It happens when I least expect it, often doing the most mundane things such as vacuuming the carpet. Today I realized while vacuuming near Mina’s bowls that I no longer hear the sound of dried bits of her food getting sucked up. The coffee table, now covered with a green table runner and Mina’s ashes and hair and photo, stays remarkably clean. You see, when Mina was here with me there were always these mysterious droplets covering the glass-topped coffee table. I couldn’t figure out where they came from but I had to clean them off every week! It took me a month or so to realize that they no longer appear on the glass and that they came from Mina. I guess some mist from her nose or from her mouth when she barked?

I wrote in an earlier post that it’s our daily life together that I miss the most, not the big road trips or parties at the winery, but the simple comfort of being here together. It’s startling to have these little realizations of her absence and it shakes me up every time it happens.

In addition to these small things I still struggle with being here in our home alone. Mina gave me security because I knew she’d bark or give a low growl if anyone came close to our door. Now I sleep with the bedroom and bathroom doors locked, like we used to do when we first moved here.

The security issue will likely pass in time but my sadness is here to stay for a long while, I think. Honestly, when I hear my own laughter it’s a surprise, as if it came from someone else. I laugh so rarely that I wonder if I’ve lost the habit? It occurs to me that I’m not happy at all, that I’m going through the motions of life because I don’t know what else to do.

I miss talking to Mina and laughing with her during our silly games. I miss talking to her a lot. When I return home from work I still anticipate seeing her when I open the door. I always say the same phrase I said every day when I left, telling Mina when I’d be home, to be a good girl, and telling her I love her.

All this probably makes some of you think I’m a little crazy, or maybe a lot crazy. Honestly, it surprises me, too. There are entire days when I can’t speak Mina’s name without crying, there are mornings when I can’t get out the door without a solid crying jag. I don’t miss Mina less as the days go by, it seems I miss her more.

But I am trying to do more things outside this apartment. I’ve been to see movies, to the sanctuary for volunteer chores, spent an overnight at a friend’s house, worked a table at a major expo today for a local vegan organization, and I’m planning a vacation to New Orleans for this summer. I guess it’s the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy.

The hardest thing to let go of are the bits that remain of our daily routine. One activity I miss used to be the biggest chore; getting up at 4 a.m. to take Mina outside for her first walk of the day in rain, snow, cold, or balmy weather. No matter how sick she was, Mina loved that early walk and was always enthusiastic.

Mina sweetie, I know you’re happy and well in heaven. Don’t forget me, OK?