Crying, Loving & Leaving: How do we say goodbye?
When we think of Summer, we think of warm, neverending days filled with fun.
Laughing in the sunshine, endless moonlit nights and vacation time. Maybe take some time off and relax. I thought this Summer was going to be a rejuvenating time filled with adventure and possibility. Maybe finally finish the books I keep working on or take a trip or two.
It did not go as I planned at all.
In the Spring of 2018, one of my dogs Daisy had begun to experience seizures. It was a big change trying to help her through these difficult times. Day by day, I did what I could to help her. She was doing good, living a fairly normal life. My hopes soared. Surely we could continue to navigate this and she would have a long, happy life.
In June, it took a turn for the worse. Her liver began to fail and desperate steps were taken to help her heal. I vowed to dedicate whatever I had to in order to help her. Miraculously, she pulled through. But the months of toll on her body and the changes in her brain shifted her. Each day became dedicated to her varying degrees of care and the myriad of issues that would pop up as a result of drugs, seizures, not eating and after effects were heartbreaking. Each time I thought we were taking a step forward, it seemed to be followed by two steps back.
It is utterly devastating to watch someone that you love to the depths of your being hurt and change. To try and grasp the current set of circumstances was hard enough, but the realization that her life would be cut so much shorter as a result of this was too much to bear. I bounced back and forth between blind faith that somehow things would get better and anger that this had befallen someone so sweet in the first place. You bargain with the unseen in these situations, putting hope in any shred of possibility on the off chance it might improve.
We think that because we love something so much it belongs to us forever.
The realization that this isn’t true is both equally painful and sobering. What is the point of it all? To love to the depth of one’s being only to say goodbye? When in the end all we have is memories burning a hole in our heart and tears staining our faces. The knowing that so many things will never be done again and we have to move on okay with that somehow.
To watch someone you have loved endlessly from the first moment you saw them suffer and be helpless to save them is an impossible task for someone who has vowed from childhood to save every and all creature she could. I am reminded of an essential part of the human experience; to watch who we love go away. Nothing is ours to keep, even if we love them to the depths of our being.
But you have to be strong for them.
It’s no longer about you, the depths of your sorrow, the sleepless nights or heartache. No. You have to do it for them. Keep going. Care for them. Make them feel better. In the end these are the moments in life we he a choice to keep fighting, to keep trying to make things the best they can. In the end we can’t fight the inevitable, no one can.
We don’t have a choice when it’s time to say goodbye. But we can do everything we can until that moment. Treasure every moment, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it may be for me. No matter the ache deep within my chest or the words choked out of my throat. Because this too is part of being human. To love, to lose, to ache to the depths of your very marrow. And to somehow grapple with the reality that when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
So what’s the point of this depressing blog?
To try to tell you never to love? To not bother investing in something so painful? Quite the opposite. If this has taught me anything it’s to love deeper, harder and stronger than ever before. Stop putting it off. Stop waiting for the perfect time because it doesn’t exist. Don’t wait till the dishes are done or you’re a size zero. Stop telling yourself you don’t deserve it or that its not possible, it is. Stop putting up with less than you deserve, there is better out there. We are all leaving this world at some point, no matter who, what or why we happened. Don’t postpone the greatest thing that we are here to experience because it might hurt at some point.
The realization of the impermanence of our lives is both devastating and beautiful. The stark contrast that we are here on this planet to experience can at so many times seem so unfair and impossible to digest. And yet the uncertainty of this life gives our world so much exquisite color and texture. Like fleeting moments in time we pass, shooting like stars through the skies burning brightly for an instant; knowing at some moment we will fall mightily back to the Earth once more and our story will come to a close. But what a fire we will blaze across the night sky, if only for a moment.
So until the day I know is coming, I will keep fighting, giving care and being immersed in every last moment I am gifted. Sometimes the only thing we can do for someone is stick by their side until the end. And that’s where i’ll be, no matter where the inevitable path leads and as the end draws near. Even as my heart breaks open and my face is a river of tears. Because that’s what true love does.
My kids just days before her first seizure: Sonny (Left) and Daisy (Right) (o3/23/18)
Loving you always, sweet girl and missing you forever (July 26,2008 – December 17, 2018)