An ongoing series of Thoughts & Experiences
An ongoing series of Thoughts & Experiences
July 9, 2017
For seventeen years, I had three dogs. Before Christmas I lost Skeeter. He passed away in my arms from heart failure. He called out to me, the morning he was dying and I was able to be with him in his last moments. Skeeter was the alpha dog within my pack of three. The smallest one, but he lead his brothers with a stern gentleness of cooperation that helped me to understand Relational Dynamics.
On July 4th, I lost Snipper. Snipper unlike his brother did not die quietly, he had a very painful disc problem and as I gave him every painkiller the vet had prescribed, I knew that I would not allow someone I loved to suffer. I brought him to the emergency vet and he was still screaming. I asked for them to put him to sleep. As I held him I remember the pleasure he experienced when he would race across a field like a bolt of lightening. The joy he greeted each morning with his tail wagging. The crazy things he would do to make me laugh, like standing on a plate and eating watermelon, singing at the top of his lungs until his brothers would join in, or eating a plate of ice chips when it was 100 degrees outside until he shivered. He loved to wake me in the morning, to sleep under a blanket and to lie on my chest against my heart. His last night on earth, he found the only position that seemed to not hurt, lying on my chest again.
I have lost pets before. I have lost people who I loved before. Some have gone gently like Skeeter, other fighting in pain like Snipper. With each loss I am reminded how precious life is.; how our memories store the wonder and beauty of lives that pass; and how privileged we are to share our paths. True wonder and grace are never taken from us; we just need to remember. Perhaps what I celebrated this Independence Day was both the freedom to end suffering through love and the joy of knowing I am never truly separated from those I love.
June 7, 2017
We all have a father, some are near us very day and some we may have never met. Father's have this image to live up to, as a protector, provider, and even a fierce warrior. But as Father's Day approaches this weekend it might be worthwhile to think about who and what we are honoring. Is it a stereotypical image of someone like Robert Young from Father Knows Best, Fred McDowell from My Three Sons, or Bill Bixby From the courtship of Eddie's Father, or Bill Crosby in the Crosby Show. They all fit the image of the all knowing, protecting father. Or it your image of your father may be more like Archie Bunker from All in the Family, or Homer Simpson from the Simpsons, or Dave from Family Guy, or Hank from Over the Hill, or Fred Sanford from Sanford & Son. Television promotes images of men as heros or fools but most fathers are a little bit of both.
So when you think about your father this Sunday, consider first that he is an imperfect human with a great desire to always be better. He was given lots of messages about needing to be God like and could never reach. He was probably taught it is unmanly to cry although sometimes his heart aches with pain. We as a society keep saying the only emotion he is permitted to express is anger and it is best when intoxicated. We, as a culture, tell him he is useless unless he is a good provider for his family.
Perhaps this Sunday, you can look beyond his gender and our preconceived roles and see a person who in his own way is doing his best and dispite his imperfections is very lovable. You may find in accepting him, you are also learning to accept yourself. Have a Happy Father's Day!
June 31, 2017
Yesterday, I had to go to the doctor. The nurse in their office asked me how often I tell people that they have to take care of themselves before they take care of others. Before I could answer, she went on to say that I was just like all the other doctors, "You never take your own advice", so here I am today eating crow and humbly trying to do what I say.
I struggle with not putting everyone else's needs first, just as many of the people I see. It is important in our busy lives to make sure we all take care of ourselves and one another.
Today you may want to take a moment and stop all the craziness in your life and just spend a few minutes petting your cat or dog, greeting your children with a smile that reminds them how much you love them, saying thank you to your partner for their support. But make sure you take some time out for you to be healthy and if you are healing, take even a little more time because you deserve it.