Breakdown, Breakthrough

This is probably one of the worst days to sit and do work and think and talk about my feelings. But it is also probably one of the best. Today is the two year anniversary of when my dog died. I know I’ve probably talked about this a lot, yet I really haven’t. I never mention him and it grows worse with time. Like, I was going to get his name tattooed on my back, now I won’t because I don’t want people to ask about it and for me to have talk about it. I didn’t want the reminder permanently tattooed on my body, even though the reminder is permanently tattooed on my heart.
I take acting classes and wrote a scene about a girl whose boyfriend died; and I’m standing there “acting it out” and I just can’t. I’m standing there, sobbing in front of the entire class, about ready to break down and I won’t let myself. I can’t let go. I can’t let it out. I won’t. It’s right there; in my eyes you can see the utter pain I feel and I just won’t let myself go. I feel all those emotions that girl in that scene I wrote feels, but I don’t want to show it and I don’t want to feel it. It’s like a wound you take a knife to and re-open, letting all the blood seep out. No one wants to do it, it hurts too much. I don’t want to remember, it hurts too much. And when I pulled out my Small Wonder essay rubric, thinking let me just preoccupy myself so I don’t have to think, I just saw right there: Diving into the Pain: “The only way out is through…”, I knew I had to write about getting through the barrier, the wall pain trapped me in.
I look at the chapter, Flying. Now, I did not lose someone to a devastating terrorist attack that riveted the nation, but I have lost. Like many, I have “an aching hole where a love one used to be” (185). There are reminders in New York City. The Twin Towers are gone. Where are they? They are gone. Blown up, extinguished, forever. Every day a New Yorker could walk in that district and pass by that hole. There are reminders in my house. His beds, where are they? His toys, where are they? His leash, his bowls, his food, his treats, his everything, himself. Where is he? After 9/11, people responded with anger and hate towards Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, and if not them then God. I won’t lie, I hated God.
Now, I am not a religious person to begin with, but I am spiritual. There is a difference. And when I found out that my dog had cancer, I prayed every night to some god, somewhere to not end his life. Some god, somewhere ended his life. Of course, I was angry. You take a child away from a mother, that mother will hate whoever took her baby. It wasn’t free will. There could’ve been a miracle. There was none.
That was then. My attitude then. Now, I look back and responding with anger still didn’t change anything. Responding with begging didn’t change anything. Anger doesn’t bring him back.
If the Paschal Mystery is the cycle of life, then life and death factor and suffering and growth factor too. I have suffered. Our nation has suffered, but did we not grow? Yes, we responded in the most negative way to 9/11, yet some of us realized what we did was wrong. Some of us saw, with a great revelation, and stood up. We noticed. We progressed towards a more compassionate and caring attitude; became more aware of our own actions, our own behavior, our own attitude. We grew through suffering. We grew when realized what the appropriate response was supposed to be.
I will never understand why he was taken away from me. Why I got four years and not more. I will ask why everyday. April 25 will still be the saddest day of the year. But I can grow too. I can grow through. I can look at the ones I love: my father, my mother, my grandma, my boyfriend, my friends; I can cherish them, love them because I know they can be gone too. In an instant, they can be gone too.
When I let go of the pain, let it all out, as much as it hurts, I am breaking down the walls pain created to make me colder. Destroying barriers destroys hate that blocks out the compassion and empathy I can give to others. I can learn through my own experience. I can let go and breathe.
This paper didn’t take me two hours to write, it took me two years to come to terms with the suffering I’ve kept inside.





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