Life never ceases to amaze me. I can listen to an amazing writer, comedian, song writer – a brilliant man graduating from college, challenging the rest of us to be more, better, smarter, funnier, more fearful, more stupid than everyone else. Then I listen to Oprah tell us to embrace God. Then I live with my own life and challenges and fears and worries. Where is the real world? Where is yours? I do wish I knew. But I do know this. My reality is mine. I have to embrace it, accept it, love it, hate it. It is mine. What is yours?
Death is difficult no matter how you experience it. I lost my first dog as a young girl. Her name was Sasha. She protected me, biting anyone who threatened, even playfully. She ran in the pasture with me. She slept with me. She died beneath the wheel of my father’s car in our parking lot.
I had other pets die. One a bunny, dying in my arms of a mysterious ailment.
My father died when I was 18, my grandfather a year later, and the grandfather of my ex, a year after that. Death is not a distant companion of mine. Last year I went to three (or was it four?) funerals. I’m weary of those.
Last night, we put our 14 year old German Shepherd to sleep. His body functions were ceasing. He didn’t eat the last four days of his life. For at least one day, he barely raised his head off of the floor of our garage. Yes, we gave him a good life. Yes, we loved him deeply. Yes, he gave us great memories. And NO, I’m not ready to let him go.
In experiencing the grief of his death, its as if the loss of every pet I ever loved (including Nigel and Champ) have come back to haunt me. Loving a pet is easy – losing is hard. In telling people what I’m experiencing, I get to hear the stories of their losses. Sometimes it’s just too hard. I want him back. Not old and sick, but young and spry. I don’t get that choice. I have to grieve. I hate this part of being an animal lover.