I've always said that about our pets when they pass on ~ they never really leave you. I didn't mean it literally. Until now.
Every bit of what I'm about to tell you is true. And, if, after reading it, you think I've really gone 'round the bend, you can call me crazy. (You crazy, Cindi!) But I believe it. And we have found a surprising comfort and solace in it.
About a month ago we interviewed a woman to help us around the house a couple of times a month. I didn't know her and The Mister had only met her once when she was a guest at his BNI (Business Networking International) meeting one morning. She came highly recommended by a couple of people in the group so we set up an interview.
About five minutes into our interview with her Simba peeked out from behind my chair, looking right at the woman (we'll just call her S) and peed on the carpet. The Mister and I were used to her having an accident now and then (at 16 it happens) but this seemed deliberate ~ and surprising that she would just squat and pee in front of us; she usually snuck off to another room.
Yesterday as we pieced things together we think we know why.
S only saw Simba one time after that initial meeting. At this point in her life Simba had grown silent, not barking, not yodeling, not making a sound. But when S leaned down to speak to her, she growled.
Fast forward to yesterday... S was here to clean (only her second time here) and she knew that we had said goodbye to our girl just 2 days prior. As we do, we would chat now and then and she remarked that it is so interesting being in people's homes and picking up their energy. (She had told me earlier that she was empathic - and yes, I had to Google it, too. Here's a quick explanation. Think John Edward. No, not John Edwards. John Edward the medium - the guy on TV who knows your dead Uncle.) I asked what she felt in our house.
"Simba. She's here."
I thought ~ well, ok. Of course we feel her presence and see her at every turn. But not literally.
S says, "She's been following me for about an hour. Is there something about snacks? Her treats? She's looking for them."
Ok - this is where I got chills. I said, "I just put them away this morning. They were on the counter but I put them in the pantry."
"Well, she isn't happy about that."
So I put them back on the counter. I'm not kidding.
I said, "We haven't been able to put her beds away either."
S- "Don't. She won't like that."
Before S left we were chatting a bit more and she said, "I see an older man ~ someone in Charlie's family who has passed. A real dog lover..."
I racked my brain and couldn't really come up with anyone.
"He's tall and he's wearing jeans and a - not flannel - more of a denim shirt. And he's waiting for Simba."
The dim light in my brain began to brighten ~ "Maybe it's his Grandpa Russell. He was a farmer. And I think he had a fondness for his dogs."
Now S got chills. She asked if Simba had been kind of gazing off in the distance a few days before she passed. Yes, she had. "She was looking at Grandpa Russell. He was there for her."
Enter The Mister ~ and S told him everything. He's convinced she was describing his Grandpa Russell, who as it turns out really did love dogs. And he quite often wore jeans and denim shirts.
Saying our goodbyes at the door, S says "I'm leaving now, Simba!" And turning to us said, "She's been trying to shush me out the door for an hour."
We later thought ~ well, Simba always did hate the vacuum and that's what S had been doing for the last hour.
So as we reflect on all this we wonder if maybe Grandpa Russell came in the house when S did. If he sat by her in that interview and Simba saw him, she was either scared or defiant so she peed. And if the next time S was here and leaned down to speak to Simba, Grandpa Russell was right next to her so Simba growled.
The Mister shared with me that the other night when I was yakking away about something he swore he heard the light jingle, jangle, jingle of Simba's tags on her collar - as if she were coming down the stairs. But he thought he was just imagining it.