Family can be created many different ways. Over the years, I have been blessed to have many different people be my family: crazy-wonderful-supportive-amazing parents and a super-smartie-talented-terrific sister; aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins whom I don’t get to see very often, but whose visits are always a source of excitement for me; in-law parents and siblings who accept me, deeply care for me, and genuinely love me as though I was born into their family (instead of married in); friends I share secrets and fears and meals and holidays and birthday celebrations with…And all of these family members are amazing, and special, and wonderful. But I don’t get to see all of these individuals every day. I don’t get to run home and tell these people about the great work meeting I was a part of, or the terrific volunteer experience I just had, or the kooky thing I just read, or the cool yoga pose I just nailed, or the funny thought that just came to my mind. These trivial-but-important instances that compose “life” are the things I get to share with my in-my-home family: namely, my husband, and our puppy.
This family – our small, cozy, crazy-yet-powerful trio – this family is deeply special to me. This is the family that sees me when I first wake up – hair askew, funky breath, bleary eyed – and loves me anyway. This is the family that irritates me (and that I irritate, too) – and yet at the end of the day we all recognize our individual pettiness and selfishness, and hug and smile and forgive one another our human shortcomings. This is the family that I confide all of my thoughts in, explore all of my ideas in, seek my advice in. This is the family that makes me bigger than my individual self, that lifts me out of my serious, scheduled ways, and makes me laugh, and giggle, and smile, and shake my head and roll my eyes, and enjoy life. This is the family that truly makes me whole, that completes me.
And today, my family got smaller. Today, my husband and I made the heartbreaking decision to take our 14-year-old “puppy” to the vet, and have her put to sleep.
And it sucked. This was THE most difficult decision I have ever had to make; and THE most emotionally painful experience I have ever endured. I’ve been crying since Thursday, and I’m not sure when it will end.
But. All that being said, this space is a blog about the joy in life. Sometimes the joy I describe here is trivial, and sometimes it’s silly; yet other times the joy brought my way is big, and deep, and meaningful. The lessons our sweet puppy taught me, and the truly unconditional love she gave me, and the love I realized I hold for her; this is joy that overwhelms me.
Yet right now, the raw pain of my loss of her is too “new”; she is still too close to me. I can still feel her, and smell her, and see her details in my mind. I haven’t had the benefit of time to soften the edges of it all. So I need to end this post; yes, with intense sorrow; but also with amazing, beautiful joy.