no memory of exactly where I’d find you when I walked in the door, a place where I cannot tell what room you are in by the jingle of your collar.
I could have used you by my side, this last year. You missed a lot. You wouldn’t have liked the winter though; you never did appreciate the snow. But you would have been an excellent companion during some changes in my life. I am happy now though, happier than I’ve been in a while, even without your wagging tail to greet me daily. I have some lovely new friends and am newly close to some old ones. You’ll be jealous to know I’ve been taking a lot of walks in Cherokee Park. And no matter where I am, I always say a special hello when I see a beagle, though they are, of course, never quite as cute as you were. I spent some time trying to organize the hundreds of pictures I have of you, but it became too hard, too sad, and too overwhelming to decide how many pictures of you yawning I really needed. Now I just look at the ones I have framed around the house and those are enough to make me smile. I hope you don’t mind, but I gave away your two favorite dog beds to two grateful dogs, not because they made me sad, but because Humphrey and Madison needed them and I liked the idea of your soft beds still being appreciated. But don't worry, you are still a part of all my computer passwords. And even though I have now lived a full year without you, it is still strange to eat my pizza sitting down; eleven years of holding each slice high above my head to keep you from stealing it is a hard habit to break.
Mark misses you too and we still share our jokes and stories about you. He adopted a new dog, Sylvia, and she is crazy but loveable, kind of like he is. It still bothers me that you never met Mark’s girlfriend, Sweet Carrie. She has two nice doggies you would have befriended immediately, not that you ever really met a creature you didn’t like. Everyone keeps asking me when I am going to get a new dog, but I figure when it is time, one will find me the way you did.
So, dear Frodo, this year of firsts without you is over. Maybe next year will be about finding total peace in your absence. But I will always remember you for all that you were to all of us.