A POEM FOR THE GRIEVING…
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awake in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die…
Please forgive me for not having posted Sunday. I have sad news to tell you. Our beloved dog Oreo passed away unexpectedly in the early morning hours of Friday, October 24, 2014. He was six years old. I was simply unable to write about and publish a happy Halloween story. I could not even write to tell you about what happened to Oreo. But I can now.
Oreo had started acting unwell during the weekend of Oct. 17-18-19. We noted that, whatever it was, it was not getting better by itself, and we took him to the vet on Oct. 21. Our veterinarian, Dr. Audrey Tataryn, wanted to keep him overnight because the blood test results showed he had diabetes (unsurprising), complicated by pancreatitis (shocking). She hoped he would be well enough so that we could pick him up the following day.
When we phoned to find out if we could take him home, she said that he was not responding to the IV drug treatment and wanted to keep him at least another day. It turned out to be two more days, much to our disappointment. Ernest and I planned to phone her on Friday. If she wanted to keep him longer, we were going to ask if we could go and visit him Friday afternoon.
Some inner part of me knew then, but I refused to accept it. Consequently, when the phone rang at 7:20 Friday morning, I was awakened from the sound sleep of the person who is relatively at peace with the world.
It was Dr. Audrey. She sounded grave as she asked for me…then she said the words that sounded to me like a death bell tolling.
“I’m so very, very sorry, Sandra…” she said.
My heart stopped. I think I also forgot to breathe. I felt frozen as she finished her sentence.
“…but Oreo passed away in the night.”
I couldn’t speak. The silence stretched on and on. Dr. Audrey waited patiently on the other end of the phone, seeming to understand my shock, my pain, my paralysis. Finally, I broke free enough to ask a couple of questions, thank her, and hang up. Ernest came home after I phoned him, and we clung together, our sorrow bonding us instantly.
Ernest went to the vet clinic and picked up Oreo’s remains (it hurts to write that for some reason). Working together, we buried his remains in a lovely spot shaded by an oak tree. I couldn’t help but think that the novel I was writing, about the end of the world, contained a chapter that seems prophetic. It was about Oreo being killed by an evildoer. I can’t think of anything more evil than pancreatitis.
Our whole household is realizing what energy Oreo put out…as my constant, loving companion during the day; Ling Ling’s loyal buddy and eternal friend; Tilly Tot’s gentle protector; and Ernest’s constant, loving companion during the evening. The house seemed empty, listless, unappealing. I know our grieving contributed to this; at the same time, it was a bit of an eye opener to find that one little dog could so strongly affect a whole household and all its inhabitants.
We also discovered that Oreo was the messy one and laughed through our tears. Here we had laid the blame on Ling Ling and Tilly Tot for the carefully orchestrated mess in the living room, the scattered toys, the dragged around puppy pillows, the tracked in leaves, dirt and small sticks. Now, with Oreo gone, the living room remains relatively pristine.
I will be going on hiatus for a couple of weeks…and decide what to do with Puppy Dog Tales. The heart seems to have gone out of me to write any more stories about the “three Holy Terrors.” The two remaining Terrors don’t seem so terrible anymore. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want Oreo’s passing to cause a void…I’d like it to be some kind of meaningful.
Please feel free to leave comments. I learned that the birthday wishes I received, which I had dreaded, actually helped. I am very interested in what you have to say and what you have done in similar circumstances to regain your equilibrium in life.
Thanks for being here thus far.