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.

Comments

Heidi said…
Confession: I don't read dog books because I know I'll cry. I haven't read "Where the Red Fern Grows" since junior high because I read it just before my dog died. I don't think I could ever read it again--I still miss my dog and it's been 20 years since she died. My dad still has her collar.

There's no shame in crying over animals. None. If there was, I know a lot of people who should never show their faces in public again.
Erin said…
Aw, bless you. I had a hard time being attached to our family dog for that very reason. I knew she would die someday, and I knew it would be sad and hard to deal with.

Don't you feel better now? Aw, I love a good, heaving cry! :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks, Rob, for your tenderness and the great memories of our dear friend, Charlie. M.
Bart said…
Beto, I've often wondered how you and I became friends just by working in the same building for a few months. We weren't even on the same team. And that was years ago. Doesn't that seem odd to you?

And then you tell about your dog and once again it's just another thing have a lot in common. I had a dog while I grew up too, and even though she was the family dog, everyone knew she was mostly MY dog.

It's a rare event to see me get emotional, but leaving my dog when I went off to college and later on a mission ... I was a blubbering, sniffling idiot. I swear she was the reason I survived junior high. I swear she somehow knew me better than any other being on the planet. Which sounds strange, so I'll stop.

Lisa just finished reading Marley and Me. You two must have read it at about the same time. I'll count myself lucky I don't have time for pleasure reading right now because I do NOT have time for a cry session, either. You big baby.
Wow Rob, you're sort of a sissy! Just kidding :) I have been recommending the book for MONTHS to friends and family and inevitably all have the same response - a good cry! See now why it's so much better than the movie?! LOVE that book!
DAvID R. said…
I just saw your comment on Mitche's and Cristin's blog and I thought I should read you'r blog. So far I am enjoying the poo out of it. 2 thumbs up man. Ah Now about this one, I feel the same way, I love my dog's and it will be an emotional hell when they pass away. Glad to see Im not the only guy who actually shead some tears after the book was over.
Thanks
David
Anny said…
I haven't read a book yet, but I watched the movie (downloaded using one of rapidshare search engines ), now it will be interesting to compare the film and the book.

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