Max was an awesome-ly wonderful dog. He had a soulfulness about him that made me believe in zen. He was pure love and he stole my heart instantly. Others had come before Max, but he was the one that inspired me to always have a dog.
Max’s last year of life was a difficult one for me health wise. I had two life threatening conditions, was in-and-out of the hospital, lived with my parents for a few a months and didn’t work for a year. I had the love and support of the most wonderful family and friends. But those of you with animals know, often times, the only living being you are with 24/7 is your pet. When I was up at night unable to sleep, Max would lick my face. When I was sick in the bathroom, he’d lay next to me. When I would take short walks he’d move slowly and never complained when we had to turn around early.
As I started healing, Max started losing his battle with old age. The universe can be very hurtful. Many felt that he waited to know I was getting better. That always made me sad. But the truth is, I loved him and he loved me and life is what it is. Max crossed the rainbow bridge the day after his 12th birthday, just one week shy of a my one-year anniversary of surviving my first health crisis.
I will not write about the sadness although I will say it consumed me. I have never known heartache like that and the saying ‘grief is the price we pay for love’ had never rung more true for me.
I was reminded recently about a funny grieving story. Yes, funny grieving stories exist, you just don’t know how comical they are at the time. Coldplay’s “Til Kingdom Come” song was my go-to-sadness-song when Max died. I played it 5,672 times. To make it harder on myself, I’d imagine Max was singing the sentiment of the song to me (don’t judge!). I had it on in the car one day and was bawling. Next thing I knew a policeman was pulling me over. I felt really awful for him. When he walked up to my window and looked in at me all he saw was a red, blotchy, weepy, snotty girl who was wearing sweats and slippers and could barely form words. The best part is, he pulled me over for going too slowly.
After a brief exchange with him where I was able to explain “dog…died…song…sad…ugg slippers are technically shoes…” he looked at me with compassion and said, “I just lost my dog recently. I understand.” He let me sit and compose myself and suggested I not listen to the radio on the way home.
Support comes in rare forms. People understand. Thank God.