This morning has been rough. It is better now, but this morning was the first time that Streak really seemed sick. Perfectly understandable given the chemo he received yesterday, but it hit me very hard this morning. Luckily our neighbors were around and have gone through the same thing--they talked us down. Well, really talked me down. SOF was really strong this morning.
But all of this has me thinking about grief and what exactly I am grieving. Of course there is the obvious of losing a friend of 13 + years, and I get that. It might be obvious to others, but it struck me the other day that much of my grief over Streak was the lost past and the memories of me, SOF, Alafair, and him together. I remember him running with great abandon and reckless ease. I always referred to him as one of the most athletic dogs I have ever known. Fast, quick, and able to jump and balance--had he a decent trainer for a friend instead of me, he might have learned a few more tricks. Now I see him struggling (and this was before his diagnosis) to negotiate the hardwood floors. I miss those times. Those things are already gone, mind you, reminding me of a John Fullbright song with lyrics close to "cherish these moments, they are already leaving." Regardless of Streak's current condition, in other words, a big part of my grief is about what he represents--where we were when he joined us, and the memories we have in common. As SOF said in her great comment, this little guy has done more than just be our friend, he has pushed us out into the neighborhood to meet and greet. We know so many more people who live around us because of our dogs. Inadvertently, through this blog, Streak has pushed me out into the broader world and allowed me to meet so many of you who read here.
There is some good news there, I think, though it is hard to see when he is struggling. If I can make sense of what has been lost, and what hasn't, I think I will be better for it. Knowing that some of those issues of grief will occur even if Streak were to have a miraculous healing takes some of the pressure off. And looking at the many positives that are embedded in those memories makes them less painful. And the tough parts of those memories will be tough regardless.
Not that there won't be many more tough moments. That is part of life. But maybe if I can examine grief a little more, that will be good for me.
Anyway. Hope you are all well. Hug your family members--no matter how many legs they have, and enjoy your friends and neighbors.