Thursday, January 12, 2012

"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living". - Marcus Tulius Cicero

Death. Why is it so hard to talk about? I keep going back and forth on whether to try and laugh about it once the pain has subsided or to be serious in my writings on the subject. It's so hard to find a good productive way to talk these things out. I believe it is always best to try and communicate. To express how you feel with those you love and care about. So I will do my best to express myself in an attempt to help better deal with the emotions I have. I will also try to discourage any further depression on the matter. For all the sadness we have to experience in our lives we should always try to look up and find a way to find peace in the things we can't control.

Today I want to speak only of the death of animals. I don't think I can even begin to fathom talking about the death of our friends and family. That is for another day.

We develop such close attachments to our pets that they almost, if not completely become human to us, and I believe that pets are a very important part of anybody's life no matter their age or status. If you have not yourself had the chance to own a pet. For shame. Go find yourself a rock or capture a snail* or something. Those are pretty low maintenance?

Ill give you a once over of some of my pets over the years that I have lost. Ill try to stay chipper, but cut me some slack we are, after all discussing the passing of our dear friends.

The rabbits, shiloh and milo. We loved these little guys. I found out they had been poisoned somehow and passed while I was staying in Logan with my cousins. My brother Matthew and I used to sneak them into the house and play with them in my ginormous, oversized pink doll house. My mother was not thrilled with this when she caught us. Here is my account of one of their deaths in journal form.

Don't you love the drawing? I guess I forever chose to deal with things in an artistic way. There are several more writings about later pets but I will spare you and myself the humiliation of those entries.

Princess. My first real pet was a golden retriever. We picked her out from our friends litter. We all loved her so much. She was, as my childhood journal states, "the best dog that will ever live." We found out that she had kidney failure and had to be put to sleep. I remember it being the worst day of my life. I think we all cried for days, even my brother Chris, who would never be caught dead shedding a tear. He tried to hide it by putting his entire head in his shirt. None of us noticed, we were all beside ourselves with grief. It was our first real experience with death. The closest thing to a family member passing I think we could get. She was, after all, all of our first and most loyal friend.

The Scruffinator aka Scruffy. Our little menacing schnauzer pup. He lived a long life but was sadly hit in his prime by some idiot teenager speeding in their idiot red sports car that no teenager should be allowed to have let alone drive. It was a traumatic event, especially for my poor brothers who experienced it first hand. I had just started dating Steve, so he got to experience my over dramatic flail to the ground in the most agonizing episode of grief. I think it might have frightened him just a little bit. Needless to say I cried my eyes out on the sidewalk next to him. Every time I think about it I get tears in my eyes. We were such great pals.

The Snake. Now this one I think you will all think I am a lunatic for even mentioning. (my grandparents and mother especially) I know there are a few of you out there who might understand. I had a pet snake. His name was Tee (after steve) but I just liked to call him snake. He was a little albino corn snake. Pink and orange and incredibly awesome. For unknown reasons he passed away not to long after Steve and I were married. Did I cry? you may be thinking. Why yes, I did. I don't even think I myself would believe that I'd be saying this if you asked me 5 years ago.....but I loved that snake.

Tippy. This was the most recent departure. Steve and I rescued the little guy** from petsmart where Marcus, my brother, was working. He had some inner ear infections and couldn't be sold, so we took him in. His ear had been fixed but he was a little off kilter at times (hence the name). He was hilarious. Seriously I never thought I could enjoy having a rodent as a pet, but he was an adorable little guy. Running in circles and grunting his little heart out in communication with Steve (his favorite). Sadly as a lot of guinea pigs do, he started having some stomach problems that led to his death. It was hard having to watch the slow process. I know it sounds quite silly to be so sad over such a strange pet, but it truly was incredibly sad. Side note: at the vet they make you check, out of three options, how much you care about your pet. It is a rather cruel way to make someone fill out paperwork if you ask me, especially when they have a sick animal. It was weird. I suppose they are just trying to do their job.

Somehow we form attachments to these little creatures and they just grab on to our emotions. I cried the night little Tippy died, I am not ashamed to admit it. I Sobbed.

I learned tonight that my grandparents had to put there dog, Wilson, to sleep. It is a very sad and unexpected thing. My heart just aches for them during this difficult time. It seems almost harder to bear then if I were going through it myself, knowing how much they are hurting over their loss. Cute little Wilson was such a great companion and friend for them. They loved him so much and took such great care of him. He is probably the most loved animal that has ever walked this earth.

I love my sweet Grandparents. They are some of the most caring and compassionate people I know. My sweet Grandma Jean is my number one reader here. I am always so thrilled when she tells me about how much she loves reading what I write. My Grandpa is so tough. I broke him when I was young by forcing him to hug me. I don't think he really ever liked hugging, but I literally would just hold on to him until he hugged me back. Now I find myself being embraced before I can even think to hug him yet. It would just not be a proper visit without a hug from him and a full tummy from Grandma's delicious cooking. I hope they know how much they mean to me. I finally got up the courage to try and write this post because of them and what they are going through. I know they must be in so much pain over all of this and I wish there was a way I could comfort them. I hope that my writings can at least let them know that I care for them dearly.

I love you Grandma and Grandpa. I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could be there to give you hugs.

Death. Why do we have such a depressing and frightening word for this. I suppose it is because it is a very depressing and frightening thing we all have to experience sometime in our lives here on earth. The death of those we come to love is never an easy thing and everyone deals with it in different ways. I don't think we can ever truly be prepared to lose those we love. I am sorry if this post has been a little bit sad, and a little bit different from my usual ranting and commentary on my life, but everyone has to deal with it in their own way, there is no right way to mourn.

All we can do is remember how much joy and happiness they brought to our lives. I am glad my parents taught me this after my first experience with death. Don't forget all of the wonderful things they brought to your life. Whether four legged friend or slithering serpent we can all benefit from the love of a pet, no matter how strange. Until next time.

*My mom used to pay me to capture all the snails in the gardens and yard. I was too sad to let them be viciously salted and thrown in the street by my I would try to keep them as pets. I know I am such a weird and unexplainable human. 

** He actually lived up to his name of pig, and was quite a chunky little fellow.


  1. I'm with ya Melissa! It really is sad to see a pet pass away, even if other people don't understand that! I'm the only animal lover in my family. I'm sorry to hear about your guinea pig and your grandparents dog :( We have a sick dog that we will probably have to put to sleep soon too, so I know how that feels! Well, just know that if anyone ever gives you a hard time about being overly sensitive about your pets, I'm on your side! :)

  2. Melissa, you are awesome! I just want to give you a hug! Thanks for saying things that we all feel and find a hard time expressing.