Sunday, August 30, 2009

Endings and beginnings

I'm not going to apologize for the delay in updating this blog because it seems pointless. Life occurs, and we have to roll with it. Immediately after my last blog post I was laid off from my job; no I wasn't dooced. After the struggle to find a job the previous year, saying I was scared and depressed would almost be an understatement. I once again filed for unemployment, and started flooding the market with information and applications. Thankfully my period out of work was much shorter this time than last time. I'll post more about my job in another post some time, but this sort of transition is just another example of the endings and beginnings I've experienced.

Today my dog Topaz passed away. Topaz was 12 years old, and 120lbs. She lived at my parents house, and was, since I moved out, more their dog than mine, but having picked her out as a puppy when I was myself still a child, she has always had a special draw for me. She, along with my cat Lava, picked out Russ for me.

Topaz came into my life about halfway through my Freshman year of high school- the beginning of a very interesting and transitional period for me. I was awkward, at a new school with no friends, and changing greatly in my opinions, ideas, and attitudes as people are want to do during adolescence. As I grew older and began dating, Topaz met any and all of my serious boyfriends. She went with me on trips to the lake with different friends and suitors. It didn't take me long to realize she was my litmus test- if a person was kind and involved with my dog, they were more likely to be kind and good to me. Guys who didn't emulate my love and respect for animals didn't make the cut. But Russ was different. He would spend time with her, playing with her and taking time to pet and be kind to her. She would squeeze between us, and he would, without missing a beat, make room for both her and me within the circumference of his arms.

This loss seems to be, in some strange way, the true death of my childhood. At 26 this sounds ridiculous. I've been married almost three years, graduated from college, and bought a house. I haven't lived with my parents in almost 8 years, and I have been working for 10. Childhood for me ended quite some time ago. But in retrospect, the beginning of the end was two years ago when our other family dog, Tiberia, passed away at 16 and culminated with the loss of Topaz in the wee hours of this morning.

Thankfully she didn't suffer. I have to greatly respect and appreciate my parents' decision not to rush her to the vet when they discovered her in respiratory distress- she far surpassed her life expectancy, and had been terribly uncomfortable due to her arthritic hips and incontinence. Not only did she get to enjoy a last camping trip with my parents; running, fetching, and swimming in Tahoe, but she died on pillows with my parents petting and talking to her as she took her last breath.

Tonight I write about her on the eve of my journey to Burning Man and the Black Rock Desert for the first time. To say I expect the next 8 days to be life changing would be melodramatic, but to ignore the possibility that I have entered a new chapter in my life would be foolish. Who knows what the dusty playa may bring, or how tomorrow or even any day can effect the person I am or who I can become. Let's hope my life can be half as adventurous and full as my dog's was.