Thursday, February 19, 2009

A year ago today, I took my hands- hands that gave a lot of life to a creature I'd dreamed of having since I was a child- and signed a paper that would legally end it.  Yes- it was a euthanatic decision made countless times by many nobler than myself.  But illness found my dog's head in my hands and lap one last time, my voice and face in hers, she slipped wide-eyed from consciousness to somewhere from which she'll never come to matter how loud I call.  I know mercy's side of the argument and the necessity of a dignified passage, but there's a preciousness of life that bludgeons me....that the giving and the taking away can both be love-acts.  

Here's a post I made to this blog about a month and a half after Vega died, on April 2nd, 2008:

I'm still grieving over the loss of Vega. I can't help it. Now that I'm working morning shifts (6am-130pm), I am the first one home to wallow in an empty house that had this creature for the previous 12 years....every day, she was there to greet someone....whoever it come through these doors.

I've had three dreams about her and I'll wake up crying (or think I am). I am taken aback at the kind of introspection the grief has offered me and I've been surprised at all the other similar grieving circumstances I've had that get lassoed into the situation. But I parse these feelings and contexts to their rightful place and I still find I need to be grieving sometimes. Over this dog, nonetheless.

And, yes, I've lost close people in my life. But the affinity afforded me with the care of this creature, over whom I was graced with the "alpha" status, has set me into an emotional process much different in many ways and threaded with varying degrees of theological complexity, offering a simultaneous fix of comfort and cold.

I guess a picture tells most of that to which I cannot adequately speak. This picture was the very last time Vega would enter our house from the backyard, where we would let her go to relieve herself. The meager deck stairs in her stage of dysplasia were phenomenal hurdles in that time. There was a fresh snow the day before and her paw prints were left right up against the bottom stair leading to the deck. The night following her death, there was a light snow. I remembered on my bus route that day that I could still find her paw print if I'd search carefully enough, in spite of the snow. I began to be angry that it HAD snowed, because, when you grieve, you search for tendrils of physical connections to the one you loved in such close proximity to their passing. So I got home, went to my knees outside to where I thought the prints were and gently dusted away the top layer of snow in hopes of finding the last remaining physical proof of her final journey into the home she dearly loved.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Well, went to the chiropractor today for an adjustment.  Somewhere, unbeknownst to me and for no discernible reason, said back decides about a week ago to start "catching" and bombarding my hypothalmus with a healthy shot of faint, electrical signals my body likes to translate as pain.  I don't remember any particular recent over-exertion or injury, though I've had these kinds of things off and on since 1991.  I just started my training for the Cap City Half in C-bus in May and I'm not too enthused that I'm a bit lame.  Especially now, since I just got back on the road.

My wife thinks I'm a nuttmunky for having gone out this past Tuesday to log in my 4-miler for which I was scheduled.  I thought it was pretty heroic, trudging out in the midst of a high wind warning, with 49 mph gusts.  I would be remiss if I didn't say it was the most grueling 4 miles ever.  (But my back was already hurting, so there).  Dodging (thankfully) twigs and trying to catch breaths that would whisk away in the gusts before I could snatch them took as much effort as running this usually fairly easy course.  

At one point during a stretch where I was in a headwind, I was literally stopped from running to complete and sudden stillness, nailed in my tracks and subsequently, running in place.   I felt like Jim Cantore on the Gulf shores reporting hours before a landfalling hurricane.  Then I realized how ridiculously slow and lumbersome I must have appeared.  My course took me through campus and even the Miami kids weren't out on their usual jogs and runs.  It was just me.  

I love times like these.