In Loving Memory

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On the 15th of every month, I have a “My Musings” column due for this magazine.
Okay, so I usually get it in by the 20th, but that is not really the point right now.
The point is that I always have to come up with a topic, which is easier some months than others. The last eight times I have sat down to brainstorm, I have had something right there, top of mind, something important … but the words just never seem to come.

This month, as I began brainstorming, it came to mind and I thought, “Nope. Not that.”

I started sifting through my usual sources of inspiration – among them, the National Day Calendar website. It lists all of the monthly, weekly and daily observances for each month. There are some doozies, like Bald is Beautiful Day, Chocolate Milkshake Day and the time-honored Ampersand Day.

Trust me, each of those observances brought to mind a plethora of snarky one-liners. One day stood out more than the rest, not because it fed the sarcastic beast living in my psyche, but because it crept into the dark corner where I have been hiding the hurt since mid-December.

September 13 is National Pet Memorial Day.

Just a week before Christmas 2019, I returned home from a trip to find my husband near hysterics. Something was very wrong with our Golden Retriever, Daisy. While I was gone, the girl who lived up to the sunshiny magic of her name was isolating and had stopped eating. I was home less than ten minutes before we were on the road to the emergency veterinary clinic, and less than three hours after that, she was gone.

A cancerous mass had taken over Daisy’s entire stomach. There was nothing the vets could do, but there was something we could do to ease her pain. We hugged and kissed our sweet girl goodbye and, within seconds, she was gone.

Even as I write and re-read this, it seems I still cannot find the words. I am heartbroken. I am lonely for her. I am angry. How does such a gentle, loving creature end up with cancer? Why her?

Some days, every moment with her – from the first time I saw her sweet face peeking through a kennel door waiting to be rescued – flash through my mind. She is always in my heart but not until I saw National Pet Memorial Day in print on that silly website, could I bring myself to write about this. It was as if writing about it would make it somehow more real and permanent.

Today however, I felt like the Universe was trying to tell me something, like, “Stop hiding from this. It is there and it hurts, even when you try to ignore it.” The simple act of typing “I am angry” helped chip away at the wall I have built around my sadness.

This is huge because, what I did not really understand until now is that hiding from the hurt also meant I was blocking out all of the good. Maybe now, mixed in with those tears, I can stop and let myself remember her without anger or pain, but with a smile for all of the love she gave.

Angela Jones / stock.adobe.com

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