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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

September 4, 2013 - Meg Alexander
I'm walking lighter these days, about 95 pounds lighter, and my pocket book isn't as tight. I'm sleeping through the nights, and I'm able to act with a spontaneity my life previously lacked.

Last month, I had to make the painful decision to say goodbye to my dog, my dearest Kya. It's true she was old, with her silver muzzle, teary eyes, and stomach splotched with skin tags and moles and liver spots. Getting around was growing harder, to the point she could no longer safely use the wooden stairs on the second floor of our home, and the heat and humidity easily wiped her out. Appealing food became harder and harder to find — even when drizzled with fresh bacon grease — and getting her to take her various medications became increasingly challenging.

My life, in many ways, is simpler now: Gone is the expense of dog food and veterinary bills. Gone is the need to rush home every few hours to take her out. Gone is the cleanup necessary toward the latter days as she became increasingly ill. Gone is the worry about what we would do once my house sells, since not many rental properties would allow me to keep a 100-pound dog.

But also gone is my best friend.

Her death came shortly after I had begun reading the postmodern novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," by Czech author Milan Kundera, in which he writes that "... the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”

I'd take my old girl back any day.


Article Comments



Sep-05-13 7:07 AM

My heart goes out to you. We made the decision to have our dog put down last week, and still haven't gotten used to life without him. It's quiet and lonely coming into the house without being attacked with a tongue and tail, and the nights are a heck of a lot colder. You are not alone in your grief.


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