My, my, my, so many things are different since the last time I wrote. It pains me how much has changed in the past week, and honestly, it scares me more than anything. This is a hard one to title, because there’s two major aspects – loss and change. Two things I’m not a huge fan of.
We’ll start with Wednesday. On Wednesday, I quit my job at Chicago Kernel. Probably for good this time – turns out, I’m not as good at time management as I thought, and my classes are much more demanding this semester, so I no longer have that ‘how many jobs?’ life. It’s kind of nice, but it’s also another source of stress. Financial stress. I’ll manage.
I also had to say good-bye to my color guard this weekend. Their season is over, and I couldn’t be more proud of how far they came this year. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to work with some of the best kids in the world, and I’m going to forever cherish this summer because of what they gave me. They gave me the confidence to forge my way back towards striving for excellence in everything – they taught me that I probably have more to offer than I think I do sometimes, and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for that. I’ve missed running chunks and teaching them for the past month, but I think that’s helped me prepare for the ending of my position with them (for the time being, anyway.) Not many people can say they taught their high school program almost right out of high school, and I feel pretty blessed that I got to go back to such a great one. So thanks a million, Grand Rapids Color Guard 2014. You guys rock.
Now for the biggest one. On Thursday, I found out that my best friend, my dog Pascal, was diagnosed with Leukemia. I got my precious baby when I was in second grade, so I kind of knew that he didn’t have years left, but it doesn’t mean that it makes it any easier that last night was the last time I’ll ever get to scratch his ears, the last time he’ll hear the sound of my voice, the last time I got to tell him how much I love him. It’s hard to lose a pet. This is the first time it’s been a pet that I’ve had for more than a decade; the first pet that is mine. I’m not sure if that makes it seem like a bigger deal or a lesser, but right now, it’s constantly all I can think about. If I think about it too much, I can’t help myself from bursting into tears. I keep playing moments in my head over and over again – running downstairs to see my puppy for the first time / taking walks together when I first started running / the sight of his poor little puppy body in the red cast when he broke his leg / watching the older members of my family use the chuck-it for him, and laughing every time he jumped up to meet the ball, and missed / the sinking feeling of walking in to the kitchen, and the food that had been laid on the counter (usually to cool off,) was nowhere to be found / cuddling on the kitchen floor with him when nobody else was home this summer / locking the poor dog in my room and forcing him to sleep in the same room as me when I was home alone / when I came home for a weekend this past March, and he rubbed his head against my arm for a half-hour solid / the time he got sprayed by a skunk, and we urged him to keep burping, because we were convinced that it helped the air circulation for the house / and last, but most certainly not least, and probably the one that makes me cry the most, petting him for the last time. I’ve never had to fight so hard to try and keep my emotions in check, and they still fell through. Right flat on my face.
Thinking about a world where my dog isn’t alive is one of the most painful things right now, but it’s something I need to try and start to accept. He’s going to be put out of whatever pain he’s feeling right now – and not with the help of constant steroids. I’m thankful I got to see him one last time, but it wasn’t enough. It never is when it’s something that’s coming to an end, is it?
So it’s with a heavy heart that I say good-bye, dear friend. I’m so glad I got to have you in my life for almost thirteen years, and I don’t know how I would have made it through the things I did without you. The hardest part is that this is one of those hard things, and I don’t even have you to keep in mind as I get set to bear down and get through it. But be happy. Wherever you end up, whatever you do, be happy. I hope there’s endless tennis balls and a constant chuck-it machine for you to chase. I hope you feel good enough that you can jump up to meet the ball, and not miss it every time. I also hope there’s pizza and cheese and cookies: I know how much you love to (steal) those.
Thanks for staying with me, ‘Scally.