I am just in the first several chapters of "Dog Years," but wanted to send you a quick note to tell you how much its contents are resonating with me. I am a librarian and one of my friends and colleagues recommended your book, thinking that it would be a tool in dealing with my own grief.
You see, my life partner of 15+ years (that's 30 years in straight life) died on June 19 of glioblastoma multiforme, the self-same brain cancer that Ted Kennedy has. He was diagnosed on March 13, so the whole journey was like taking a bullet train to a bleak and depressing destination.
As you can probably imagine, I have been reading all kinds of literature to help me cope with his loss. One of the books with which I have found particular empathy is Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." I can identify so very well with the idea that, at some level, I still expect Charles to be returning at any moment. Although I might have an intellectual grasp on his departure, I still have that need to think that he's out there on one of his research trips (yes, he was a university professor, too) and that he will be walking in the door and climbing the stairs at any time.
Although I don't have dogs (we have cats - two surly Siamese whom I love), I have an affinity for all animals - sometimes more than humans. During my last visit to my therapist, who is helping me through my bereavement, I read the passage in your book where you’ve taken Beau to and from the vet. Yes, I cried as I read it - it's all about life and loss and being human (and being a dog).
Thanks for your book. I seem to be reading through it very slowly - I have to stop occasionally because it summons emotions and I find myself needing to allow time to feel them. Thanks for helping me to wade through the myriad emotions that comprise the territory of grief.