1995 seems like a while ago these days. That's what happens after seven or eight years. Things turn into "a while ago." Eddie, our dog, was born in July 1995. He was a Cancer - and he really was - sort of emotionally clingy, obviously sensitive, a bit modest, a bit moody. I didn't meet him as a newborn puppy though. I met him as a five month old in December or so, when I was informed we were getting another dog. I still wasn't "ready" for having another dog. Our older dog - Leroy - had died four years before and he was a genuine pal of mine. I had known him as a baby, ridden him as a toddler. He followed me everywhere when I was eight years old. I fed him during his last days. I didn't feel like starting another one of those relationships.
During this time things were changing in my life. As a teenager, I felt that culture was stagnating. Kurt Cobain and 'alternative' was dead. My friendships were unraveling. I just didn't feel that inspired anymore. Instead, I felt mostly confused and a bit depressed. Enter Eddie. I - as I said - didn't want another dog. But my mother insisted. The first time I met Eddie he scratched me in the face. So I really didn't like him. Then he moved in - to the chagrine of our cats. I remember them looking at him like, "Oh shit, we're in trouble now." They were.
Eddie started to grow on me as I took him for walks in the snows of 1996. 1996 was a very snowy winter on Long Island. The snow came up to my chest alongside the road. I could literally rest my breakfast on the snowbank like it were a kitchen table it was so high. And this is how I became friends with the sturdy little West Highland Terrier as he burrowed into the snow banks to leave a nice warm dump or lifted his leg every 15 feets to sprinkle some territorial pissings.
My Mom adored Eddie. He went everywhere with her in the car. That was a period of change for her too as she started working in real estate. God, I think she even bought him sweaters. Our home was soon decorated with 'Westie' pillows, pictures - she even had a little leather Eddie-look alike dog on her key chain.
As Eddie got older he got fat and lethargic though. I made a film about him in 2000. It was called "Dawg Daze" - it was a video of him literally lying on the couch - eating food - lying on the couch - eating food - sleeping. He also got depressed. So to make him MORE depressed my folks got another dog - Hannah - to keep him company later that year.
Eddie also soon developed diabetes. He had to get a shot once a day, and I had to use these little litmus strips to test the level of sugar in his blood. But for some odd reason he stayed healthy through the years. It was pretty amazing.
Recently though he had been slowing down. The last time I was at my parents' place I caught him napping on the cold bathroom floor. He would never do that in his heyday. He would curl up on the couch. I had been nudging him too, on these past visits, just to check that he was still breathing.
Unfortunately, he stopped breathing last night. He died next to the new pool my parents put in.
Right around the time we got Eddie, my grandfather died. He too had been sick for awhile, so it was sort of expected. But, try as a might, I couldn't shed a tear for the old man. My father did, and my uncle did. But I couldn't find my pocket of sorrow and weep. People were around me at all times. It just seemed hard to do. Instead, I got a headache.
Today when I found out Eddie died - I also sort of wanted to cry. But I had to get on a train and didn't want people to think there was something seriously wrong with me. So I let a bit out but kept most in. And, oh man, how my head hurts.