Thursday, April 21, 2011
Goodbyes and what they mean
14 years ago I convinced my skeptical father along with my step-mom to venture to the human society "just to look." We left with a 6 month old spunky dalmatian/something puppy mix. I suggested a name: Nikita. As in Peta Wilson: Nikita, not from the show that is currently airing.
That dog had her ups and downs. The very first time they brought her over to visit my then fiance and I she raced through our yard and tore her side up on the standpipe faucet. Stitches followed. A few years ago she developed a peculiar lump on her tail and had to have it amputated. That girl had quite the life. She loved chasing squirrels, running just for the sake of running and begging for food. The kitchen was her favorite hangout. She was terrified of hot air balloons and fireworks. She had daily allergy pills in her diet and a pink tinge to her skin from scratching, but she thrived.
I've never been much of a dog person, I tend to gravitate towards the smaller furrier foes of the dogs. But Nikita was still our pet too. We loved her. Today we had to say goodbye.
At the veterinary office I allowed the tears to flow as she took her last breath. She was there and then she wasn't. Only a shell of what she was is left. We talked about how she might decide to be a bird in another life. My daughter, Hailee, showed her how to sit like a Buddha (her current fixation). On the drive home Hailee made us laugh, providing the comic relief we needed as only a 6 year old could. She doesn't quite grasp the concept of death but yet she doesn't question it either. She seems comfortable with it. Hell, I don't even understand the concept of death. It all happens so quickly, in an instant life departs from our fragile shells of a body. We are here and then we aren't.
I don't have a belief system on where we go to next. I am still searching for that answer. I do know one thing. When you gaze upon the body of someone or something that has departed even though they may appear to look exactly as you remember them. Something is just slightly different. Like a small piece or detail is missing. Like their soul has departed perhaps. I'm sure I will never fully be able to wrap my head around the beauty and complexity of it all.
But we all march on, don't we? Death is part of Life. The shadow to balance the light. The sadness ebbs and flows like the tides but as time goes on so do we and the pain lessons. I'm OK with that. Feeling present in the sadness right now but allowing my life to go on at the same time. Showing my daughter what it means to cry and laugh. To feel.
Rest well Nikita, or run well. Wherever you are, be well...