I’ve managed to discover the absolute most depressing and horrible sentence in the English language, and it’s this:
“My dog died this weekend.”
This is a sentence that I have yet to say out loud, because as is customary whenever I’m presented with an emotionally intense situation, I’m ignoring the reality and sweeping my feelings under the rug. Bottle it up, I say. It’s just easier that way.
It hasn’t really sunken in yet that Roxy is actually gone, and even though I get a momentary flash of sadness every time I walk in the door and she isn’t there to greet me, I’m just trying not to think about it because I’m afraid I might seriously lose my shit if I dwell on it too much. The weekend was the most dramatic weekend I can remember having in a long, long time, because even though she was fifteen and we knew that her days were numbered, we never imagined that her final hours would be as violent and unsettling as they were. She had a series of five or six seizures over a 12 hour period, seizures that I’ll probably have nightmares about for years, and because my parents grew up in the country and their mentality has always been that if your dog is sick, you put it out of its misery rather than giving it all kinds of medications just to prolong the inevitable, we decided it was time. The vet agreed with us, and said her best guess was that it was a mass on her brain, or a lesion or something. So we did what we had to do, and it was fucking miserable.
More than anything, I feel bad for my mom. She took care of both her parents during the respective prolonged illnesses that led up to their deaths, and on Saturday night after it was all done and over with she told me about how she had spent the day feeling sorry for herself because, she said, “my parents are dead, and now my dog’s dead too, the three people who loved me unconditionally!” I didn’t comment on the fact that Roxy was a dog and not a person, nor did I tell my mom that I’m still alive and that I love her unconditionally, because, well, I’m a bad person I guess, and the older I get, the harder it is for me to tell my parents how much I love them, or to say anything honest or heartfelt to comfort someone when they’re upset. I’m just not good with that emotional stuff, or something, and I hate being in situations where I need people to comfort me, or situations where people feel obligated to offer comfort even when I don’t want or need it, and as a result of this emotional disconnect on my behalf, I’m also very bad at being sensitive about other people’s feelings. My coping mechanism has always been to bury it away, to distract myself as much as possible, drink a few beers and refuse to acknowledge the intensity of the pain. If I don’t think about it, then it doesn’t matter as much, right? Something like that.
There is a lot more that I could say about all of this, but because no one ever really cares to hear about someone else’s misery, I’ll cut it short before I get too carried away. I’ll save the rest for a submission to Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul VIII or something.
The one thing that made me feel a little more at ease about the drama of the weekend was on Sunday, when I was reading Apocalypstick (which is currently my favorite blog) and I got really ridiculously intense deja vu for a minute. I felt weird about this because a) deja vu by definition is always pretty weird, and b) I feel like deja vu is supposed to happen when you’re actually doing something and not while you’re chilling out in your pajamas reading a blog.
But then I remembered a conversation I had a couple weeks ago when I was at Wittenberg that made me feel better. I don’t remember how this conversation got started, but we got onto the subject of deja vu, and my friend Dan was saying how he really likes it when he gets deja vu because it makes him feel like things are exactly as they should be- like that one moment where you get that weird sensation of “what the fuck I swear I’ve done THIS EXACT THING BEFORE…” is a moment that is supposed to be as it is, and that feeling is just to let you know that all is right in the universe. I never thought about deja vu that way, but it sounds like the best explanation of it that I ever heard. Because whether or not it’s true, sometimes it’s just nice to be able to believe that things are right in the world, and that your life is as it should be.
So I’ll let myself believe that that moment of deja vu was some sort of cosmic memo letting me know that I’m on the right track, even though most of the time I don’t feel like I’m on any kind of track at all, let alone the right one, and that it wasn’t just caused by the odd coincidence that Almie dressed up like a sandwich for Halloween and I dressed up like a hot dog. I’m still waiting for pictures of that to pop up on Facebook, so a photo-fun-filled blog post is coming soon. For now, I’ll leave you with an Oscar Wilde quote, which illustrates a much more uplifting way of thinking about my emotional inadequacies.
“I can sympathize with everything, except suffering. I cannot sympathize with that. It is too ugly, too horrible, too distressing. There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathize with the color, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life’s sores the better.”
Amen. Don’t worry…be happy.