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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Living Years

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When I turned five years old I got a really cool little puppy for my birthday. He was a half St. Bernard/half Golden Retriever mix (If you’ve ever seen the movie, ‘Beethoven’ you have a basic idea of just how big he really was). We decided to name him Grizzly Bear but we just called him Grizzly or Griz for short. He was a fantastic dog that I played with as a young boy and loved very much.

As the years trudged on and I became older, I began to play less and less with Grizzly. Though I didn’t seem to notice, as I got older, Grizzly did too. But no matter what, he was always there for me, even during a period of time where I pretty much ignored him because I had other things going on in my life. Unfortunately, as he got older he became and sick, and eventually couldn’t walk anymore, his fur was falling out, and he was in pain. We called the Vet who gave us the devastating news that Grizzly had simply grown too old and would need to be put to sleep.

I will never forget the day that the vet came out and gave Grizzly a shot that made him fall asleep. I remember knowing that once he fell asleep that he wouldn’t ever wake up again. As I watched from my bedroom window I thought of all the times I didn’t play with him. I was angry at myself for letting all that time go on and ignoring him until it was too late. We wrapped him in my favorite blanket, one that I’d had since I was four or five and buried him. I felt horrible inside, like I wanted to run and scream and hit something until the pain would go away. I had lost my best friend.

Isn’t it strange that so often we get caught up in life and don’t seem to truly notice our pets, friends, and sometimes even our family? One of the most terrible things that can happen is when we do not truly appreciate someone or something until they are gone. A group called “Mike and the Mechanics” came out with a song nearly twenty years ago entitled “The Living Years”; this song tells the story of a man who never really took the opportunity to tell his dad that he loved him. His dad dies and the man feels a hollow emptiness inside, wishing that he’d told his father how he’d always felt. In the end he basically expresses just how important it is for us to tell the people we love that we love them, while they are still here and so are we.




I guess my point is that it’s easy for us to create memories with others but so often we don’t. The TV set usually wins out over family conversation and long hours at work can consume a lifetime. When we, or a loved one are about to pass on from this life, will we have the right memories to take with us, or will it be reruns of our favorite television programs? I just hope that we can all think of experiences such as these in our lives and remember that the people around us won’t be around forever. In any moment of time they could suddenly be gone...would you have told them everything you’d have wanted to? Would you have spent the time with them, showing them how much you loved them? I think of this too and I realize in writing this that there are several people in my life that I really need to let know that I love them, to tell them that they are important to me, and that I haven’t forgotten them. Sometimes this can be hard when it feels that there is so much demanding our time in regards to school, work, and everyday life around us. It is my hope that we will all take the time to reach out while we are still in our “living years.”

16 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I know exactly what u mean.. I was close w/my maternal grandparents- rather my grandma mostly... I didn't learn about my grandfather's coming to America till after he died... He was a quiet man, never talked much about himself.. found out alot of things about him that amazed me... Graduated summa cum laude at Notre Dame... he studied to be a draftsman but due to race was unable to get a job in that field... What I do know, he had a big heart...
I think we are way too busy and there is too much technology to distract us from getting back to the basics: family...After losing a few family pets, I make more of an effort to spend time w/my cat, after all we all need love and attention.

Corine said...

That was beautiful.

PS ~ The song, Living Years, always stirs emotions within me.

Sue said...

So true. And well said.

=)

Rachel said...

I knew it!! I knew you wanted a dog! And you told Matthew you didn't...... ;)

I like this post. Of course, I can't think of any of yours that I don't like but this is a good reminder because you're right! We never know what tomorrow let alone the next moment will bring!

I get teased (or called creepy. :D) because I jump into things fast. I used to sit back and wait for someone to make a move first. Being shy and worried about what others would think plagued me for years! Now, I realize I don't have time for that.

Embrace life! Embrace people and experiences! I love ya too man!!! :D In a non-creepy way of course......

tammy said...

Beautifully written and great reminder.

Natasha said...

Thank you so much! What a great reminder. And I appreciate you! :)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

You are an inspiration. Thank you!

Connie said...

Beautifully written post. So true. Thanks for the reminder.

A Lark said...

Cool - how did you and Grizzly get into the middle of the video? (=

One of your best posts yet.

And from me to you: "...just like a tatoo..."

Katie said...

I make sure and talk to our black lab every day. My husband says I spoil her, but when school starts up again in a couple weeks she'll be right there by me, her fuzzy black head buried in my lap, letting me cry all over her.

I agree with you whole heartedly: those little moments during the day when you get to laugh with your kids, your spouse,or even at your dog will make your life that much more whole.

As usual, wonderfully written and thoughtful. Thank you.

Make Do and Mend said...

Aww, man. Could you at least warn a person before you make them cry?

Seriously though, what a good reminder to put the most important things first.

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

Our dog (our first baby), Thor, had to be put down this past February for the same reasons as your Grizzly. I went through a period where I felt guilty as well for being wrapped up in my other everyday life things and ignoring him. I would walk into a room and "look" for him forgetting for a second he was no longer around. This made me realize that maybe I hadn't ignored him that much after all. I always made sure he was by my side somehow.

My husband and I have thing that we always kiss goodbye before he goes to work and we try to never leave while we're upset at one another. We are all living in borrowed time and due to his profession, even more so.

Thanks for a great post to remind us how fragile it all is.

Gerb said...

It's all so true. Time is too short to let it keep on slipping away.

Richard & Natalie said...

*sniff, sniff*

This particular subject has been on my mind lately with all of our ER visits (both for humans and pets). But when you're in the thick of it all it's hard to put those abstract thoughts into sense. Thanks for laying it all out there so beautifully for me.

Corine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

As I read this, my old cat was trying to drape herself over my keyboard..I think she was attempting to send the same message you have through your words. Nice...touching...and true (although I am more guilty of allowing time to pass with people than I am the dogs..they don't let me forget)

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