Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Loss

I don't know how to follow-up my last post.

Odin is gone, turned into ashes, hidden away in a cedar box on my bookshelf. I'm planning on placing his remains under the roots of a Japanese maple that I will plant in front of my office window this spring. A red tree to mark my red dog.

I'm concerned that the tree will die. That I will ruin this tribute.

When you don't believe in anything beyond the physical, does it make the gesture of burial, the act of paying homage more or less important? I can't decide.

 Karma, our other dog, is depressed. She doesn't eat much. She kept searching for him.

And, incredibly, life goes on.

But I find myself searching for him too. Scanning the room. Looking behind me to where he should be. Where he always was.

Loss is a funny thing. The most available script comes from fiction and we feel beholden to following it. Am I sad enough? I wonder. But sad is not nearly complicated enough to represent how I feel. I am relieved he is no longer in pain, happy to recall the good times, a bit angry, there's some guilt, a dollop of tightness about my chest that I have no label for. A tear always at the ready.

The thought that occurs most frequently makes me feel childish: I want my dog back.

And, incredibly, life goes on.

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