During the class I had to remind myself of that as my mind kept jumping out of the present moment and returning to a past that weighs heavily on my heart and a future of “gotta-do’s.” All of us have a hard time being in the present and releasing our minds from all that plagues us, but it is important for our health, both physical and mental, to gift ourselves with moments of nothingness. So much harder said than done, especially when guilt is added to the mix.
My husband claims that I never say “I’m sorry.” Perhaps he’s right, I don’t say those words too often, but I say it’s because I try really hard not to do things that I have to apologize for. Arrogant answer, I know, but it’s a philosophy that I try to live by, even if I don’t always live up to it. I think aspiring to live a guilt-free life is a goal that keeps me mindful to be a good person. I also think that guilt is such a wasted emotion, one that serves no purpose but to weigh you down. But, growing up in a Catholic family, guilt is imbedded into my psyche and when it hits me, it serves a devastating blow.
Right now my heart is heavy with it.
One of my dogs, my favorite, Maya, was attacked and badly injured over a week ago. Due to financial constraints as well as fear, I chose to care for her on my own, not taking her to a veterinarian where I was pretty confident the prognosis would force me to decide to either go into debt to try and save her or to allow her to be put down immediately without taking extraordinary measures to save her.
I believed I could, with my love and ministrations save her. I was wrong and she died.
There are so many emotions and images that just cannot be held at bay: I see her trusting black eyes looking into my own; I remember the feel of her head upon my shoulder when she wanted to snuggle; her annoying barking and hyper energy, her last moments as her body gave in. She was not just a dog to me and the truth that I did not serve her in her time of need haunts me. As a friend said by way of comforting me, “You’ve been down this road before.” Yes, that is true, but my heart was tied up in this one dog deeply and the circumstances of her death should not have happened.
Love and guilt – a volatile combination.
I told my husband that each day gets a little better. Crying about my loss happens quite suddenly and is set off by the most mundane things. I have a photograph of her close at hand, her collar in my desk drawer and her name tag around my neck. I believe that over time I will be able to relinquish these things, putting them among my many treasured mementos.
Maya’s passing reminds me that as I get older, this experience will visit me more frequently as I will have to say goodbye to people I know and love, that I will only have treasured memories to sustain me once they are gone.
Maya taught me many lessons during her short life with me. Love was one; I hope forgiveness is not far behind. This time, "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem to be enough.