Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Dogs and Death:

I was walking in the woods and I saw a snake. Now snakes and I don’t mix. In fact snakes make me hurt myself getting away from them. Around here the snakes are on the move around June/July. I don’t walk in the woods without the dogs at that time of year. My dog, Lady Long, takes care of them for me. This fear of mine stems from my night terrors. I sleep with a stuffed Owl in the room to chase the snake terrors away. I go with what works for me.

Well anyway back to my walk. I got that deep chill down my back and had trouble getting home without a lot of careful steps in between me and the house. And I thought about how old my dogs are getting. And what I might do for my walking exercise without them with me. (How do you check a puppy for snake killing abilities?)

My dogs are old ladies. Lady Short is thirteen and Lady Long will be eleven in September. I fear the day that they die. Life will be really lonely with out them around. They are not the first dogs we have had get old and die but the first since my son died and my cancer. I think about death and the loss it brings differently now then I had before.

I once thrilled at that unknown but the closer I’ve gotten to it the more it looks like a black abyss set to swallow me whole. I have no desire to tempt it anymore as I once did. Don’t get me wrong I still would like to think that my loved ones are just on the other side of that veil waiting for me. But I live in a place in my head now full of uncertainty. When the promise of a life lived well and long was broken with the death of my son, my certainties in life got fuzzy and out of focus. Fear crept in.

I was sitting around gluing the pieces of the my life back together after his death and the cancer came. And I was back to clutching at shattered shards again. The pieces are not fitting together as easily as they once did anymore and I‘ve lost a few pieces along the way. I live with this fear like I live with my sons death, like I live with the cancer scars. I live with it and try to make a comfortable place for it to stay in my head. I don’t think I will ever be as naive about death again. But I do want to get more comfortable with the ending of life again. So I can let go of this fear that has found its way into my life that comes with the death of someone or something once dear.

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