Today I lost a friend of 14 years and her passing leaves another hole in my life.
Sometimes I feel like a slab of Swiss Cheese, more defined by what is not there than what is.
The fact that she had four legs and fur does not lessen the attachment or the sense of loss.
I came to terms with my own mortality half a century ago, but I can never avoid the jolt of others’ mortality, and every loss chips away another little bit of me. If I live long enough, I’ll be ‘all used up’, to quote Utah Phillips.
I don’t mind the bell tolling for me as much as I mind it tolling for those I care about.
Someone remarked that it is not years that age us, but being unable to protect those we love from pain and sorrow.
I can do nothing to protect the family from the sorrow of her passing, but I can at least be grateful that she died at home, pain-free, with loving family instead of having to be put down by a stranger.
Sometimes it’s the small things that matter.
No man is an iland […] any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde”
– John Donne.
My ‘Mankinde’ consists of more than clothes-wearing primates, but his point is made and I am again diminished.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
– William Wordsworth
And I am ashamed when I compare how we feel about about the loss of a dog to how millions feel every day at the loss of parents, children, friends in the insane wars we wage, the killing we do with guns, bombs, drones, sanctions, greed, hatred, impoverishment, lack of common humanity and compassion. There’s nothing I could have done to prevent or even delay Penny’s death. But perhaps it will motivate me to fight a little harder against The Machine.
In her memory.