Snickers was the German Shepard that followed my mother around to every room while we were at school. She watched us grow from her dog bed in the kitchen; her eyes always following us, ready to jump into action.
Things were less active now that we were in college and working full time jobs, but Snickers still sat obediently from her perch, getting up now and then with arthritic hips to follow my mother into another room. She watched nostalgically as the new puppy jumped from diner to diner from beneath the table and sighed in agitation when it got too close.
The January snow seemed to freeze everyone indoors the day Snickers did not get out of her dog bed in the corner. She lie there, peacefully on her side, the breath escaping her during a dream.
While my mother mourned this turn of events, she gave the new puppy a rawhide bone to keep her busy while tears spilled from her eyes.
From the kitchen table we watched as the puppy, calm and dragging a large bone in her mouth, set it near the muzzle of our dearly departed Snickers. She nosed the rawhide closer and lied beside her, as if this gesture would make everything better.
In a way that scene is one of the most beautiful in the world.
How do we love SO much when we know everything will eventually go? Why doesn't that prevent us from loving? I know those I love most will die before me and the pain from those loses will hurt twice as much, but I continue to love them with all my heart--why?!
Perhaps love teaches us all balance: there will always be pain with love and love with pain.
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