Setting the Sparrows Free

I’ve been going for a lot of drives lately. Seems to be the only method by which I can travel at the same speed of my thoughts. Some days, jumbled words race like sparrows in my mind. Each is unique, yet when together, they soar like a black cloud of darkness.

In truth, I’ve been thinking about writing this for three weeks now. But every time I open a blank document, a wave of intense guilt hits me like a slap to the face. One division of my mind screams to write about it so I can evict the sparrows from my brain to a more permanent digital home. Yet, when I’m about to open the cage door to release the sparrows, I feel like I shouldn’t. What if people think I’m just a big attention whore? What if they think I’m just writing this to look like a more legit writer, instead of one who writes sub-par jokes to sell a product? What if people think I need to just get over it already? I constantly strive to maintain a sunny, optimistic exterior. I make jokes to hide my pain, say I’m doing great, when really I’m anything but. The sparrows peck at my insides like a bag of birdseed.

If you somehow stumbled upon this blog and know nothing about me or what I’m alluding to, here’s a quick summary.

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Up through college, I had always dreamed of having my own dog. I needed something to love and care for that was more than just a photosynthesizing room ornament. I needed something that would love me back. When I moved to Atlanta after college for Creative Circus, I immediately started planning on getting a puppy. This pup was an adorable black pug I named Waldo.

A little over a year ago, he passed away a couple of days before he turned six months old. He had a congenital heart defect, and one morning, his little heart gave out. The vets worked on him for about 30 minutes, but he had already greeted the ghosts of another world.

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The pain I felt when he passed was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I guess I was fortunate I had never felt anything like that before. Still, I was distraught. As time passed, thankfully the wound scabbed over, and left a scar on my heart. Eventually, I decided I was ready for another dog about four months later. As a gesture to honor Waldo’s life, I decided to rescue a dog.

In comes sweet Pogo. If you’ll excuse the hippie dippy shit, I knew from the second I met Pogo that our souls were linked. We were molded from the same clay. While we had just met in this life, it felt as though we had been best friends in another life. Like we had a lifetime of memories together after just an hour of meeting each other. We instantly coagulated like glue.

IMG_1229We went to the dog park every day and he ran like a crazed road runner. At night, he would snuggle up next to me in bed, with his little paws in the air. At school, he would attentively listen to teachers and beg for food from any willing donors. He was perfect for me and he healed the wound in my heart from losing little Waldo.

A little over 3 weeks ago, Pogo passed away suddenly and traumatically. As I was walking into school with him, he dropped dead. We scooped him up, rushed to the closest vet hospital, and they worked on him for 30 minutes. It was of no avail. He had already crossed over into the other realm, waiting to greet Waldo.

He was 2 years old.

The vet had no idea what he died of. He had a regular vet visit just a couple weeks prior, and his health and blood work was completely normal.

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Pogo brought light to my life for almost nine months. To say it was a tragedy is a vast understatement.

Grief is a funny thing. Not funny like, “HAHA stand-up comedy show”-funny. More of a situational irony scenario. It’s like a sheet of darkness that hides in the shadows and waits to cloak its next victim. Grief is honestly a bastard, but a necessary bastard.

I’ve realized that while the shock of the first couple of days was so painful, heartbreaking, and sudden, the pain that burns the most is the constant, gnawing pain. Like the vines of a banyan tree, the pain begins scraggly and weak, underdeveloped. As the days go on from the incident, the pain solidifies and establishes itself as real and impenetrable. The pain never goes away, it just becomes duller.

While I’m fortunate to have never been stabbed in the heart or sucker punched in the gut, I imagine this pain is close to what that feels like. It’s the pain that creeps up out of nowhere after you laugh. The pain that reminds you you shouldn’t be happy at a time like this. Any happiness felt is distastefully austere.

And while I know from Waldo’s passing that time heals the pain, I don’t want the clock to tick. Every minute, every hour, and every second further away from Pogo’s passing is a reminder that he’s really gone–– and he’s not coming back. It’s a realization that I am once again, alone. How selfish is that thinking? Geez Louise.

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The worst part is the emptiness. The feeling of deep loneliness that won’t escape when you’re around friends and family. It’s the feeling that no matter what you do, how much you beg, life isn’t going to suddenly end its cruel ways to bring your life back to normal. Pogo’s squishy, warm body has been replaced with a glorified airplane neck pillow. I clutch it in the dead of night, hoping that maybe if I begin praying again, the pillow will magically transform into my lovable little guy.

Losing not one, but two dogs within the span of a little over a year has taught me, first and foremost, about perspective. I throw myself into my work daily and wind up in a vicious cycle of monotony. I forget to live my life. Having a traumatic experience like losing a loved one forces you to stop, mourn, and re-evaluate. Self-care evolves from a luxury to a necessity. Spontaneity sprouts like the first buds of spring.

It is all about perspective.

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Ultimately what you gain in losing so much, is the ability to see that while it’s fantastic to have goals, work hard, and stick to them, (and if you hate clichés and are SOMEHOW still reading this, you’re gonna want to *actually* stop reading here) it’s even more important to remember to live your life instead of simply moving through the motions. Humans are creatures of habit, so it’s in our very nature to fall into routines, schedules, and patterns. But the doldrums of this rigid structure digs our graves for us, until the day comes for us to step into it.

So Pogo and Waldo, in order to honor your loving lives, I pledge to you that I will push myself to not just go through the motions in this life, but to live it. I will feel every emotion with vigor. When I want to cry, I’ll cry. When I want to laugh, I’ll laugh. I will carry your presence with me always. I am beyond thankful for being your mom and I hope one day we’re reunited again.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me through these sad times. Your love, friendship, and support means more than you’ll ever know.

. . .

Alright, back to the silly stuff. There’s a post about cheese below to lift your spirits.

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