It’s hard to say goodbye.
Well, it’s hard for me.
I’ve never experienced a death in my family. I’ve pontificated the idea, recognizing that death is both imminent and unexpected, and that even someone so young like myself can disappear in the blink of an eye, but I’ve had the great fortune of never having to deal with those sorts of emotions that I’ve stored away; those emotions that are hidden within, the ones I know exist but fear the day they erupt inside of my heart and inevitably come out.
Unfortunately, that eruption happened to me two nights ago when I received a phone call from my dad that my dog of 15 years, Lucky, passed away.
Considering I received this call while I was in the basement of Woodruff library, I obviously wasn’t in Dallas witnessing this happen. I didn’t get to hold my baby brother in my arms as he closed his eyes into eternal sleep. I didn’t get to stand by his side while he experienced the inevitable transition of life to death. I didn’t get to kiss his furry face and cry with him. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
So now I am in a state of grief, melancholia and mourning. I find myself day dreaming in class, trying to find distractions that will help me not think about this indescribable and damning loss. But sometimes when I’m just walking around, my mind forces me to think about Lucky, to think about all of the times we had, and I just start to cry. I probably look like an idiot, but I can’t help it. These are the same emotions that I prayed I would never have to feel, though I knew one day the eruption would happen. Here’s the eruption, and it’s happening at the most inconvenient times. It might even be happening right now.
But who cares.
Because grief is personal, and losing a loved one hurts. It hurts a lot. It hurts more than I’ve ever thought possible – both physically and mentally, I feel impaired. All of these thoughts of wishing I were there back home in Dallas one last time to see him go won’t leave me be. But it’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to feel destroyed, immobile, lost.
Maybe I want to talk about it – maybe I don’t. Maybe I want to cry under a table – maybe I don’t. I clearly want to write about it. And I want to write about it because I want everyone to know that it’s okay to let yourself feel, regardless of how those feelings and emotions are manifested.
How do you cope with suffering? I don’t know, that sounds personal. I cope by not coping – by crying, and turning into myself; by writing poems to Lucky, trying to converse with death; by talking to my friends about trivial matters so maybe for a second his beautiful face doesn’t appear in my head.
Does this sound crazy? Like I am obsessed with an animal? I hope so. Because we are all animals; Lucky was an animal. But like us, he was much more than an animal, much more than just a pet I owned. He was my little pup, my best friend, the guy I could talk to knowing he wouldn’t judge me for some of the stupid things I’ve done or said. He watched me grow up, and I watched him, too. We spent countless hours together; we felt, together.
Pets are more than objects we humans play with and care for – they are subjects who have personalities, emotions, fears. Many people, I fear, allow their anthropocentric tendencies to guide their treatment towards animals. We see this in the consumption of meat, the commodification of animals vis-a-vi beauty pageants, dog fights and cross-breading and the way we objectify living beings. We do this with humans, too – we take advantage of our relationships, and look at some solely as means to a personal end. We even take for grated those that we love most. We should instead remember that all of these beings have souls. Very stunning and intricate souls that as mere humans we try and penetrate. And with that in mind, the loss of any being that substantially impacted our lives should be treated with the same magnitude as the way we discuss and grieve over human loved ones.
How do you cope with suffering? I don’t know, that sounds personal.
For all those who have family outside of the human specimen: hold them tight, and tell them you love them every chance you get. It’s not my place to tell you how to feel when you experience loss, but just know that it’s okay to let all of the snot and tears fall from your face, to fall into a state of isolated depression, to try and punch holes in your walls. It’s okay to figure it out one day at a time.
And today, I may have figured it out a little bit more. Maybe this editorial is my form of coping – my own way of getting a little bit more closure. I’m trying to feel it out. Do you feel me?
Rest in Pleasure, Lucky. I miss you already.
Editor-in-Chief Priyanka Krishnamurthy is a College senior from Coppell, Texas.