Why I’m Late for Work This Year
If you haven’t seen tons of selfies of me beaming in front of a training room full of people, smiling blissfully at the beach, or “living my best life” on social media, there is a reason why: this last year kinda sucked, straight, no chaser. Some of you may not know this, but 2018 has brought more mourning than I have experienced in quite some time.
Little did I know in July of 2017 that a sudden turn in my dog Frankie’s health would signal the beginning of one of the most abysmal years in my modern life. By August, our poor little guy had suffered his first seizure, a harrowing experience for him and my boyfriend and me. Almost instantly, we became seizure trackers: constantly documenting, monitoring, medicating Frankie’s every move.
Except for those closest to us, most people did not realize that although we were physically present, our minds were at home with our beloved pup, or at the very least, envisioning a full night’s rest without worry of or actual seizures disrupting our peaceful home. Almost everyone was oblivious to how sad and hurt we were seeing our once vibrant and mischievous little Boston Terrier swell uncomfortably to a slow, sullen, chunk-a-munk who wanted nothing more than to sleep peacefully himself.
We would get to a good place with balanced meds and a happy, although groggy, doggie until we had another setback in November. He had to be hospitalized for the first time in his life, and we were suddenly struck with the reality of what our home would be like without him.
That was when I realized I wasn’t ready to lose him. After 12 years, I had absolutely no idea what I would do without Frankie.
He was such an important part of my life! He was the rescue that almost wasn’t, with me as his third owner in his first year of life, and that only happened because the nutty foster-woman couldn’t decide which applicant to choose so she created a lottery with Duke, another foster dog, selecting my name. He had moved with me from NJ to PA. He was the sole survivor—he had outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted all but one boyfriend. He was part of my identity, my road dog, my absolute best friend and favorite person (not person).
Nevertheless, we soldiered through, with few answers how or why, and we found cause to celebrate Frankie’s 13th birthday in December. We had a teenager! And my SO and I survived the holidays…but then…
January. His uncle died.
February. Our Frankie had to be euthanized.
March. His great-aunt died.
April. Nothing bad happened (that I can recall)!
May. My friend’s mom passed away.
June. We were granted a reprieve.
July. Our car was wrecked. My former co-worker died. His brother died suddenly (this was truly a life lesson for us both…).
August. My good friend’s grandma and my oldest friend’s dog died…
And so the year went….leading me here to share these morbid details. I had to laugh momentarily because if I worked a regular job, I don’t think anyone would believe this series of unfortunate events. My life has turned into a perpetual absence excuse! Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!
Moreover, the morbidity of 2018 has had me thinking about what my own legacy will be. Seeing countless celebrations of life this year has me reconsidering my own season in life. After all, how can you envision what you will leave behind when you are unsure of who you are and where you are going?
For me, it started with the way I reconciled loss of a loved one.
Frankie was my heart. As I drove to the vet to tell him he was a good boy one last time, I came to a conclusion. I could never lose him—I merely gave him back. It was as if he had been on loan to me for 12 years which I could never repay. And the time had come for me to give him back. It doesn’t hurt less to return him to heaven, the universe, to earth or whatever. But I refuse to call it a “loss”. He had given me so much. Somehow, that made the pain slightly more bearable. I read that grief is the love that feel that no longer has a place to go.
That makes sense when bereavement becomes confusing. Everything is energy. Love, grief, and regret are energy.
Your legacy is NOT about how much money (or debt) you leave behind. It’s not cars, houses, recreational vehicles. It’s not name brand clothes or designer labels. It is not about estates and wills or insurance policies, though your banker, accountant, and attorney may advise you otherwise. Those are the things you cannot take with you, so you sign a paper and leave them behind.
Your true legacy is a lifetime of smiles, laughter, and tears. Your legacy will draw people into the street, revving their motorcycle engines, and waving a flag in your honor. Your legacy will bring those who loved you to dance in your honor until the front porch bows. It will bring your niece to memorialize your strength and perseverance while laughing about how stern you were. It will bring cooked food to the home you once warmed with your presence.
Your legacy will be the love and energy you share.
Your true legacy in life is the contribution you can leave behind and the gifts that cannot be replaced in your absence. It is how you will be remembered and revered, and how you have influenced even one person, place, or thing.
Where you stand today, what would your legacy be?
In Loving Memory Of: V. Wiltshire, P. Trotman, C. Kingsberry, S. Joseph, B. Williams, E. Colbert, Zen, and Frankie.
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