It's not been that great a week. First, my parents-in-law had to put down one of their beloved dogs, then my father-in-law collaped and had to have a pacemaker put in, and now one of our own dog's goes and has what I can only presume is a stroke.
A short while ago, I had read a horrifying account of someone whose dog rapidly deteriorated neurologically to the point that he could do nothing but walk in circles incessently until she finally conceded to have the poor thing put down. Seeing our old dog inexplicably walk backwards in the most odd way then fall wildly over my daughter's empty bouncy chair before he collapsed onto his side was a terrifying reminder of that article. Would he be similarly compelled to move in an unnatural way until we would finally set aside our selfishness to let him go?
Did I really have to finally accept that our old dog, the dog my husband and step-son had before I joined the family, is really on his way out? His many grey muzzle hairs and gradually slowing gait when hobbling up the stairs to our room at night are painful reminders of his advancing age, and I've said many times that I knew his time must be coming soon, but saying the words and actually being prepared for it are two entirely different things. I thought if I said it enough, I'd actually be prepared. If I was so damn prepared for the inevitable, why are my eyes brimming with tears every time I look over at him to make sure his belly is still rising and falling?
My father-in-law recovered beautifully from his operation, thankfully, so the news isn't all bad. I suppose being so sheltered thus far in my life has lead me to dwell on the few instances of hardship more than I should. I think of my own father. He died alone. He was in bed, so I pray death came to him in his sleep, but he was alone, damn it.
My uncle's partner was luckier, I suppose. He died with my uncle, his ex-wife with whom he still had an amicable relationship, and his son, all there by his side. He was surrounded by people who loved him very much, and I think he knew it. I had just arrived in the country the day before he died, so I wasn't there for him either.
I guess it's the death of one and the reminder of mortality in two others over the past week has given me some reason to feel a little crappy. I wish I believed in an afterlife. If I really believed in heaven, I'd cry so few tears for the people I lose in this life... I wonder why people who say they believe in the afterlife cry so much when they lose a loved one? I'm assuming they don't fear the said loved one is headed for hell, but if they really believed they were headed for all the milk and honey of some deity's garden, where no pain or suffering is known, why not rejoice? That would surely overrule any feelings of simply missing the person until they are to be reuinted, wouldn't it? I don't mean to insult believers, I've just always wondered that.
I'm afraid to laugh or smile, as though I'm tempting some sort of bad karma upon the ones I love. Ironic, I know.
I think I'll re-read a moving letter I got from a student to remind myself I do actually have some power to do good in this world.
Man, I'm such a downer. Sorry.