Do you realize–that everyone you know someday will die? — The Flaming Lips
One of my favorite bloggers right now is Rarasaur, and she came up with a “Prompt for the Promtless” idea in which she gives a suggestion and in that week, we write about it. I love that idea, because, as anyone who follows my blog closely knows, I never have any ideas ;-).
Well, when I saw that she came up with a prompt this week for “True Cost”, I knew that I wanted to participate. The idea is that true costs are the often overlooked expenses that one deals with in a given situation; which can include financial costs, time-related costs, and emotional costs.
I decided that I would simply touch on the emotional costs of loving another living being. More specifically, dealing with the loss of those loved ones.
Of course, this topic is heavy, and can be extrapolated extensively into an enormous entry (today is “E” day on the A to Z Challenge, thank you very much!), but I will make it relatively brief.
I have been fortunate enough to have not suffered a close, personal loss. I did lose my grandmother back in 1999 (buried her on my 31st birthday, fun!), but she was 89 years old, and while her death was sudden, she was 89. I was saddened and shocked, but I was not heartbroken. She was the only relative that I was close to that passed away, and I did not grieve extensively for her, as I know that others have done with their loved ones.
I also lost an old friend recently to cancer, and that devastated me, but the truth is that while she and I were friends, I think I mourned the loss of my own past more than the person herself (even though I loved her and miss her).
The deepest loss that I have ever experienced was when my cat, Momo, died last year. I wrote about her a while back, and I think I expressed how profoundly I felt her loss sufficiently enough in that post. She was my first baby, and I still miss her to this day.
I am thinking about these things right now because last week my son and I lost another pet, and his grandmother, both unexpectedly, and both within 12 hours of each other.
On Wednesday, I noticed that my bunny, Dexter, was looking frail and lethargic. Upon closer inspection, I could tell that he had lost a lot of weight, his tummy was distended, and his bodily functions were not quite right. I took him into the vet, and it was determined that he would need to be put down right then and there. He would not recover. If I did not take him in that day, he certainly would have died that night anyway.
I feel a tremendous amount of guilt about that because I had been working too many hours, and I had not been around enough to pay much attention to the pets. About two weeks prior to his death, I had noticed that he was losing weight, but he was still eating, and so I figured that he was fine, or at least good enough. Had I paid closer attention, I surely would have noticed that he was sick, but I was too busy.
Then, about 12 hours later, I got a text from Liam’s mom, Heather, saying that she was on the way to the hospital where her mother was admitted just the day before. She had just gotten a call from the hospital saying that her Mom was dying, and did not have long to go. Heather’s mom—my former mother-in-law, Cindy—was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in September, and decided to treat herself naturally. She took different steps than I ever would have taken, and the cancer only got worse. On Tuesday of last week, her body completely shut down, and she was admitted to the hospital. By early Thursday morning, she was gone. In 48 short hours, she went from weak-but-still-alive, to dead.
I have written a few times about my own experiences with pancreatic cancer, and how I beat it naturally with nutrition and exercise. I kicked cancer’s sorry little ass without chemo and radiation, and I am stronger now than I have ever been in my whole life. Cindy thought that she could beat it with spiritual energy work and naturopathy. She could have, if she had also used diet and exercise in her regimen, but she chose her own path, and now she is gone. There were other factors that led to her untimely passing, but I will not get into them here.
And I feel a little angry about that. Not only have I been feeling Liam’s grief, as well as Heather’s grief, but I have also been feeling my own grief about Cindy’s passing. Even though Heather and I split-up in 2001, I had always been very close to both Heather and Cindy all these years. I loved Cindy; she was family, and she was also very instrumental in my own recovery from cancer.
And I am mad that it had to be this way. Liam did not get a chance to say goodbye to his grandmother–to whom he was very close— and barely had time to register that she was shutting down. And she could have beat the cancer easily if she had not been so stubborn! It did not have to be this way.
The emotional costs of love are many, and they can include, guilt, anger, grief, frustration, heartbreak, and sorrow. The truth is that no one knows exactly how they will react to losing someone or some animal that they love deeply—but that’s the price we pay for loving!
Some costs of love can be even more devastating. I have spoken with a friend and fellow parent that if we ever lost our children that we would simply kill ourselves. That is not a cry for help or attention, and I do not need my meds adjusted (although I would love a lifetime supply of Vicodin!); rather, it is the simple truth. I honestly could not imagine the point of living without Liam.
Some people’s purpose in this world is specific enough that trying to live beyond that purpose is…well, purposeless. I would call that emotional cost, selfishness. And all love is selfish, anyway—don’t kid yourselves.
Love is very complicated; whether that love is for a human or a pet, a lover, a friend, or a child, or even for ourselves, love is complicated. The emotional costs are far too many to list in this simple post. Yet, we cannot exist without them. Love is a beautiful thing, even if it causes us great pain at times, and one of the true costs of love is the whole gamut of emotions that one has to feel to experience it, for good or ill.
Bottom line is this: You cannot love someone without experiencing loss at some point. At that is a part of the pact you make with someone (or animal) that one rarely considers at love’s inception.
Oh, and don’t forget to go give Rarasaur a big Rawr!!