Ha. I know, it’s a very old joke. But literally the first thing that immediately popped into my head.
The second thing was – being shaken out of denial is a painful process, one I recently went through, and couldn’t really find the words to write about…hence, my blog-silence.
I lost my much beloved senior chow mix, Cabo, in February, after battling severe arthritis and spinal disc issues for months. It came as a shock to me that we would have to be the ones to decide his fate on “quality of life” issues. I had always assumed that when my cherished animals passed, for whatever reason (denial?), it would be something so obvious and fatal that pressed the issue, not a matter of us making a life and death decision on pain and mobility. For months, we resisted the decision, until we had exhausted vet after vet, treatment after treatment, and one vet finally looked at my husband and said, “He is worn out, you know.” We knew then that despite our denial of the idea, we were going to have to decide ourselves to let him go.
To say it broke my heart is an understatement.
Still profoundly grieving from the loss of Cabo, a few weeks later my very dear aunt was suddenly struck by a bus and killed. She had been a surrogate mother to me when I was very young, and my parents divorced. My mother lived in Korea, and my father, in the Army, was being posted to Vietnam. So I went to live with my aunt and uncle on the East Coast for nearly two years, while my father was overseas. They raised me as one of their own, and even after my father remarried and I left to live with him and my stepmother, they continued to stay very close and dear to me.
I had not seen my aunt in years, thinking all the time, “I need to go see her.” But there was always something that got in the way, and I always pushed it off. Denial. Denial of the relentless march of time, eating away at our opportunities.
I made it home, back to the East Coast, finally. For her funeral. I would like to think my aunt was okay with that, and just happy that I was once again clutched in the bosom of my family, embraced by my surrogate siblings – her children, my cousins, and their kids, loving them, enjoying them, ready to stop denying that we all have an expiration date. Because no matter how much we deny it, we all do.