I have been gone from the blogging world for a couple of months. In truth, I have disappeared from a few sections of my life. This has been a difficult year for me with more loss than I have been able to easily bounce back from. Don’t get me wrong, I know that others have experienced way, way more difficulty and hurt than I have this last year. However, death and the loss of those I love has somehow become the theme of this year for me starting with the death of the one life I depended on most; my dog Toni. This was followed by a string of other much smaller losses of those things that I was secure in knowing defined my core being. Now the year is ending with the unexpected death of my precious Chow Chow KC.
However this post isn’t about my loss so much as about what I really believe. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of religion and that the idea of a supreme being watching all we do sounds, well hard to believe. I support that everyone has the right to believe, worship, or whatever they want. But I am resolute in that I don’t want those beliefs to define or direct the government or anything that touches me.
But then KC died. KC had not been eating well for a few days. However, that is not unusual for her. She was always very fussy about her food. But then the Sunday before Thanksgiving she was not really herself. During our evening walk instead of leading the “pack” as she usually did, she walked right next to me and a little slowly. Then that evening she walked over to me while I was mindlessly working at my computer and gave me a look that I could almost hear “I need help”. Feeling a little silly but at the same time mildly panicked, I took her to the DoveLewis animal emergency room just to be safe. When they called me back to view her x-rays I knew it was NOT going to be good. The doctor started by pointing out all her healthy organs and my heart started to lighten a bit until he said “but what is worrying me is…”. Why did he tell me all this good news only to slam me with devastation? Not a good approach in my opinion.
She had stomach cancer that was massive. He said her chances were not good but if I wanted they could do another procedure in the morning to get a better view and could keep her overnight to provide meds that would make her more comfortable. I said yes. The next morning the doctor called to tell me the bad news. I immediately drove to the DoveLewis animal hospital and KC died peacefully in my arms.
All that Monday I spent most of my day in bed with my latest family member Bo next to me. I had the week off from work and had already scheduled a day at doggie play care for Bo so the next morning I got up on time, went downstairs, fixed him breakfast as usual and went back to bed until he was done and ready to go. A few moments later he yelped. I got up to go see what was going on and as I approached the kitchen he yelped again and ran past me, tail tucked, upstairs and jumped into my bed. It was odd but I couldn’t find any source of his distress and I took him to day care without any breakfast. When we got home that evening he was starving so I fixed his dinner and put it in KC’s bowl. When I put it down he whined a bit but then crouched down with tucked tail and submissively crawled to the bowl. He tried to take one bite then ran under the desk to hide. I had to feed him dry kibble by hand that evening. He wouldn’t go back to the food dish. Wednesday he was hesitant but he did eventually eat from his bowl. The next Day everything was back to normal.
What happened? I wasn’t sure but I did write down everything during the day immediately after it happened starting with the yelps. I know how distorted human memory can be especially during times of grief or stress. But it all happened.
Yet what happened? Was KC still in the house and being protective of the food she hadn’t been able to eat for the last few days? I always fed her first because she was the alpha dog when I added Bo to the family. I will be honest. A large part of me believes that she was in the house at least during that Tuesday. The logical part of my being keeps telling me that my mind put together random events to try to provide me comfort.
My final interpretation? I don’t care what happened but I understand a little better why a belief in an afterlife means so much to so many people. I am not ready to let go of the crazy hope that someplace my Toni and KC still exist and I might see them again. Maybe six months from now I will be back to my skeptical self and laugh at my current attempt at faith. But the other thing I know about grief is that it takes its own path and shouldn’t be forced.
Just for today I don’t need logic and my feelings don’t need to make sense. I miss my dogs as deeply as anyone I have ever lost. Later I can rationalize it all. Today I just miss my family.