The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN: FURRY FAMILY
First: Even if your un-human companion hasn’t got fur, they are included in this post.
Second: Dedicated to Sam. We’re going to miss you, nap buddy.
I’m a parent.
And as a parent, there is an infallible fact. It’s one that plays through our mind when we are lying in bed trying to sleep as we think about our lives.
We are supposed to go first.
Dirt will be spread upon our graves by our children. And that’s the way it needs to be.
Unfortunately, life is not for sure and it is not guaranteed. Ill health, due to our own doing or not, accidents happen, our own doing or not, may cause our children to go before us and it is nothing short of a tragedy.
But, luckily, the odds are parents go first. And I am thankful for that. Parents should not stand at their children’s funerals and put dirt on their graves. I believe we can all agree on this.
Now, we hate the idea of this, the thought of someone we raised up, that we loved and took care of, that we held so they knew they were safe.
Yet… we knowingly do it to ourselves in other ways.
Enter our pets, our furry family.
Or not so furry if you love snakes and lizards and fish and etc.
Most of the time, we adopt or find and bring them into our homes and hearts and take care of them as if they are own children if they share our DNA and blood and treat them like our very own.
We knowingly bring them, young and old, into our families, large and small, knowing that we will probably outlive them. We want to. We don’t want to worry that there will be no one to take care of them if we depart this planet too soon.
For argument’s sake, we bring a puppy or kitten into our homes and watch them grow and become bigger and smarter and adapt our lifestyles into theirs and vice-versa. We shift our lives around them as they do with us. We walk them or play with them. We take care of them when they are sick and have them lay near (or on) us as we nap on a Sunday afternoon. Then we know there will come a day when they don’t want to play as much and then eat and drink as much. Time has become short. Too short. If we’re lucky, we get to hold them as they shut their eyes for the last time with the words ‘I love you’ from you in their ears as they pass from this world into the next, heading for that Rainbow Bridge.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we set ourselves up for such anguish and pain?
I have had a lot of pets in my life. Most were cats (I’m a cat guy, so sue me) and a few were dogs. Throw in a rat, some fish, a hamster or two. But mostly cats. Multiple cats at the same time. And I have outlived all of them but one. Our most recent furry family member, Watson. And one canine, Louis. I have dealt with a lot of death from the four-legged variety. Some have broken my heart more than others. And a few were so connected to me, that when they passed, I was almost inconsolable. Days went on afterward that I would have a flash of him or her and breakdown, no matter where I was. My heart would twist and rip inside my chest and what little bit of healing that might have occurred would open all over again. Only time has healed me. Mostly.
The last ‘great one’ in my life was CJ. I’ve posted about him before and won’t rehash it here. You can go back and read about him later. But I won’t lie and say his death didn’t gut me. It ripped me to my core.
It was s if I had lost a human that was close to me.
And I knew this was possible when he was a little kitten playing and snuggling up to his brother Sam. We adopted them both so they could have each other.
So, yeah, when he passed, I was gutted. That is the best word I can think of.
So, when Sam died two days ago from this writing, it brought back the pain that I had when CJ passed. Though, I was comforted that Sam’s pain was over and that he and CJ were reunited again.
So, why do we put ourselves through this when we know it will probably happen? Why do a lot of us, after some time of healing, go and do it all over again?
I have thought about this for some time. Over the years of seeing new furry faces enter my life and then watching them pass away, I have pondered on this.
And the only thing I can come up with is this.
As a human being, we are gifted with the capacity for love. Not just in other humans but creatures great and small. We want to show love and to have it returned to us by those that we love. We want to care for those that we care for and in our times of need, we wanted some of it returned.
And we are willing to see them pass on from our lives and the living world and bring great pain and sadness when they do.
Because it’s worth it.
It’s worth it to us and it’s worth it to them.
We give them a safe place in our homes and our hearts. And in my heart I believe this with every ounce of my being: They know this.
There may days when it’s hard to believe this (especially with cats). They might make a mess or turn something over that has water or something sticky or cough up a hairball on the rug or knock over the garbage can and root around. But when they are loved, really loved, they know that they are safe and they feel the love you give them.
I believe this wholeheartedly.
And I can’t imagine living another day without this belief.
So, I will continue to bring home new furry family members when I’m ready. And I will continue to love them until their dying day.
Because I also believe something else.
When your heart breaks from losing ones that you love, it heals itself from the love you hold inside. It heals itself from the love you showed them and that they showed you.
I say never stop allowing yourself to love our furry family members. Open your heart to the future pain that will probably come.
Imagine not knowing the love that they give you.
I think that’s worse.
-Loyd Elmore Jr.
September 20th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.