The other night she told me as she was nuzzling in my shoulder, preparing for sleep.
“I miss Doggy,” she whimpered. Then she mimed petting the air in the space between us. “But she’s right here.”
We are not a religious family. We do not talk about or believe in God in the “traditional” sense. But somehow, Jack figured out it would comfort Emily if he told her that Doggy was an angel, and was beside her at any time.
Emily snuggled back down into my arms. “We can’t see her, though,” she said mournfully.
“No, Honey,” I acknowledged. “But it’s kind of like love. We can’t see love, but we know it is there. Just like with Doggy. Love doesn’t go away.”
“Do you know I can pray while I’m sleeping?” Emily asked.
“Yes. And tonight I’m gonna’ pray for our dog. For Doggy.” She stroked the air by my hip where she imagined Doggy to be.
“That’s nice, Honey,” I whispered into the dark. “That’s a nice thing to do.”
I didn’t know if I should feel sad about this immense grief my daughter shares with me over losing out dog, or if I should feel proud she was handling it with such grace and dignity.
Emily fell asleep with her head on my shoulder moments later.
I laid there, anchored by the weight of her on me. I had a list of stuff to do before putting myself to bed, but I stayed for a few minutes, listening to her breath, feeling her hard, solid skull pressing against my shoulder.
And in that moment, Doggy was there, wiggling in and sighing between us, filling us with love.