Friday, February 6, 2009
Marley and Me
I wouldn’t characterize myself as a “crier”. My emotions don’t run really close to the surface but when I do get emotional it is because I feel something very deeply.
Sometimes when I read books I develop a deep love for the characters, in so much that I miss them when the book has ended. However, there are only special books that make me cry.
For example, remember in the last Harry Potter book when Harry realizes what he has to do to defeat Voldemort and he comes to accept it as his destiny, and all those who have passed away appear to him to give him the support he needs. Yeah, I cried.
Remember, at the end of “Lord of the Rings” when the journey ends and Sam says goodbye to Frodo as he leaves to the Grey Havens? I remember I felt so homesick for Middle Earth and all my hobbit friends that the night after I finished the book I cried in my bedroom wishing I could be with them again.
So last week my co-worker recommended that I read “Marley & Me”, because she knew I liked dogs. I thought it would just be a typical formulaic dog book, however I wasn’t prepared for how deeply it affected me.
Last night I finally finished reading “Marley and Me” and friends, I cried, and then I sobbed and then I couldn’t breathe because the tears just kept coming, like emotional diarrhea. Finally, I had to put the book down and stand in front of the mirror and ask myself “What is wrong with me? What is it about this story that is making me feel this way?”
I realized that I wasn’t crying for “Marley” and his life, but for the life of my own dog. The story conjured up memories that some how I had locked away because they were so special. It brought back memories of my dog Charlie, how he loved me unconditionally even when I got impatient with him when he would try to sneak into my bedroom at night and lick my face. Memories when I wasn’t having such a great day and he would come and rest his head on my knee and look up at me with his brown eyes, as if he was saying that he was aware of me and that he was worried. Memories of me scratching him behind the ears after we would go running together, and him being so exhausted he would just fall asleep next to me.
As my dog got older he got arthritis, he started to get seizures, and we think he had some sort of tumor on his stomach. It was really sad to see my friend growing older, but I was growing older to, and left home to go to school. Then one day my parents told me that he just wandered away from home and he never came back.
I was busy with school and felt like I didn’t have time to worry about that. I figured he was in a better place and just moved on. I just suppressed my grief and thought I would deal with it when I had a spare second.
So last night, as I finished the last two chapters, all that pain and grief that I had suppressed all those years from the loss of my dog washed over me like an emotional tsunami. The guilt of not expressing my gratitude for all the joy that my dog had added to my life hit me so hard, that I felt, and I know this sounds dumb, that I had to express it some how. So with tears streaming down my face, I just thanked God for Charlie. For the joy he brought to our family and his unfailing companionship. Then I climbed into bed with the comfort that I was blessed with the love of a dog.
I know people when they read this will think that I need to get a life. But those people probably grew up with cats.