My post this week isn’t about school, books, teaching, or even the holidays. Though they have all been on my mind, their importance was diminished by the passing of my dearest buddy, Murphy, and the shock and sorrow that enveloped my family.
Thirteen years ago we rescued a little dog, or maybe he rescued us. He came into our lives and brought so much joy each day. Walking through the door we were always welcomed with an exuberant wag and warm cuddle. He would patiently wait for one of us to sit and then take up residence in our lap. He lived to snuggle and we loved it so.
In recent months he’d slowed down and was no longer able to jump into our laps so we bought little stairs to ease his way. We knew there would be no forever, but we were never ready for no more. I think he waited for my daughter to come home from college, to see his Bailey one last time, and for that I am beholden.
We relive our last moments as though they were somehow more significant than the thousands of kisses and snuggles and other precious moments that preceded them. For me, I recall kissing him goodnight, chucking his chin, and whispering, “I love you, buddy,” the way I did each evening. Then during the night his sleep became permanence and my buddy was gone.
Our heartache was excruciating at the discovery, and the tears flowed until we could literally cry no more. But “after great pain a formal feeling comes”, a gratitude so deep it is lifting me out of anguish. I realized I would not feel this grief if I had not loved so deeply, and that is the price we pay for loving others in our tenuous lives. If we outlive those we love we will grieve, and hopefully our grief evolves into a gratitude that sustains us.
I know others are suffering far greater traumas in life, but to compare is to miss the point. We each in our lives must navigate great pain. “First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.“I am hurting, I am sad, I am finding a new normal, I am letting go.
Goodbye, Murphy. We love you so.