A note to my boss, discussing life and the death of our dearest dogs.
i want to thank you so much for reaching out and for sharing this with me. truly a treasure of a note. wanted to echo back what the passing of my dog chichi and other experiences have brought up for me over the last few weeks …
at one point during the funeral i was at a few weeks ago, there was this sweet moment of silence when a group of us stopped trying to dissect what was going on and what to do next and simply watched this American bull dog puppy stalk and pounce and play with an empty aluminum can that was reflecting in the sun. this puppy had recently been brought home to the house where my friend had grown up, where his father had suffered his emotional decline, and just 2 days prior, had taken his own life. it is truly hard to image the agony, the entrapment, someone would have to feel to live in a world with puppies like this and not see a reason to stick around to watch it grow. its also hard to imagine having and maintaining the simplicity of mind that allows you to constantly enjoy a moment, express unfiltered love, shake off embarrassment or guilt, make people feel good, in the way dogs can — we have much to learn from them.
after our visit to google on friday, i headed home to hang out with my mom, who i so deeply deeply love. i realized on my ride down that this was the first time i would be at home, in 15 1/2 years, and little chichi maria wouldn’t be there to greet me. wow.
when a park ranger brought a stray dog in labor into the vet hospital, my mom delivered a litter of puppies and my brother and i got to choose one. i was 9 and my brother was 11. we picked the runt, because we knew we could help give her the leg up she might need. i remember leaving this little girl at home alone that night while the three of us went off to the circus, and felt this tearing inside which I think was my own instincts for responsibility and commitment and stewardship and partnership being birthed in my body. year’s later, she evolved into an anti-social, rat-tailed creature — think Santa’s Helper — and became somewhat of an iconic figure, always flanking my mom, or sitting on her lap in the driver’s seat while speeding around the California Central Coast, or sleeping under her covers at night. while she was sometimes uptight, she would loosen up and play with me in a way that was unlike her interaction with anyone else. we were, without a doubt, sisters. we understood and trusted each other.
my mom called me to tell me chichi had passed away — that her health had been failing and that seizures started in the dark of night. As soon as the sun rose and the hospital opened, she wrapped chi chi up in a blanket, and walked her through the house, to say goodbye to the places where she loved to sit. To say goodbye to our two cats who she mothered. The backyard where she would roam and sniff. My bedroom where she would nap in the afternoons. The door to the garage where she would await my mom, or bolt for a trip to the beach. Then my mom took her back to the vet hospital where she was born, and when the doctor confirmed what the right thing was to do, euthanized her.
this whole dance that happened at dawn reminds me of a story my mom would read to me when i was young called goodnight moon. we slowly say goodnight to the things around us, things that seem so inanimate until we’re saying goodbye, and then they just explode with meaning and emotion and life.
it is so wild to me to watch my mother say goodbye to her other daughter. it is so wild to me that i’ve lived the entire lifespan of a species that i connect with deeply — not a sand fly, not a gold fish, but a family member. And I feel like i’m still beginning. i am so grateful for so much, and so humbled.