Madeleine is a clever girl, and also a stubborn one. The other day when I was trying to leave to go to the gym, bag in hand, she parked her little butt firmly in the backyard, refusing to come in–even when I called her with a visible piece of food in hand, even when I opened the refrigerator door, a sound that usually gets a really rapid response. I finally had to pick her up and bring her indoors.
As I recently wrote, I am very glad I adopted Madeleine. Allowing happiness into your life is a good thing, as is looking on the bright side, if you can do it without nauseating all the people you know. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid painful emotions. Sometimes it’s cathartic to have a good wallow.
I’ve been filled with dread all week, channeling last year’s countdown to saying good-bye to Frankie, a year ago today. I chose Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, because I like the Mexican tradition of incorporating death as a natural part of life. And the artwork.
But euthanizing a beloved pet is not a natural part of life, even when you know in your head that you’re doing the right thing. It haunts you, and it compounds the pain of missing that pet’s company. I finally allowed myself to go with it, to indulge in a running nose, ugly cry-fest, which is a lot better than the free-floating anxiety I’ve been experiencing as November 1 drew close. Madeleine may have sensed my sadness, even before she heard the honking nose blows, and decided it wasn’t a good idea for me to venture out into an amusement-free zone.
I appreciate the sentiment. But today I’m allowing myself to fully grieve my late, great friend Frankie, who will always have a special place in my heart. You never forget your first love, whether four legged or two.