My 16 yr old dog lays in her bed, her body jerking as she sleeps. She has a ragged, deep-chested cough that I’m worried about, but the vet says it’s only because of her narrow throat. I’m still going to go in and get her checked out anyway. One day soon.
I guess I’m avoiding it because I’m in my own state of denial. I don’t want to know the truth. I don’t want to know how quickly her body is deteriorating. How little time she has left.
I was interested, for about a week, on studying up on how to become a Stoic. On the site I ended up in my research, one aspect of being a Stoic is coming to terms with your own mortality. You stare it down through rigorous meditation. And that’s supposed to be liberating because it makes you live every moment as if it was your last.
Though the idea of living courageously and boldly by embracing my own mortality seems good on the surface, I’m too afraid to jump off that diving board. My problem is I suffer from depression with suicidal tendencies. I’m afraid what studying my own death would stir up in those murky waters.
I’m also afraid of my dog’s mortality, so I’ve started to pull away from her a little. That way I won’t be as close when the unspeakable but inevitable happens. I almost wish it was already over with; the anticipation is difficult. Will I ever reach down to pet her and she won’t be warm to my touch?
But I don’t really want her to go. I want her to live forever. I want her to be like she was when she was young, when she could jump up and down from the bed, and we didn’t have to worry about her legs or her back. When she could hear us coming up behind her, and she didn’t cough all the time. When her fur was dark and luxurious, and she didn’t have all the different lumps on her skin and in her body that we have to ‘keep an eye on.’
In the end, death comes for us all. Hopefully when we’re old and grey and have lived a long, full life, and our body just gets worn out from all the living, rather than when we’re young with too much living left to do.
My little dog is still asleep in her bed. Her jerky movements have stopped; I guess her dream is over. I can still see her side rise and fall, I can still see her breathing. So I know she’s still around for another bout of kisses, another treat, another brushing. Another day.