As someone who wants to help, to serve, it is incredibly painful to not be able to do anything, to not be able to fix it, to know that I can’t save them.
Even worse is that I can’t simply stand by and watch, untouched. Their pain, their poison seeps into me, into my porous heart, and I suffer too. I try to care for myself, but my chest and stomach cramp and ache, my heart and head hurt, I can’t sleep, and my right eye twitches for an entire day.
And within the past 24 hours, we’ve had difficulties with our boys. We discovered that Sam has Discoid Lupus Erythematosus, (a benign form of systemic lupus, a form of autoimmune disease, which manifests as loss of pigment on his nose, and dry, irritated, raw spots), and Dexter sprained his tail, (Limber tail syndrome, or acute caudal myopathy, a disorder of the muscles in the tail, usually affecting working dogs, also known as Cold Water Tail, Broken Tail, Dead Tail or Broken Wag).
It makes me so sad to see either of them hurt, but the real issue is that recognition of their pain leads to the realization, the remembering that they are mortal–some day they will die, and I will lose them. Our direct relationship, our time together is limited, we are impermanent.
And then there is another remembering, of those already gone and of the loss of them. Two years ago, Kelly was sent home from the hospital and those of us who loved her knew that the end was coming. We entered an awful season of waiting. It only lasted a few days, but it was also eternal, and in so many ways, it’s still happening.
Then and now, there is something so bizarre about the new life of Spring, the return to green, the flowering, the soft earth, the clear blue sky, the bird songs and baby animals, the soft warm new body of the whole thing in contrast with the blackness, the blindness of loss, the grief, the wailing and crying and disbelief, the emptiness, the suffering, the wreck and the broken, the raw of the rest.
That is life though, isn’t it? The horrific brutality and the precious brilliance. A cat smashed on the road, twisted, broken, someone’s lost soft love, and a butterfly resting on a flower, its wings folding and unfolding as it feeds, as it floats from bloom to bloom, drawn by their scent and their sweetness. There is bad in the world, life is brutal, and there is good in the world, life is beautiful–Life is precious, because it is both beautiful and brutal.