Posted by: mesabimisadventures | December 25, 2010

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Two weeks ago, Matt and I had the heartbreaking experience of putting one of our pets to sleep.  Oliver was one of our “Original 3”, as we had only recently decided to call this gang of two cats and a dog that started our marriage with us.  For 7 years, he greeted us at the door after work and warmed us up with his cuddles.  Our house feels off-balance now, so we’ve been discussing the potential of getting a new cat to join our little family.

At this point, I don’t know that I could handle this pain all over again.  It’s so hard to say good-bye. 

I suspect that my fear will be temporary though and pretty soon, one of those danged ASPCA commercials with Willie Nelson’s “Always on my Mind” will come on when I’m unable to quickly grab the remote and there I will sit, watching the commercial, eyes welling up with tears, thinking of how Oliver would never have made it 7 years if I hadn’t adopted him and off I will race to one of the shelters. 

Fear of death should never be allowed to become a fear of love.

Christmas is a tough day for many people, if not all people.  We all know someone who should have been alive to celebrate the holiday with us (and no, I’m not still talking about my kittycat, well, a little, but cut me slack, they are the closest thing to children I’ll ever have).  Whether the loss is an old one or a fresh one, it’s still a loss and we still all recognize the empty seat, the address we don’t need to keep, or the phone call we won’t be making.  At such a supposedly joyous time of year, there is a lot of pain in people’s hearts.

One of my friends is dealing with the recent death of her friend.  Her incredibly empathetic, insightful young daughter told her that all she wanted for Christmas was for her mom to have her friend back so that she wouldn’t be sad anymore.  At our age, we don’t expect to say good-bye to our friends yet.  “Old” people do that, not those of us in our 20s and 30s. 

Saying good-bye to my friend Jennie at 23 was a game-changer for me.  It would have been easy for me to pull back from friendships after her death.  I never wanted to experience that pain ever again, still don’t.  To open your heart and share your life with a friend… it’s always a risk…  The friendship may not survive or perhaps one of the participants may not. 

We all know I love my husband, that’s a given (and a disclaimer).  But, I’d be lost without my friends.  I fear losing them like I lost Jennie, and perhaps I’m overly sensitive because of that, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  They are a risk worth taking.   When I thought my Christmas spirit was lost this year, they rose to the challenge and brought it back to me.  Thank you Lindsay E. for guiding me back to my personal meaning of Christmas, turns out it’s Linus’ lispy version of Jesus’ birth story on Charlie Brown Christmas.  Thank you Jaime for letting your daughter beat me at Battleship, therein reminding me that Christmas is about making children smile (and perhaps laugh at you a little!).  Thank you Lindsay L. for taking a day off of work just to hang out with me, demonstrating to me that you think I’m worth it. 

Family and friends are the best Christmas present and we receive them every day of the year. 

There can never be too many of them.  They’re never the wrong size or color (unless you’re a bigot and well, then you deserve to be alone).  They don’t require batteries (perhaps some coffee, but that’s easier to find). 

In 2011, make it a resolution to open up your heart.  Let some new people in or simply love those in it more (remember that love is a verb, not just a noun).  May you never be so afraid of the end that you don’t make a beginning.

Merry Christmas everyone – I’m going to go look at the pet listings online.

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