Thursday, March 01, 2007

Appointment With the Wrecking Ball

That's how my last week has felt, like impending doom is crashing down on top of me and I can see it coming mid-swing, powerless to stop it. My good friend Sabre is gone. He passed very peacefully, the vet barely had even got any of the IV into him, he picked up his head and looked at my husband and I, we told him it was okay to let go and he put his head down and just looked like he went peacefully to sleep, at home, in our arms. I'm sad now, and the house feels so empty, but the horrible waiting for this day is at least gone.

I now know why for millennia, people have felt that the seat of human emotion is in the heart. When you ache with sadness, it feels like a giant fist is squeezing the inside of your chest, and then later when all of the crying is done, it just feels empty in there. If another person tells me they know exactly how I'm feeling because they lost their pet rat, or a cat that they had for two years I'm going to scream. I know everyone's grief is different, but we like to believe that our individual grief is unique. I will never utter those words to anyone ever in my life: I know how you feel. No one does. And yes, he was a dog not a person, but Sabre was a part of the fabric of every day's existance. He went everywhere with us, got up with me every morning to open up the chicken coop and do the outdoor rounds, closed everything down at night. He went to work with my husband, went to homeschool events with myself and the kids. He wasn't out in a kennel somewhere or tied to a tree, he was right there by our sides, every step of the day. If we went down into the living room to play a game, he limped down the stairs, even as old and gimpy as he was, to be beside us. When the kids were little, if we left them napping somewhere, he stayed by their sides until they woke up, when he woofed for us softly. If every person on earth had 1/10th the goodness and heart that he had, the world would be a much, much better place.

Through this all, I'm grateful to have my exercise, my routines in place. They can be lifesavers for working through life's toughest emotions. I can envision sitting on the couch curled into a ball for the next year. But my training gets me up and going, gets me out on the running path, makes me run like all of my grief is chasing me and I can't let it catch me up. I clocked the fastest tempo run of my life this week, but the grief still caught me. I swam endless mindless laps, letting the water hold me up and soothe me. I got on my bike on the trainer and had an hour-long conversation with my son, letting us share our feelings through this hard time.

Now all of the waiting is over and the life has to go on. We drove to Portland yesterday to see the Quest for Immortality exhibit, a presentation of Egyptian artifacts, largely on the theme of death, rebirth, afterlife, and the struggles the ancient Eygptians had in coming face to face with the concept of what happens when the soul departs. We went to the Feed-n-Seed store this morning and got our spring chicks, symbol of new life and a reminder that birth and death are constants. I'll miss my old pup terribly, this house has a quietness to it that underlays all the noise of the kids (and peeping of baby chickens). Think I'll head out for a run, now that the rain has gone.


Cindy Jo said...

So sorry about your loss. I lost a beloved dog last year to cancer. It still hurts and I miss her. Dogs are such wonderful, loyal companions.

Robin said...

Thanks. I know it will get easier with time, but these furry friends sure stick in our hearts, don't they. I'm sorry to hear about your dog :-(

TriGirl 40 said...

Robin, Just wish our furkids were with us in this world longer. I also lost one in the past year - in May - and still can't talk about it easily. It happened very suddenly. Sometimes I have dreams where he walks into our bedroom and curls up with me on the bed. Sending you and your family feeling healing thoughts.

Robin said...

It *is* hard that they're with us such a short time. I'm sorry you lost your friend this last year as well.
Thanks for the kind thoughts, they are all much appreciated.