It’s been over a week since we said goodbye to our puppies in an unexpectedly tragic situation. Our home feels empty and eerily quiet and calm. We have never not had at least one dog in our 13 years as a family, and Ronnie and I both had dogs growing up and for the majority of our lives before we were together. We are animal people, so this sudden absence of them on our couch that smells like them is ripping our hearts out.
There have been lots of tears and hugs and holding each other. Lots of knowing looks when Layla says something nonchalant about her silly dogs because she doesn’t really understand what happened. And there’s been bickering over dumb stuff because we are all hurting and struggling throughout our days and patience is wearing thin. Though just a certain part of our life has changed dramatically, it feels like the whole thing is going wrong. Furthermore, Ronnie and I grieve very differently, which creates some friction when he’s try to be productive and I want to curl up in the corner, ignore everyone and everything, and sleep till it doesn’t hurt anymore.
I’ve thought a lot about life and heartbreak through this, as I often feel we’ve had more than our fair share of trials and tragedies. Some would say that is God testing us, and showing us how strong we are and that we can learn and grow in faith through this. Some would say that life is suffering, and it just looks different for different people but we all suffer. But as I analyze all that we have weathered together, I have determined that our life is the result of choices we have made to love and follow our dreams.
So much of our pain could have been avoided had we never got married, never had children or pets. We could’ve stayed single and emotionally safe, living our own lives selfishly and autonomously. We wouldn’t have watched two babies nearly die from heart problems , and wouldn’t have felt the strain on marriage that parenting creates. Ronnie didn’t have to take risks to follow his dream and open his own business; he could’ve stayed in the big box fitness world where he was protected by corporate lawyers and administrators that took care of the paperwork and financials, never feeling the pain and stress of a lawsuit directed his way. And we didn’t have to have pets – they are a lot of work and sometimes a total pain in the butt. We’ve said tearful goodbyes to 4 beloved dogs and one kitty in the last 4 years, but no one made us choose them or bring them into our family and onto our couch. Life would’ve been a lot cleaner and less stinky without them.
Choosing love and passion comes with risk and the cost of pain. But as deep as the pain runs, so does the joy flow in equal and opposite directions. It’s just Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion, I guess. As tempting as it is to never again feel the heartbreak of losing loved ones or failing at a new endeavor, that’s just not the life I want to live. We are risk takers, thrill seekers, and love warriors. I hope we will continue to suffer and grow through the inevitable pain this life will bring, savoring the joy and beautiful moments we earn along the way.
Grief is, after all, the price we pay for love.
–Queen Elizabeth II