Losing a Friend

Dec 17, 2018 (a month later): For anyone that happens to read this, Bentley is still with us and (for now) in good health. After three days without food and defying the vet's prognosis, his illness subsided and he recovered. Since then, test results have revealed issues which may or may not be actionable, so the future is still up in the air. The below post was written in a pretty raw moment of turmoil, and I don't really have a reason to take it down.

My fingers tremble as I type the opening words of this post.

Every so often, life hits you with a moment of perspective. The whirl of the days around you, the routines, the normalcy, all stop, suspended in midair. In these moments, each action is measured with consciousness and intent, as your mind fails to set your body on auto-pilot for carrying out regular, mundane tasks. Yet, when you try to look back later, everything is a blur. I glance over to the side of my desk.

Suddenly, the pictures and memories are all you have.

At twelve, Bentley is an aging dog, though we've kept him in great health, minding his diet and keeping him active. But nature has its own schedule, and sometimes nothing you do can ever be enough. He lay on the garage door entry rug downstairs, breathing calmly, slowing succumbing to an illness unknown to us this morning when we awoke. I took him for an hour-long walk on Monday. Tuesday he vomited throughout the day and wouldn't eat. We went to the vet this morning. The remaining details can be spared. All we can do now is let him rest, and make him feel loved, so loved. Another day, maybe two.

The mind runs itself in circles trying to make sense of it all, ushering forth memories, compartmentalizing eras, considering all of past, present, and future. Recalling, denying, questioning. Beloved person or pet, the grief is the same: sadness, reminders, and regrets. The passage of time is ruthless and unwavering. How could a dozen years have gone so quickly? I, then not thirty, now nearly forty? We thought we had more time. It always feels that way, until we don't.

I know that's one of the reasons 93/94 speaks to me: a desire to cling to the past, naivety, and youth, for the known days behind us are more pleasantly recalled than the unknown days ahead of us are feared. That's a pessimistic way to see life, and not the whole of who I am, but it's undoubtedly one of my aspects. Nostalgia is a crutch used to recreate that which cannot truly be recreated, often to recreate something that never really was. An illusion. This isn't a problem, in and of itself, particularly if the nostalgia elicits joy, but it's something that should be clearly understood, lest you lose yourself under its facade.

If this is a dark post, it's meant to be, for darkness is what these moments foster before there can again be light. Our path over the next few days will be painful and unforgiving, yet through it all we must prevail.

There are still many things to be thankful for.


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