The sun sets on another day…
Sunset was amazing, maybe a little more. At first I thought it was too bright, then it fell right in line and created a perfect backdrop to the edge of forever.
Forever. It has a little meaning today.
Today we said goodbye to Phoebe, a cat of 16 years. She watched the kids grow up, and was there through thick and thin. She saw life from a cats eye, spoiled and aloof, she took the world in stride, and was amusing as well as sometimes irritating. Her last days were difficult, and saying goodbye was even more so, but it was time, we knew it and she knew it. We tried hard to make her last days comfortable, but in the end, well, sometimes you succeed, sometimes you do not.
Animals can play a key role in our lives. Many people like cats, some like dogs, some ferrets, snakes, mice, hamsters, and so it goes. As I was growing up my family raised both cats and dogs. It was something we did as a family, and as I grew up I learned about life and death partially from my interactions with animals. Seeing animals born is a unique experience, and holding them as they die, well, it is unique as well. There is a bond that grows between you as you spend years together, and it can be a deep bond.
By the time I was in third grade I had seen both people and animals die. It was difficult to understand at the time and as I grew I knew the loss that death brings intimately from the experiences I had growing up. In some ways I became numb to it, but in other ways I was acutely aware of the deep seated impact, and more affected than many as I knew the depth of the loss it brings. With animals I was often hurt more, and my voracious reading took me to places where animals were heroes, but often died. After a major change in my life when I was 16 I saw death in a different light. I became fascinated with stories, with how life and death worked, and how we had limits, and still there was the emotion as well.
When I was 20 I was living in a house and my dog, Candy, got out and was killed. She tried to follow me to work, and Richmond Road in Lexington is not a road to try to follow a car in. She was let out, but it did not matter. I was told, came home, and carried her nearly a mile. It was difficult. It never got easier. Many say animals do not have souls. I will not debate the religious ramifications but when I look into my German Shepherds eyes, there is something there, and it is deeper than a hollow shell. I digress.
No matter what your pet, it is filled with joy and happiness and can make your 29000 sunsets more complete if you let it. Then again, days like today are a loss that cannot be measured easily, and hurt whether you want them to or not. In the end my world was a better place for the years Phoebe was around, and my children will remember her forever.
So as the sun sets on another day, I end this on a high note. George Carlin said it best when talking about dogs. When you lose one the great thing is you can replace it. I am not sure I am there yet, and I still have 2 dogs in my life, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. Today is a happy day because there is no more pain. Today is a happy day, because life is good each day if you find the positives. Find them, and enjoy animals and nature along the way, no matter what.
Sleep sweet, love, and hold on to the good…