IS what I’ll say as I stand patiently at the reception desk.
A well dressed young lady will then give me a strange look…should she laugh or should she cry? She’ll put down the pen in her hand, as she’s not quite sure what to write down. I won’t say a word as I am extremely humbled at that moment. Usually I fill in awkward moments with gibberish-type banter that slowly erodes as the person gets frustrated at my incoherent speech or my anxious chuckle, which, by the way, is aimed at myself because of that very thing I do…gibberish…and chuckling at inopportune times…often…both small signs of a mental health disorder that runs in my family, fyi.
She will then pick up the pen once again, look at me squarely in the eye and repeat clearly, “You’re here to get lucky?”
To which I shall reply, “Yes, that is correct. I’m here to get Lucky. My dog. Um…no, actually my dog’s cremains…er, he died.”
Suddenly relief stricken, she will give me a broad smile, then abruptly take it back once she realizes that it is a dead dog’s remains that she is retrieving; naturally, a sobering experience for the owner. Her relief, of course is due to the fact that she is not being solicited for sex by a middle-aged woman in a t-shirt with a moose on it stating “I moose you, come back to Maine!” and loose-fitting men’s sweatpants, as she may have initially feared.
I have befuddled the poor girl and I’ll admit, I enjoyed seeing her squirm, but only to avoid the sadness and utter embarrassment I’m feeling about picking up my dog’s remains three months and four days after his death.
Lucky was a diehard freedom grabber. As a bonifide opportunist, he took any possible moment to squeeze past unsuspecting visitors or family members coming or going, with all intent to run wild and free. Some satellite intelligence must have tipped him off to Trash Pickup Tuesdays, as that was the prime day of his usual escapes. He was fairly easy to find, all I had to do was follow the haphazard trash piles where my dog went through others’ empties forming a trail to his whereabouts.
He was thirteen. He had contracted a blood borne disease where red blood cells attacked white blood cells (or vice versa). Death was inevitable as his own body was literally killing itself. I couldn’t stand to see him suffer so there was really only one option and that was displeasing to say the least.
Fortunately for Lucky, I happen to have it on good authority that there is a Trash Pickup Tuesday in Heaven. In fact, each day is TPT in that magical place. Freedom is happily encouraged there. So what’s my problem?
The problem is that I’m picturing a “to go” bag in the nether regions of the 24 hour animal hospital where he took his last breath. His name, “Lucky”, type written across a sticker like the one we’d wear at a conference, “Hello, My Name Is…..” placed in the center. It has sat collecting dust for ninety-four days. I know this because I have felt badly about it for about five minutes on each of those days. And he’s now kinda like dust himself. How ironic.
«« Loose association alert: Fun Fact: People who like the taste of dust on furniture and other nonnutritive substances are presenting Pica-like behavior. That is considered an eating disorder and is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders. Interesting, huh? »»
Hospital staff probably think, (if they even care) that I just dumped my old dog off to be killed and wanted nothing more to do with him. That is not true. And it is true to some degree. I didn’t just dump him off. I spent a great deal of time with him while at the hospital and I cried with him…over him, but I don’t care to hold my dead animal’s remains in any form. He’s gone. His spirit is gone. Lucky is finally FREE! He is not his ashes. Something inside me says no. Just no. I can’t do it. It’s not like the no I feel when I have to make a gynecologist appointment, although similar, it is a no that pulls me away from this and tells me I cannot do it because I don’t want to see my dog’s life reduced to a handful of ashes. I want to picture him carefree and pain free and just plain old free.
And since we’re discussing freedom… no big deal, but I have a gerbil running around my house. Fortunately I am okay with rodents. I’d prefer they not run free in my house, preferably the upstairs bedrooms, but whatever. It happens frequently here. I suggested that my daughter who purchased him name him “Houdini” as he escapes as often as he is placed in captivity, it seems. She decided that “Stuart” was more “him”. Ok, I said, he’s your rodent, but he’s probably running away from that name…
I can’t blame Stuart for wanting his freedom. And yet I’d rather not step on him in the middle of the night when I get up to pee. Not a good way to go. (him, not me). So…that whole concept of being free…in my last post I said something about almost a “freeing feeling” from the devastation of our lifetime of bad things happening to good people. I said something about either feeling it and letting it take over your life through anxiety and depression, or getting up and looking the fear in the eye and moving forward. I choose to move forward. Some days more reluctantly than others. Some days I move at a snails pace and cry a lot, but at least I’m moving in the right direction. Nothing wrong with emotion either, you people who dislike any potential appearance of weakness. Emotion in itself can help move you along. Live it. Feel it. Be free from it.
Ok, so you see what just happened here? Just as I’ve written, I have progressed from thoughts of leaving my dog’s remains in the cremainatorium to pondering his retrieval and giving them a place in the sacred ground of our backyard where he and his buddy, Leo (our English Mastiff) used to enjoy relieving themselves in the very spot where I made every effort to plant daisies. And daisies, ladies and gentleman, have finally popped up. A sign that Lucky shall rest there in peace? Yes. I think so. I’m picturing Lucky now, triumphant in his quest for uneaten food and the freedom to scavenge it!
Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are (he is) free at last. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
(unfortunately, so is Stuart…but that’s for another day…)