March 10, 2011

Hello, Goodbye

It's nice every once in a while to be reminded of the balance of the world. To realize that life is full of good and bad, and that only by weathering the lows can we truly appreciate the highs. This is a tough concept to keep in mind most of the time: during a rough period it often seems as though life will never be as good again, and when everything is going right it's hard to believe that the sunshine won't last forever. My blog title, and hopefully its content, is an attempt to reflect this kind of balance and the emotions it sparks-- to celebrate the good and, in a way, the bad. This week has, for better and for worse, presented me with a perfect example of the way life tends to balance out in a fascinating and comforting way.

first, a hello...
My future sister-in-law, T, gave birth to a beautiful, perfect baby boy yesterday afternoon. Although she was scheduled to be induced, she went into natural labor early yesterday morning and baby C was born around 4:00. He was eagerly awaited by his parents, older brother and sister, and grandparents, and is, as all babies are, just gorgeous (even though my dad has always said that all babies look like Winston Churchill. Not entirely false. Although I have a thing for WC -- another post for another day -- so that just makes them all the more appealing) I cannot wait for the chance to meet and hold this new little one. When his siblings were newborns I was able to get in lots of quality snuggle time with their adorable sleeping selves, so I'm so anxious for their visit in May and some serious Aunt Meg bonding. Welcome to the world, baby boy!

 then, a goodbye...
When my dad married my stepmother, my family gained not one but 4 new members: B, her cat Nimbus, and her dogs Onyx and Bullet. At the time, Onyx was a 10 year old black lab and Bullet a 9 year old german shepherd mix. They both had bounding energy, insatiable appetites, and a deep love for human attention. Now, Onyx is 16 and Bullet 15, and their ages are beginning to catch up with them. Both have lost weight and Onyx's black fur has started to turn very gray. They both have a tough time getting up the stairs, and even sometimes getting up off the floor from a nap. They don't always make it outside to use the bathroom. They don't typically hear you when you call their names from across the room.
Onyx and Bullet went in for a check-up recently, and the vet told my stepmom that he was beginning to question their quality of life. The weight loss and their inability to move around easily, he said, led him to believe that they were no longer happy. It's never easy to hear that, even though it's hard to reconcile the vet's words with the 2 dogs that my dad and stepmom see everyday. Now they are having to struggle with one of the hardest decisions a pet owner can ever be asked to make: is it time to let go? They both (we all) love these dogs so much, and while they would never want to perpetuate an unhappy life, the thought of saying goodbye, especially to both at once, is overwhelmingly sad. As my stepmom reminded me a few days ago, these were the dogs who got her through a tough round of chemotherapy and cancer recovery. They have been with her for a decade and a half, longer than she has been married or even lived in our town. It is heartbreaking but oddly comforting, though, to know that whatever happens, these two will be together. As hard as it might be to lose both of them at the same time, I know that they would each be lost without the other. Sweet Onyx and Bullet, our world will not ever be the same without you.

In the end, I can only hope that the rest of my life will be filled with as many joyful hellos as difficult goodbyes, to remind me that no matter what, the world will alway finds its balance.



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