Quote of the week:

“They'd have to shoot me to get me back to Illnois."

~Abraham Lincoln upon going to WDC to become president

Monday, April 7, 2008

Never Enough

No matter how much time you have, it’s never enough. You want more. But you take what you’re given, and you learn to treasure the good, cloud over the bad—not completely, because hopefully in the bad you’ve gained a valuable life lesson. That part shouldn’t be forgotten. But you don’t want to hold on to the bad like you do the good.

In order to feel the exhilarating heights of joy and euphoria, the converse must be present. You also have to be able to feel utter despair and pain of grief. It’s the yin and yang. Not long after Ficus (the dog, not the plant) died, I felt very guilty because I was so grief stricken over losing her. I realized that I’d cried a lot over her, but never cried when my Grandma or favorite Uncle died. Did that mean I didn’t love them enough, because I didn’t cry when they died? Cognitively, I know that’s not the case. I’m not sure I can explain it. They were part of my life—a major part of my life. But they were not a part of my everyday routine. They did not impact my daily schedule. My Uncle had Alzheimer’s. For many intents and purposes, the Uncle/Man that I knew and remembered had died a few years before his body finally expired. In so many ways, it was a relief. Caring for him was taking an emotional and physical toll on my Aunt. Now the universe is repaying her with her own onset of Alzheimer’s. But, I digress.

There have been three times in my adult life that I have had a grief of this magnitude: Euckie’s death, which obviously is still very raw; when Ficus (the dog, not the plant) died; and when Bruce (henceforth known as the Stupid Fucking Mormon—SFM) told me he was leaving me and moving back to Utah to be with a man he met a two weeks before, when he went back to visit his parents. Ficus (the dog), I was prepared for—as much as one can be. I knew she had cancer. She was put to sleep the day the movers packed up my house for my move to Chicago. The good aspect of that, is that there were so many changes that happened at once. I was in a new city, in a new home which never housed Ficus. There weren’t constant reminders of her absence, because everything was different. That made the adjustment easier (or less difficult). It was 3 months later that SFM left me. As the man (a friend) who bought my house downstate commented, “Man, if you took one of those ‘changes in you life’ stressors test, you’d blow that fucker out of the water!” And so I did.

I wanted more time with Ficus (the dog); with the SFM; and with Euckie. The other thing about time is, when enough time HAS passed, after the grief making event, you are able to be grateful and hold the good memories, gently in your mind, heart, and soul. They do sustain you—even the ones with the SFM.

One of my neighbors gave me a bottle of wine, and told me to “Drown your sorrows.” I’ve never been a depressive drinker. I opted to hold on to the bottle, and will open it when I can drink a toast to the good times I had with Euckie—which is nearly all of them. Although there wasn’t enough time for my liking, in time enough when it’s less raw, I’ll walk our usual route, and it will feel good. It will feel right. She will look down, taking a break from chasing a squirrel, and will smile that crooked dog smile. And the sun will shine brighter for just a moment. ©wtf/rle


GDad said...

My best to you and yours, both those still with us and those who have passed.

Marc Acito said...

In the Jewish tradition, it's believed that those who die live on forever in the minds of those they touched. If that's true (and I believe it), then Euckie is alive and well.

mark's tails said...

just got caught up on your blog today. you have my deepest sympathies. Our pets touch our lives in so many different ways and I agree with you that they often help make us better people in general. perhaps that is the reason they can only be in our lives for such a short while, so that we can be helped by more than one.