Someone asked me – For you, what will be the most difficult thing about owing a dog? I replied, “The Goodbye”. And it is, indeed, the most difficult and heart wrecking thing.
I was always prepared, or atleast that’s what I had thought, that dogs have shorter lives than humans, and they will depart early. But when that day came, all hell broke loose. That strong, prepared girl was lost, broken, devastated and miserable.
Being super active in taking care of stray dogs, I had seen dog deaths before. Each time, it would take a piece out of my heart. I would always think what poor lives our strays have. Unexpected and gruesome deaths by accidents, poisoning, extreme weather, disease or worse hunger; whatever the reason would be, I would cry each time that I couldn’t do enough for them to save them.
But when Casper passed away, there was an immense amount of guilt in me. The guilt that kept telling me, that inspite of giving him the best life, inspite of spending thousands of rupees in his treatment, I couldn’t save him. The guilt that I couldn’t take him one last time to the beach, thinking that, “Oh! We have a lot of time together still. I will take him to the beach next Sunday.” The guilt of not doing one more photo shoot with him and Junior together in a garden. All this, because I had taken TIME for granted. Not even for a fraction of a second I had ever thought that my child would be gone as early as 5 years 8 months.
I was shattered and traumatized. I kept searching the internet for hours together to find answers. My head was filled with regret; Hallucinations and depression followed. We have a tendency to not take advantage of the time we get to spend with those we love. We are always a step ahead. Always thinking of the next visit, the next conversation. Whereas the truth is, we should be staying in the present moment. How many times have we heard: My last conversation with my son, my wife, my husband, my best friend, my mom or dad and it broke our hearts?
Photoshoot after first tick fever
The same way, when my Caspu crossed the rainbow bridge, I remembered all the things that I still wanted to do with him. But, that favourite spot in the house was vacant. That chair where he would curl up and sleep was empty. Those early morning wakeup hugs were replaced by silence. His favourite balls were not bounced. Worst of all, his collar was unoccupied. The house was empty and was haunting me. Losing a loved one is arguably the most painful thing that anybody can go through; despite this, coping with grief is an unavoidable part of life that we will all experience at some time or another. For some, it will be something that they will have already experienced multiple times. For others, it may be something they are yet to experience. But it doesn’t matter how many times we lose somebody close to us, the grief that is experienced as a result is always just as real.
But that grief taught me something. It allowed me to move forward. It taught me to find purpose in life and that pain and joy can coexist. Not only did it teach me to be true to myself, but also, most importantly, it taught me live in the present. Yes, I wasn’t the same person. I had changed. His death was the hardest for me to accept. But with time, I did. I couldn’t run away from it or avoid it any longer.
Casper’s death changed my perspective to life. I realised, no problems can be solved by running from them. You have to face your fears. And not just face it, but dive into it to get rid of it. It helped me refocus in life. My guilt and bitterness only created more pain. I learnt to work on my weaknesses and refocus on the present and better tomorrow. It helped me believe in my strengths. It made me realise, “I can overcome anything in life.”
Photoshoot at the Beach
Life doesn’t stop. It changes. But it is upto us as to how we want to move on. We always have two choices during a bad time. Face it or run away from it. And I will always choose to face anything life throws at me. As Lord Tennyson’s quote famously goes, ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’
Life goes on and tomorrow is never promised, so why don’t we take a moment and thank for everything that we have today. Let’s just be grateful for still having our loved ones around and tell them “I love you” and “thank you”. For life changes in a fraction of a second and we do not want to live in guilt for the rest of our lives that we were just a phone call away or a hug away.