About a year and a half ago, I wrote about my sister and her animal brood. She had recently suffered the unexpected death of one of her dogs, a loss which she accepted but still mourned. Over the years, I've learned from my sister's life that folks who have pets suffer real grief when those pets are taken from them. I confess that, until a few years ago, I rolled my eyes whenever I encountered some poor schnook grieving so mightily about the death of their dog or cat.
I lost my mother too young, you see, and I could not see how folks who lost a pet could have grief comparable to mine (I don't know why I thought it was a contest). "Get over it," I used to think, when confronted with friends who whined on and on because they outlived their animal. It's a DOG. Wait 'till you lose your MOTHER.
I don't think that way anymore. My sister, of course, also lost a mother (and at an earlier age), but that does not mitigate the grief she feels when one of her pets dies. The loss may not be comparable, but that does not negate the real sorrow people feel when their beloved pet dies.
I'm thinking about this now, because today is a special day. A year ago, my best buddies, a couple in Los Angeles whom we collectively call "BOB," lost their dog, whom they treated as their daughter. They had the pet for a decade or more, I'm not sure, but what I do know is, their loss was, and remains, very real. This dog was such a member of the family that the guys adjusted their entire lifestyle to suit her; they ceased traveling anywhere that the dog could not accompany, instead purchasing a motor home which would allow them to travel with their loved one.
I wish I could have helped my friends during their period of grief, but nobody really can. Like Terri Garr said in Tootsie, you just have to feel the way that you feel until you don't feel that way anymore. The junior member of this couple has lost both parents and several siblings; his husband had never experienced such a severe loss, even after half a century on the planet. But they both have been in mourning for a long while. I hope the sorrow is not quite as sharp as it was a year ago.
By the wildest coincidence (or was it fate? Or something even Higher?), another friend posted this sweet little song on Facebook yesterday. Unavoidably, it's embedded here slightly off-center, but that suits, too. My thoughts about God are extremely convoluted; I can't begin to explain my spiritual feelings. I know that "BOB" doesn't believe in an intelligent higher power, but I dedicate this tune to them anyway. Maybe it will help them get through this gray anniversary day.