Goodbye, dear Sam.

I lost a companion of twelve years today, on May Day, with the air heavy with perfume and every tree looking like a wedding cake.
A dozen years and hundreds of roadtrips, camping trips, hikes and adventures. Though he was a heeler, a herding dog by nature, Sam slept in my bed and shared a pillow with me from the day we met. He curled beside my on motel beds and in desert tents. He spent many a long day on many a dusty highway in the passenger seat of my car, breathing in the scent of the open road.
I'd like to press the rewind button. I'd like to re-set the clock. Grief is a terrible thing, and there is no erasing a companion like this from the heart. It is a cruel twist of nature that we love our dogs so much, and that we outlive them by so many years. I don't want his ashes, or a headstone, but I need to remember him like this...by all those happy days on the road, in our element.
So this is how I chose to pay tribute to the most beloved of companions. These are the images that I hope passed through his head as he passed. I hope he saw all this, smelled the red dust of the high deserts that we loved so much.
I hope he remembered cactus flowers the scent of pine and cedar, of creosote bushes after a rain.
I hope he remembers the hot sand that slides silky underfoot, and the changing scenery, dawn to dusk, as we traveled together.
I hope he remembered the trickle of fresh water through the dry land, and the patterns it makes.
All the wonders of nature, in which we spent so many of our happiest days together.
I hope this is what he saw, and what he sees now. I hope he is here in all these things, in the fresh water and the breezes heavy with perfume, in the great blousing branches of the flowering trees, and the dusty winds off the desert.
I hope he's there in the wind that brushes my face, and in those endless shoals of clouds scudding across a spring sky.
This is for you, Sam, beloved, for all you gave me.
Sam found me - or I found Sam - when I was on my own. He had only been in the pound for two hours when I walked in on a whim, wondering if I needed a dog. He was terribly sad, a dog who desperately needed a companion, and I was able to make him happy.
That was all I wanted - to give him the happiest of lives for all the years that he lived.
I think, I hope, that I did that - and I know that he gave me just as much and more in return. I think he taught me that I was capable of love, and out of that before too long came a husband, another dog, a child, and now a cat. A family. What greater gift can an animal give a human being?
That's my husband with Max, his dog, who passed two years before Sam. I hope they are together now.


Stefanie said...

Oh, Maia... I am so so sorry for your loss.
What an amazing dog and companion Sam was to you. And what a LIFE you gave to him in return :)
I know the anguish of losing a beloved dog, I still tear up when I think of mine for more than a few seconds and he's been gone for almost 9 years.
A good dog is a true treasure.

Snowflowers Mum said...

Maia, you were the best Mom Sam could have hoped for, so many dogs spend their lives in the 'backyard' but Sam was the Jack Kerouac of dogs.

Gone...but never forgotten

nikimac said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My dogs are family .....still miss my Chester after two years.


Anonymous said...

Only true love could inspire such poetry.

Laurie said...

Maia, We are so, so sorry. You can tell he was an amazing dog who had an amazing life with a family he loved. Hugs to all of you.

Kris said...

oh i love how hayley put it. that is such a true statement about your sam. i am really sorry for your loss maia and mike. my heart goes out to you guys and Q.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Many thanks, all, for your kind words. It is both wonderful and difficult to have such an outpouring of condolence as we have had. It means a great deal to me.

M@rgriet said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. I know how much you love(d) Sam. xxxxx

tiffany said...

I am so glad you had those years with him and so sorry for your loss.

Cavatica said...

So sorry.

monica said...

What an incredible tribute to your dearest companion. I am, once again, moved to tears at your ability to capture beauty and poignancy in life's more difficult moments. Sam had a great life, filled with adventure, love, meaning and importance. You gave him the space to fill up.

Kim Kelley-Wagner said...

I'm sorry too for your loss. There just isn't anything like a good animal companion, not anything. I like to think of my two special critters walking next to me all day, my dog Matoaka and my potbelly pig Emmy Loo. Their little spirits are now travel size :8)

Anonymous said...

We will ALL miss SAM...I will particularly always see him waiting at the door if you left him with us for a few hours..."no-no, don't need your treats; I'll just wait here for Maia..."


Michelle said...

Sitting here sobbing at your beautiful tribute to Sam. Wonderful words, Maia.