In the last months of Hamish's life I had to carry him around a fair bit. He was blind, his heart was failing and he tired easily. But every night after his dinner - which he was still enjoying at that stage - Hamish would give his favourite toy Fred a hard time and let out his excited little poodle bark. No matter what I was doing I would stop and play with him for a few minutes because I knew I would regret it if I didn't. He couldn't sustain any more than that and would collapse on his bed pretty quickly.
I had to carry him outside to have a wee, carry him to the car to go for 'walks' - which consisted of me trying to make him move a bit so his body didn't seize up entirely - and hold him on my lap in the car as well. He used to rest his head on my shoulder and I would wrap my arms around him. I think he felt secure and safe.
Often when I picked him up I would smell him. Each time I made a mental note of that smell. When he was dying I held him and breathed in as much of him as I could. After he had died I put patchouli oil on him as a way to mark the occasion and create a new olfactory memory. Since his death I sometimes put on patchouli oil as a way to try and bring him back - but it doesn't really fulfil the need.
The thing is - I just want to hold Hamish against my chest and smell him and I can't. He isn't physically here. His little body is buried under a metre of sand with Fred on our new block. I kept photos of him on my phone and every day I look at them. I touch the screen but I don't feel his soft white fur or his warm body - just glass. There's a barrier now, between him and me - a barrier I can't cross, that I will never be able to cross. Every so often I just start crying and my heart hurts. Even with my lifelong obsession with death, my spiritual understanding and enquiry into it - which includes a 40000 word thesis on the subject - the physicality of Hamish's passing reduces me to this.