I don’t usually write on Sunday, but I’m making an exception, as I watch my life trying to rearrange itself in the wake of Aspen’s death.
It’s always hard when someone you love leaves, regardless of species. The tragic deaths,
those that are untimely or violent, are the most difficult, but even a merciful death as Aspen’s was—she’d lived a long life, got six months extra with the cancer treatment, and was able to go before things got too bad—still leaves those of us affected by it with a hole to fill, a void to feel, and a life that doesn’t stack up right. Aspen was with us since 1994. To go on without her will take some getting used to.
We never did get one of those housecall vets to come (note to self: die during the week), but going to the neighborhood animal clinic that she’s used to turned out to be a bittersweet blessing. Nick carried Aspen down the stairs but after that she wanted to walk. I was surprised that she made it the two blocks on her own, sniffing trees and buildings because she was a long-nosed dog and sniffing was her favorite thing. My daughter, Adair, her husband, Nick, their other dog, Oliver, and I were all with Aspen when she went. We wrapped her in love. I stayed on with her for a few minutes after. I figured she was up on the ceiling looking down, like the near-death-experience people say, and I didn’t want to just leave. I told her to follow the Light, but she lived in the Light so I don’t think she had any trouble.
Yesterday was a sad. I walked around the Upper West Side and ultimately went into a little beauty shoppe I know and got my roots touched up. When in doubt, self-care is a good thing. Last night Adair and Nick and I went to dinner. I bought mangoes from the street vendor on their corner. He has the best mangoes. Since life has to go on, it needs to go on with some quality, I figure.
Today, for me anyway, is worse than yesterday. It’s a Sunday. There’s a line from an old Kris Kristofferson song that goes, “And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’ half as lonesome as the sound, on these sleepin’ city sidewalks, Sunday mornin’ comin’ down.” I guess because the routine of work isn’t here for comfort, Sundays seem longer and harder. William is out of town. I didn’t go to church because my church is mega-joyous. Most of the time that’s good. Today I wanted something else. Maybe to think these thoughts and write these words.
Here is the tribute that Adair wrote for Aspen:
After 15 years of unwavering love and companionship, Aspen peacefully left this world on June 27, 2009.
When we met Aspen she was an abandoned stray found wandering the streets in a rainstorm, starving and afraid. She taught us that great happiness can follow a difficult beginning, and that helping a fellow creature in need is one of the greatest joys of life.
Aspen has been with us through the loss of family members, a move across country, and a marriage; she walked down the asile as the “flower dog.” Through good times and bad, Aspen was always there reminding us to live every day to the fullest, and to love those around us unconditionally.
Please direct any donations in Aspen’s memory to Mighty Mutts, an all-volunteer dog-and-cat rescue group serving the New York City metropolitan area. Thank you for all your support.