In addition to the big black dog who I write about all the time, Carole and I have another dog, and three cats. Two cats. Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that. We lost a cat a few months ago, at the young age of ten, to cancer.
Of those that remain, Xandra is the youngest, at 7. Another cat is 9, the brown dog is 15, and another cat is 19 or 20, I’m not quite sure.
The old dog and the old cat are old, and they are declining before our eyes. Just before I sat down to write this, I had to move a paw of the old cat, who is sleeping on the kitchen counter. The cat didn’t wake, even when I moved his paw.
This morning, Carole and I took Xandra to the dog park and to get some pet food. On the way there and back, we listened to some of A New Earth. Independent of each other, she had gotten the book and I had gotten the CD version for the car. I had tried to listen to it in the car and I didn’t get very far before I abandoned it. I found it to be boring, and I have recently made it all the way through Walden. Carole likewise hadn’t read much before giving it up.
So we skipped ahead to the third CD to see if it got any better, and if it would be worth forging through the beginning. What we listened to had to do with the ego, roles we play, and happiness.
The happiness portion said something like this: I have to face the truth. Sometimes the truth is a very thing, but to reject it or deny it or try to change it just makes me unhappy. I have to accept that bad thing, then decide whether or not I want to dwell on its badness, or move my mind on to happier places.
Familiar territory for AA folks.
The fact, though, of these aging critters is hard to bear. The fact that lots of my family photos have become a sort of shrine, because the animals pictured are no longer with us, is hard to make peace with.
I find it easier to accept the death of the old ones. And I want the old ones to die peacefully, in their sleep, though I have not yet had one go this way. The fact that my cat had just ten Christmases and will not get another is hard to face. The fact that my dog had only two years on earth – I don’t know how to face that without experiencing a heart-breaking pain again and again.
Tonight I’ll go to my regular meeting. I cannot express my gratitude that I have the program to help with all this. I don’t have to read a book, and forget most of it. I can read a book and read that book again and again, and talk to people about living the book, and have their assistance to live the book. Acceptance is the key, and I knew that.