We all know that the years go by faster and faster as we age. We also know that we get closer to death. We all live and we all die. Our companions, pets, secondary children, best friends, whatever term you prefer to use for you four-legged canines, live and die. That is the reality of it. There is no need to sugar coat it. Each one of us deals with the death of loved ones differently. Some celebrate their lives and say their good-byes. Some cry and mourn and grieve. Some show no emotion at all, but inside of themselves, they are doing their own thing to deal with the loss. We should never be surprised when somebody passes. Any one of us can leave our bodies at any given moment in time. We should always be prepared to die or to say goodbye. This very well could be your last day on Earth, my last day, or your best friend’s last day. We do not know when we will be called home by our maker. I have been contemplating life quite a bit recently. Am I ready to die today? Have I left my mark? What kind of mark have I left? Is it a beautiful tattoo to be proud of or is it an ugly bluish greenish bruise on the surface or on the inside of another person’s soul? What kind of mark do I want to leave behind?
I don’t like to be hurt. I don’t know anyone who likes to be hurt. I don’t like to hurt others. I like to help. I like to make people smile and laugh and feel good about themselves. I want to spread love and compassion and empathy and smiles and make everybody feel good about themselves and loves themselves fully, bruises, scars and all. We are all a little broken. Some of us are a little more broken than others. Those who have had some of the same adventures can relate to each other. Those who haven’t cannot. People, some, like to try to make you feel better by telling they understand something you are going through that they could never understand. They like to tell you what you are doing wrong and when it is time to let go and stop grieving. They don’t know me better than me. They have not been where I am. They cannot relate. So how is it that they think they know when it is time for me to let go? They don’t.
The people I normally get that from are those who have never experienced major tragedies in their lives. They aren’t broken. They don’t even have scars. Oh, but you better believe they have plenty to complain about in their lives that just isn’t how they want it. Interestingly enough, the scarred and broken don’t complain much at all. We don’t have much but that is OK. We know how to embrace what we do have and appreciate it. We had to crawl through the depths of hell to get it. I used to say I would love to trade places with any of the unbroken at any given time. I wouldn’t complain about a thing.
I don’t say that anymore because I don’t want to be them. I love me as I am, scars, cracks, and all. I am beautifully broken. Each scar tells a story of an adventure in my life. Each scar represents victory, growth, strength, and knowledge. Each scar says I faced a monster in my past and I am standing here today, alive and victorious, to tell you all about it. The unbroken don’t have that. They don’t have the good stories. The ones packed full of suspense, thrills, drama, love, death, chaos and everything that combined make for one heck of an exciting adventure in life. I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be me. I want to leave a beauty mark on the world when I die. That is my goal.
When I started at my job more than nine years ago, I met a really cute litter of pups that lived here. They were born on my birthday just two months prior. Since that day, I have spent every day during the week with them. We shared birthday parties, holidays, special events, and special times together. A couple of the dogs picked their own people to hang out with. Last week, we said good-bye to Hilda. Riddled with cancer, we kept her for as long as she was comfortable. The day she was in terrible pain is the day we had to say good-bye. She was the red-faced shepherd and she chose Glenn as her human.
This week, we say good-bye to the black-faced shepherd known as Bingo. Bingo chose me to be her human. I taught her to stay at one end of the yard while I walked to the other and set up for the perfect frisbee throw. She sat until the moment I released the frisbee, then would run and jump to catch it mid-air. Bingo and I have had some good times and some special moments. She always knew when I was feeling down and would comfort me. I always snuck her bites of human food even though it was against Glenn’s rules. Cancerous tumors fill her uterus and cover her ovaries. They continue to grow and her belly is twice the size that it should be. She is having difficulty breathing now as they press up against her lungs. She is uncomfortable. She still has a sparkle in her eye and would like to play, but doesn’t have the energy. Her heart is being pressed upon as well. It is time to ease her discomfort. It is time to say good-bye to Bingo.
My k9 team decreases in size by one, again this week. We started at seven. Then six. When I come to work on Monday, it will be five. Star isn’t doing so well. I wonder a lot lately if she grieves for her child, if she will grieve for this one, or if dogs even have the family bond that humans have. I know dogs bond with humans and grieve for their humans. Their humans grieve for them too. I am a celebration griever. I prefer to celebrate the life of loved ones lost than to grieve their death. Their death should not be grieved. We are sad for ourselves when we should be happy for them in that they are no longer suffering, they’ve lived a great life, and they were called from Earth by their maker. In celebrating, I can smile and feel good about letting her go. That is so much better then melting in a puddle of tears feeling sorry for myself. I know it is their time. I know it won’t be long before there are four. Then three. Then two. Then one. Then none. Then I won’t have to deal with their incessant barking every time Glenn arrives, gets up, moves about the house, etc. I’m willing to put up with it for as long as they have left here with me. It won’t be the same without them. My how time flies.
Good-bye, Bingo, my friend. I will miss having you around my desk. You are an awesome dog and companion.
Forever growing in HIS Grace,
I will add photos later this evening.