My older son was married yesterday evening. They chose a Monday because everyone who was important to them could be there. It was a small wedding in a park gazebo. The weather was great and the park was beautiful. Adam was the one who carried Morgan Stinky Wink to me almost twelve years ago. He is also the one who dug Wink's grave and carried him to that final earthly bed.
I thought of Wink during the ceremony, and how Adam had been there for the major events in our life with Wink. I was the best man, entrusted with the ring--that symbol of continuity. I thought of a line from Tolkien, "one ring to bind them all." I remembered another day thirty-six years ago, when I placed a ring on my wife's finger--the beginning of a cycle that brought us to this day, and bound us all together. Now, as Adam placed that ring on Jessica's finger, it was the beginning of a new cycle, but also the continuation of one started before his birth--and mine, and my parents', and their parents, on and on. Circles within circles.
The cycle will continue in another way today. I am going this afternoon to see baby Huey. I look at the pictures of that tiny puppy, whose eyes aren't even open yet, and I feel a small knot in the pit of my stomach. The chances are very great that I will one day face the terrible decision I had to make with Wink. That is not a morbid thought, but a true one. I somehow pretended that I would never have to make that decision with Wink, and I think that made my grief even worse. Added to that was the fact that his illness came on so quickly and progressed so rapidly. There was no time to prepare. I don't intend to spend every day with Huey thinking about the possibility of that day. But what I do intend to do is enjoy every day with him to the fullest, so that if that day does come, there will be as few regrets as there were with Wink--maybe even fewer.
I know I have quoted Clothier a lot, but she is so quotable and so wise in the way of dogs. She says: "There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given." And so the cycle continues, in our human lives and in our interaction with the dogs I have loved, who have shared my journey, with all its twists and turns, joys and sorrows. To that beautiful circle of heart friends--Tiger, Pickwick, Bogart, Duncan, Dylan, and besses puppo Morgan "Stinky Wink"--is added Huey. The circle of life and love grows larger, and in its size is its strength.
Stinky Wink, I know our road was short, and it was not always smooth, but it was better traveled because you were there. And you traveled with all you had. You rest now, in peace and love, in my heart. Huey will take over the hard part for you, my besses puppo.