Thursday, May 3, 2012
The harshness of the bleach burned my nose and throat and made my eyes itch. His copper-penny eyes followed me as I sanitized my small apartment, the smell of Clorox replacing the scent of Jasmine, waiting for death to strangle the air.
“Parvo,” the vet said five days prior, and I was confused at first, because it sounded like nothing more than a game children play. “Is there a cure?” I’d asked hopefully, but he’d looked at me with sympathy, and I knew the answer. As I left the vet’s, the sky had opened up and cried for Plato.
I finished mopping and sat down on the too-clean floor, Indian-style. Plato’s ribcage protruded from his body, a scallop-edged accordion inside his torso. I ran my fingers against his chest, his breath shallow beneath my fingertips. He let me cry, watching with sympathetic eyes, as if I were the one with the sickness and he the caretaker.
I reached over, picked him up gently, and sat him on my lap. His fur was soft, his body pliant. His eyes—brown, deep, and soulful—searched mine, looking for answers, for comfort, for permission.
I nodded as he licked my palm for the last time.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Nine years can be many things to many people. It can be a lifetime, or it can be the blink of an eye. It can be a marriage, or earning a PhD. It can be a childhood, or the length of survival of a terminal illness. It can be nine years of time that heals, or a span of time punctuated with loss and sadness.
Today is different things for different people. Some people will choose to honor today, to honor the fallen by remembering, by mourning, by celebrating life. Other people will choose to move on, to live, by doing the things they do every day, but with just a little more emphasis and sadness in hopes of getting past the pain and heartache that this anniversary brings.
For me, there is something choked up and tangled inside of me every time I think about that Tuesday. It is something that is still pulsating, and twisting, unable to fathom the amount of pain and loss. I only knew one person who died on 9/11 and I knew him through proxy. The brother of a friend who wasn’t really a friend so much as an acquaintance that I’d lost touch with. But even so, I think about him; I think about the niece named for him that he’ll never know.
Then I think about the friend who was killed by a driver who was high and made a wrong turn. I think about my Uncle Donn, who died after being married for less than a year. I think about my grandfather and my friend Randy and about the people my friends have lost.
And amidst all that loss, I feel love and joy and hope. I don’t feel the sadness and the depression and the unparalleled pain, I just feel grateful. I feel like life is beautiful and colorful and worth living, without shame or hate or guilt or apologies.
The only way to really remember and mourn those who pass before us is to keep living our lives the best that we can. Remember how fragile the threads of life are. Tell people how you feel, try new things, go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
I know it’s a cliche to say that we should live as if it is our last day, but we SHOULD live as if it is our last day. That is how we can pay our respects and honor our loved ones, our heroes and our angels. It’s the only way and if you aren’t doing that, then you’re doing yourself and their memories a great disservice.
The only thing that validates dying is to keep on living.
**I realize of course that some people choose to look past the hype this day has brought. Sometimes numbing ourselves is necessary. Many say it's been long enough. Others rally at the drop of a hat for anything 9/11 related. I think it is important to remember events that change us, so I remember with my words.**