In memory of fluffy — the most loyal dog I ever met.
Special release for the international dogs’ day
Grief is one of those terms that you think you know the meaning of, yet it keeps changing. We all think we understand grief because we all experience some sort of grief in life. From accidentally breaking the tip of a perfectly sharpened pencil to losing a kid or a parent. Every time we live a cycle that changes us a little.
For me, losing my dog today was the lowest I have ever been. The deepest of losses and darkest of days. I kept wondering why it hurts me so much. I can try to explain what I felt in words, but I don’t think that will add any value as we all have our own ways of feeling loss. Instead, I took a deep hard look into myself to find some meaning to all this. And that gave me a meaning that transcended my understanding.
As a Buddhist who follows the logic of the philosophy, I had an idea about letting go, and how grief is a part of our life that can never be separated. But just like those physics theories we learned that were never used in life, these ideas were theories for me. Most of it still is. But when you are down with pain and try to find the meaning of that feeling, you start to connect some dots in it.
When we love someone, we create a link. A bond that is created by all the good memories you had. The satisfaction you mutually get from each other. Our love and affection is bonded with that. When a mother feeds her children from her breast, and she looks down on her kid to see that the baby is grabbing the finger of her arm. That image you create there will never leave you. No matter how messy the child gets, no matter how annoying they become as they grow and eventually grow apart, the bonds you made are the ones that keep you close.
When you lose someone, you miss those links. Accepting the fact that there can never be such memories again is a deep, cold feeling. We think we miss that person as a person, but what we really feel is the loss we get. It might sound selfish, it might not be true, but that is what I figured. Now, why does the loss of my dog hit me the hardest?
An answer to this came up when I remembered an idea shared by someone I admire. He said, “we love dogs because we think they love us unconditionally. I am sure they do, but they can’t let us know even if they don’t”. With people, the notion of perfect love does not exist. We all talk back, we all argue, and we all have some rough patches with people that break us away from that perfection. But with a dog, all you have are good memories. There can never be a bad memory. We love pets more because of that.
And when you realize that you don’t get that constant supply of goodness anymore, of course, it hurts. Sound selfish? Well maybe.
I said goodbye to my dog in my hands today. She spent a full life. She never liked to be chained. The level to which she understood us scared us sometimes. She saved people on the streets from her not-so-chilled brother (who actually looks really depressed right now). I don’t think she feared leaving us or will miss us (as all dogs go to heaven they say).
I don’t think I miss fluffy; I miss the memories. But then again, that is fluffy!