Cutting Loss Down to Size: July 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It doesn’t go away; it just changes

The pain we feel from our losses doesn’t really go away.  It is transformed over time, softening into a different sensation, only to return with startling strength in odd and unexpected moments. I don’t know, but after you’ve lost someone, you will probably experience the aftershocks. Anything might prompt it. Parents of children lost at Columbine say it comes back to them every time there’s a new school shooting. Many of them say the loss is always with them and that there is no closure.

Closure is a nice idea, but I haven’t experienced it, either.  Yes, we can close the door on the acute pain we feel at the loss, but we’ll never close the door on the relationship we once had with the person we lost.  Our relationships make us who we are.  So, for good or bad, we will think of them.  Sometimes that will be pleasant; sometimes it will make us cry.  Always it will make us a bit more empathetic, a bit more compassionate, a bit more human.

Today I took my very active Border Collie, Pino, to the dog beach. Pino is officially an adolescent—14 months old. He used to be such a good boy. Now he does as he pleases. He ran away from me and found a gang of rascal dogs to attach to. He had such a good time. When I told him it was time to leave, he sat down in the lake and turned his back to me. Everybody laughed!  It was like slapstick comedy: okay, the pie in the face is funny initially, but it quickly gets old. Come on, Pino! Out of the lake, damn it!!  Trite, really cliché. This is beneath you!

After we got back into the car, I looked into his soft amber eyes and his sun- glazed  brown and white coat, and I told him what a bad boy he had been. He smiled at me. It was a perfect moment; I was happy! I took a wrong turn, made a u-turn, turned on the radio, and heard a song that reminded me of Bob. And I cried. I told myself not to be angry with myself for not conquering Grief in that moment. I told myself the pain would pass. I told Pino that he had a dad he’s never met and I was pretty sure that dad would have liked him a lot.  Pino smiled wisely.