Friday, June 2, 2017

Day 2717

We got up early this morning and took Dot on her final journey. For as long as we've had dogs, we've always wrapped them in their favorite blanket when they passed away and driven them to be cremated ourselves. It was a long drive this morning, but it gave Janet and I a chance for closure. We talked about our favorite memories with Dot and when the time came, I lifted Dot up and placed her on the brick floor of the retort as we said our final goodbyes. Maybe it's just a silly symbolic gesture, but I always feel better knowing that I was there until the very end.

Death is such a strange process. One minute you're alive and then a few seconds later, you're not. The body looks exactly the same, but the spirit has vanished. As I stood next to Dot at the crematorium and stroked her soft ears, it seemed like she was just sleeping. She looked peaceful and remarkably similar to the dog I've watched sleeping next to me on the floor for the past year.

I have no idea how a dog's mind actually works, but I hope that Dot had come to terms with the temporary nature of life before she passed away. I not sure either of my parents came to terms with death and I'm not sure I will either. Life is very fragile. I think all of us should embrace and make the most of the gift of life, but I don't think we should fear death either. It's going to happen to all of us.

When my Dad died, I was the only one who sat in a room and talked with him just before he was cremated. Nobody else in the family wanted to face death that closely, but I found this time peaceful and comforting. I had a long conversation with my Dad. I thanked him for all the opportunities he'd given me over the years and chided him for being such an idiot to fall for one of those Nigerian prince scams toward the end of his life. We weren't always close, but this was one of the better conversations we'd ever had.

Dot knew that we loved her, but as I talked with her in the crematorium's viewing room, I wondered if she realized what a huge influence she had on me. This small dog had made me a better person. Janet and I were quiet as we returned to Dallas. We both knew that there was a large hole in our lives that would take a while to fill.

I'm glad we made the trip when we did, because later in the day there was a horrendous thunderstorm that caused localized flooding all over the place. If we'd been on the road in that storm, our trip would have taken ten times as long. I had planned on returning to pick up Dot's ashes later today, but I'm glad I didn't. Dash was terrified of the loud thunder and I spent a good part of the afternoon sitting under a makeshift blanket tent on the bed with him.

The power flickered this afternoon, but it didn't go out. Janet's drive home from work took forever, but at least the road wasn't underwater like it was in some parts of the city. We had a nice quiet dinner as the storm subsided. As we looked around a house strewn with traction rugs, dog beds, gates, and improvised pens designed to keep Dot safe, we realized that it was going to be a long time before life returned to normal.

Charlie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day