Photo by Esther Lu. Copyright 2017.
A creative writing piece on a death of loved one.
Sometimes there is the struggle for me to feel grief on the passing of a pet.
I have this second voice in my head that says, “Well, it’s just an animal!” But I know that animals are loved ones too.
With the recent passing of a human friend , I’ve been processing grief a little differently as well.
This is my first piece on grief, a letter to my steadfast friend and sibling.
To: Lego, my first dog, whom I remember asking God to give me a German-Shepherd when I was in the second grade. Why specifically a German Shepherd? I’m not sure I think it was the only dog breed that I knew of. I think I was seven or eight. About four years later, God gave me Lego. A mix german shepherd-siberian husky. Even better! Two dogs in one.
I walk through the front door, with my own stench of oil and smelling like the gym. My human scent mixed in with the rest of the people in this apartment. But your scent is gone.
It used to balance the doorway, your hair scattered on the floor, on the bottom of our shoes, our socks, even our underwear. Your hair was everywhere. I suppose even now that you have passed your hair will still be with us, a constant reminder of your presence of being a gift to us, a being who stayed with us and moved with us. You were my mom’s third child who left too quickly. She (our mom) used to accidentally call you Esther and realize she was calling my name ( her second daughter) when she really meant to call your name, the name of her third son.
We haven’t touched your stuff since you died. We keep on hoping that if we never touch your things, it’ll be as if you never left. As though you only went on vacation. But I know dogs don’t go on vacation without their owners.
Your blanket rolled up in folds, even when you were too sick to play with your blanket, you still managed to leave it messily strewn about on the floor, your space, your home. It is still strewn across the floor, in rolls this way and that, as if you only left us yesterday. My mom says, 我沒有 性情, to clean up your things. Your bowl still sits in the place where you would get your food. It’s still waiting for you, it is emptied. Only your water bowl is gone. It’s as if you are still half there. I only learn now that 性情 (xin1 qing1) can mean nature or temperament, I guess those are stronger words than the just the word “feeling.” I thought our mom just had no feelings or did not feel like cleaning your things up. But really it’s because she has no temperament, it is not within her nature at the moment to wrap your things up and to say that final closing prayer she has been resisting for weeks.
She rolls over in her bed and says to me, that you died too early. I assure her you were a geriatric and that according to the chart in the Doctor’s office you would’ve been 80 years old in human years, which is a ripe old age to die. I guestimate your age to be “basically” eleven, and that that you died not at 10 years 5 months but at 11 years because that gives me peace and something solid to tell her that you did not die early, even though she felt like you did.
I want to write down everything that I know and remember (as of now) about you, but I simply have no 性情 but I know I will forget slowly about you because humans are forgetful, though I know dog’s are not.
I remember when I did not want to see your death, but mom wanted to. She held you in her hands when you passed on. The Doctor said, “I am sorry for your loss.” I knew he meant it. She paid the extra $55 to have you be put to sleep first, before they shot the drug in to stop your heart so that you wouldn’t feel pain. I wonder if you knew your life were to end there in that room, on that day?
I remember the day you died, I woke up with the song Great is Thy Faithfulness, knowing that God the Father is faithful even in death. Something in which I still do not understand. I also woke up with the verse from Matthew 6: 25-30, and (this other verse) so I know you are and were taken care of by God. He created you in His image. You are his creature and you are good in his eyes (as seen in Genesis, when God creates animals). He cares for you because you are his creation. I rest with that peace knowing that.
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