When was the last time you had your heart broken? Not just a little disappointment, but really, properly broken? It's happened to me twice. Once, when my Poppy died when I was six years old, and once when I parted ways with my first love. I don't remember much from when I was six, but I can still feel the ache and the emptiness, the sharp, physical pain that erupted deep inside my tiny little body. And I remember crying, for years.
It's been a long time since I've cried for Poppy, but every year or so I still cry over the lost love of my youth. It's usually a dream that sets me off. The intensity of first love is something that can never be replicated, or lived up to. To be the object of that love, while feeling it in return is an experience that will never, ever stop haunting my sleeping hours. Like so many young love stories, ours was never meant to be. It was a fire that burnt us both up. To save myself I put it out.
I gained my freedom, and I'm better for it. Today I'm married to a man who doesn't need to possess me in order to love me. I'm happy. I'm in love. But the ache remains.
I love hard, always have, always will. I feel like my capability to love so intensley is a gift, but like most gifts the price is hard to pay. Nothing is permanent. The cruelty of life is that we cannot hold on to the ones we love. They have to go. Sometimes they die, other times they just move on with their lives. In both cases, that's their right, their path, their destiny at work. No matter how much you love them, it's not about you.
As is my way, I fell hard recently. We tried so hard to make it work with Cookie, but in the end, this just isn't the right home for him. It was incredibly hard to come to terms with that, because all the time we were dealing with the pooping, and the biting, and the fights, I was falling in love. Between the bad parts there were always such wonderful moments. He would curl up on my lap, look into my eyes, and sigh. I'd sigh back. He'd moan. I'd rub his belly. He'd give me an eskimo kiss.
I just wanted someone small and warm to hold in my arms, so even after it became obvious that Cookie was more than we could handle I couldn't bring myself to let him go. Tomorrow is the day. Almost one month after he arrived on our doorstep, Mister Cookie Face, my new best friend, goes back to a foster home.
I know this one isn't likely to wake me in the night ten years later, but it still hurts. There are still tears. I can't look at his face without crying. He's breaking my heart.
I'm trying to remember that as much as I love him he doesn't belong to me. He has to find his niche. He has to find a home where he fits in, where there is someone who isn't afraid of his teeth, where he doesn't have another dominant dog to compete with. He needs to find a place where he can learn to trust again, and get over the harm that has been done to him.
Selfishly, I don't want to admit to myself that I'm not up to that task. I want to be the one to bring this loving little soul back into the light, but our house just isn't the right environment for all that to happen. Complications, like an old grouchy dog, visiting toddlers, and irrestible cats make everything much harder for Cookie.
The people at the rescue have been so kind about all of this, too. They keep telling us not to feel so guilty, that this kind of thing happens with rescue dogs, and that Cookie will find a home that works for him. It's just so hard to give him up. What if something happens to him? What if someone horrible adopts him? What if he goes back to a life of abuse or neglect?
But that's life, isn't it? What if? What if anything? I could make myself sick worrying about all of the things that could happen to my husband every time he goes out the door, or whether or not I'll ever see my friends and family again every time we say goodbye. You don't own the people you love. Period.
Ugh. I think I'm entering phase two: I'll never love again.
I'm closing comments on this one. I hope you'll understand. I want to talk about it, but I don't want to talk about it. I hope that makes some kind of sense. I'm just really sad about it, and while it feels good to get this all off my chest, I fear the ides of judgement on this one. This was a really, REALLY hard decision to make, but it's been made. I hope it was the right one.