Life throws you a few curve balls now and again. When I began mulling over ideas for this piece, I was in a pretty angry place. I don’t bode well when people attack my friends — especially when their attackers are their own family. I had an entire rant prepared filled with glass house references and all. Then things changed.
As many may know, I am still the new kid on the block at the Globe. But prior to my tenure here, I worked for a wonderful weekly paper called the Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News. Ran by a husband-and-wife team, it is a small family atmosphere that I was very happy to be a part of for three years. So it should come as no surprise that when I learned one of those family members was about to leave us it would affect me.
Max was the office dog who at times was a very loud beagle who protected us from every person trying to place an ad or pay for a subscription. It took me a while to win Max over with many, many treats and bribes. But soon I made a friend who was pleased with the occasional ear scratch or belly rub when the mood struck him or my homemade dog treats.
Sunday, July 27, I saw a Facebook post saying Max was not doing well. In my two-week absence, he’d already been in the hospital section of the vet’s office and was finally slowing down. I never would have seen it coming. He seemed his usual self to me before I left. Fortunately, I had time to say my goodbyes before he passed the next morning.
When I entered the house, he was lying on the floor and I took up residence beside him. I tried to pet him and he growled. I just sat quietly and cried. After a round of mini seizures, he forced himself to stand to come over to me and I bawled all the more. Finally,he let me pet him and stood as long as he could before laying down beside me as I continued to pet him gently. During this 20-plus minute exchange, a few revelations dawned on me between the streams of tears.
Life’s too short. Two weeks before Max was fine, then, not so much. You have no guarantees. I learned this lesson long ago when my father passed unexpectedly, but it took a beagle to remind me. Harboring the anger and hurt does no one any good, especially yourself. Me silently cursing those that have wronged me or my friends only eats at the pit of my stomach, no one else’s. If our time here is limited and can end at any moment, why spend it angry and upset?
Do something that matters. Something to better your fellow man, something worthwhile, something you can enjoy. While you do need to stand up for yourself, attacking back isn’t always the way.
Thanks Max. Thanks for all of the memories and for reminding me what is really important. Thank you for sharing a quiet moment with me that I’ll cherish. Enjoy chasing rabbits in the sky, buddy. I’ll be sure to bring you treats when we see each other again.