I still walk into the house and automatically look for her at the top of the step where she would always be sitting and waiting, her tail wagging and her tongue hanging out. Didn't matter if I had been gone five minutes or five hours. Her joy in seeing my return never diminished. My sadness at not seeing her has yet to wane.
I've put away her dishes now, and just the other week I moved her bed from the foot of mine to under it. The leash that kept her in the backyard has been pulled out of the ground. I sleep in the middle of the bed now, not off to one side. But when I wake up, my eyes still go to the end of the bed expecting her to be there. Her presence still fills this house. I see her on the sofa when I drink my coffee on the weekend, on the bed as I dress for the day, curled up next to my feet at the dining room table. I see her in the kitchen when I fix my lunch, and on the bathmat when I get ready in the morning.
Those are the sad parts. But there are good parts too. I think I've come to realize what her mission here was. She had a job to do. She had to teach me how to become the person I was meant to be. She did her job well. And when it was done, she knew it was her time to go and that it was time for me to stand on my own and take what I had learned and go forward. I can't even begin to imagine who I would have become without her. She made me step outside my box and see things in a way I wouldn't have otherwise. She was a little bit magic that way.
So here I am, one year later. It's been a strange year of changes and a lot of good things that have come into my life. I still think ,"I wish Coop was here to see this with me", but I figure she can see it anyway and I hope she's nodding her head in approval. She taught me well. Gold star, buddy. You were the absolute best.