I had errands to do and I wanted to get them out of the way early because the weather is in the 90s and I like to be inside where there is ac. I headed home and as soon as I pulled up the driveway and parked a flood of sadness washed over me, making my way to the front door I did not want to open it due to the absence of my little friend who was always right there waiting for me. I missed seeing her little face staring out the window as I drove up and I didn’t want to feel the heavy weight of emptiness once I opened the door. I thought, “why can’t this just not be real”. Feeling all woe be gone and sorry for myself I opened the door and entered and saw a box of flowers. I thought, oh my gosh, who sent flowers, maybe my parents or some other family member. I opened the box and was so profoundly surprised to find they were from an online friend. Diane, who those of us who have known her for a while call Enchy, short, for Enchylatta. I am so touched by this act of thoughtful kindness, how could I possibly remain pouting after that, and every time I look at those gorgeous sun flowers I am going to snap myself back into that good place of acceptance, during this first most difficult week of loss.
The act of kindness made me think of this poem:
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Thought I heard my puggie coughing this morning, but of course it was phantom coughs. The house is stuffed full of empty and today I go about picking up the dog pillows from every room in the house. Sassy had to be with me always, so whatever room I was in, her pillow was there, or plastic garbage bag with blankets inside, she was very fond of cozying up to bags or, purses. Its a peculiar feeling to put away her blankets and pillows and crates, its so very final. Her demise was truly unexpected, at 13 years old we figured we had a couple more years with her, she was a feisty spirited little girl! A sassy one indeed! So, I was completely blindsided when I took her to the vet and they had to put her on oxygen. The vet said that if I took her home we run the risk of her suffocating to death overnight. She was functioning on a 1/4 in windpipe, her heart was enlarged and leaking fluid into the lungs. Since she was breathing so hard, gulping air the stomach was also enlarged. I just thought she has some king of kennel cough or allergies. With every pet I learn something new. The pain of her death won’t stop me from having another dog or two, the unconditional love of a dog is so beautiful and inspiring. Dogs are teachers and for sure, Sassy had me wrapped around her little paw!
Through this tragedy I had company, my girlies and sweet little “Lily” were with us Sat., Sun and Mon. Monday was when I took Sassy to the vet while Malika and Laura went to take care of some business in L.A. to return later that evening. Its Laura’s birthday week so I was preparing for a nice dinner celebration. It was a challenging, emotional tug of war that pulsed through me all day. Grieving for my dog and preparing for a joyous birthday party. I could not let a black cloud linger over the evening and ruin a beautiful memory making moment, nor did I want to. I tried to purge the tears, and I reminded myself, that, her death is also a celebration of her life and it would be okay to be happy and in the moment. I did my best, but as soon as her name is mentioned, well, you know. At any rate, what I am trying to say is that I was so grateful to busy myself with meal preparation and then for the tender love of my darling girl Laura Damian and the deep caring from my “bestie”, Malika Parker, their company helped so much. I feel confident that the evening was not tainted with misery, that we commiserated as needed and treasured our time together. We toasted and cheered and laughed and argued till we had our fill. That is’ precious LIFE! We love, we lose, we draw close to our hearts those kindred spirits who help us get through it, what a beautiful, sacred evening.
Woke up sprouting thoughts related to the burden that responsibility can be. The weight of heavy thoughts can be debilitating. Speaking in metaphors, the language of art and dreams, I imagine a pressure valve on that thinking cap to twist and release puffs of misty steam where branches shoot skyward and leaves lazily unfold.