The photo is poor quality. But the life in it is sweet.
My friend and companion, to whom I thought I’d have to say goodbye by Christmas, has survived to see the dismantling of the season. She has outlived her prognosis and I have learned how to live with joy in the face of death.
When I first heard that she was dying of cancer, I was so grieved I didn’t know how I’d get through it. My dog is my best friend and home companion. My partner. And I felt ridiculous in the midst of crying, when there she was! Panting and begging for food, very alive! Why cry?
I have learned this aspect of grief: I can ignore what’s coming. I can simply not think about it. I would call it denial, but I know she’s dying; I make sure she gets her pain meds. I just refuse to consider the loss of her while she’s alive. I don’t pretend it’s not happening, and yet I do. Is there a word for this? I don’t know.
I do know “be here now” and “now” is very sweet.