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.”