Tuesday, January 1, 2013
And got on with life.
Needless to say, a judgement of hard-heartedness was not pleasing to hear. I don't think I'm hard-hearted, either toward animals or people.
And yet...this was someone who knows me well, and has known me for many years. It wasn't a remark that could be lightly dismissed.
After giving it some thought, I arrived at a conclusion that I hope is accurate...and is not merely self-serving.
In this case, composure was mistaken for indifference. Reacting with outward grief served no purpose; it wouldn't change the events, and emotions can tend to feed on themselves, and become somewhat self-perpetuating. This had practical importance; my wife took the events badly; she needed support, as did the remaining dogs (they were very upset at the second, more unexpected, death).
Beyond this, death is simply a part of life, for dogs and humans. It's my belief that these small, gentle souls will precede us to Heaven, there to wait in welcome for us. The parting's only temporary.
And, finally, it seems to me that their memory is better honored with a smile, and gratitude for their presence - though that smile carries a certain wistfulness.
In the end, I guess I just don't know. The rationalizations may be empty, built to hide a hollow heart.
I hope not.