08 August 2008

Rehearsals for death

This photo was taken by my photographer friend Chris Berrio in 2003. I was already by that time anticipating losing Cricket in the near future, as she'd been diagnosed with cancer. I invited Chris over to do a photo shoot so I'd have some good ones to keep her alive in my memory. I picked out this photo as my favorite -- the one I would use to send around a death notice card (another friend of mine had sent out death notice cards to family and friends when their dog died, and I liked the idea). Turns out it was a false diagnosis, and Cricket lived another five great years. She did get cancer in the end, and that is what ultimately took her away from me, but that wasn't what she had back then.

Anyway, that was the first of several "rehearsals" Cricket gave me for losing her. Each time, I was strengthened for the future work I'd have of caring for her and grieving for her. It's not that it was easy, by any means, when the time came, but I was as prepared as I could ever have been. I knew by the time we had the diagnosis of her terminal illness that I wanted to do hospice care for her at home until she died naturally. It was those false alarms that got me thinking about preparing myself for her death, whereas before, I was blithely going along in denial, pretending she would never die.

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