Sunday August 17, 2008 was a difficult day for everyone in our family. In truth, it was a difficult day for the entire neighbourhood. MacGregor was not just idolized by his family, but it turns out, also by many of the neighbours. Many noticed his absence that very day and rang the doorbell asking if he was ok. He hadn’t greeted them at the gate with a few loud barks while they passed by and they were concerned. With every ring of the doorbell our hearts broke a little more….
As difficult as August 17th was, the year since his passing hasn’t been much easier. Everywhere we look, be it the living room, the kitchen, the backyard, the front yard, the garage, we still see our little MacGregor. In truth, the house was more his than ours and he wandered around as he wished and because of this, we still see him everywhere we turn. Opening the dishwasher brings memories of MacGregor sneaking up to the open door in a fruitless attempt to lick a plate when we weren’t looking. Opening the cupboard where we kept his treats still brings tears as we turn around and notice that he’s no longer waiting behind us for his tasty morsel. Even showering just isn’t the same anymore because we know that once we open the bathroom door, MacGregor won’t be there on the other side waiting for us. Friends come over and still MacGregor seems to always pop up in the conversation. Not because we keep bringing him up but rather the guests do. No one was allowed in the house without first greeting him and then allowing him to sniff through their purse or backpack as if he was sniffing for drugs. Of course, he was just looking for his treat as he’d grown accustomed to visitors hiding a treat or two in their bags. They’d laugh and call him the customs inspector. Nowadays, I sometimes glance over at a friend’s purse or backpack and can still see him, his tail pointed straight up in the air, his head buried in the bag sniffing madly for his surprise.
We’ve often sat down at dinner time and wondered how many times, throughout a normal day, we used to utter the word “MacGregor”. We’ve concluded that it must’ve been well over one hundred times a day. The word “MacGregor” became the most spoken word in our house. Speaking a word over one hundred times a day, 365 days a year for fourteen years and then suddenly, one day simply stopping altogether is an immensely difficult task. The word still swirls around in your mind and yet your lips and tongue refuse to move. It’s almost as if they are in a state of paralysis hoping that the brain will soon move on to other thoughts. This is the situation our household still finds itself, one year after our beloved MacGregor left us, slowly falling asleep one last time in my arms. Some days are better than others, but overall the progress is slow. We still cry, indeed the tears are streaming down my cheeks now as I write this, but we hope the next year will be easier. They say time heals everything and slowly their will be less bad days and more better days, but for now, we continue on with the word “MacGregor” still spinning round and round in our heads…