Some people have a knack for foresight. They seem to possess this unique ability in which they appear to be prepared for everything; never truly surprised by an event or outcome while simultaneously thinking their prescience is completely unremarkable. You know, those people whose most commonly used phrase could very well be “I told you so” because, well, they did.
I am not one of those people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wish I was. After all, I do everything I can to try and prepare myself for my future, both immediate and long term. I plan out my week with things I need to get done. I often obsess over my public transportation routes, ensuring all the necessary elevators are working and what not till that last possible moment before heading out the door. I plan and then I re-plan, all in hopes of stacking the deck in my favor for success and positive results in whatever realm matters to me at the moment. Yet, I’m consistently taken by surprise.
I mean, planning only goes so far. Trying to prepare yourself for all possible outcomes to a particular set of events is a hopelessly useless cause. Then again, there are also those things you know you should expect to happen “eventually” but the timeline for “eventually” tends to steer towards a more prolonged one so you never get around to actually being ready.
One of my and my family’s “eventually” clocks stopped ticking this week and sitting here now, staring at my flashing cursor, I can only shake my head and wonder how that clock ran out of life so quickly. On Monday, my family put our floofy Cheerio-loving, Little House on the Prairie watching, man-bun wearing Oscar to sleep.
Now Oscar has made a few cameo appearances here on the blog in both pictures and commentary (Who’s Counting?, Mom. Mom? MOM!, Uno. Dos., Aisle 7, and others…) but I think a little refresher course is in order.
Oscar is a 13 (almost 14) year old mutt of a pooch (although he prefers the term designer dog) who was rescued from a farm where he spent his time eating horse droppings and chasing cats. While both those activities ceased in a literal sense upon coming to live in the Schroth home, I’m 98% convinced there was a lot of kitty chasing in Oscar’s relatively abundant and assumedly vivid puppy dreams per his sleep barks and leg twitches.
Oscar is technically Lindsey’s dog (my littler sister) and made his fair share of 4-H related appearances as well as being present for countless homecoming, winterfest, and prom parties. Now even though Oscar is most certainly the “senior” pet in the household, he always seems to be at the bottom of the “status” totem pole and with his profoundly laid-back personality, I don’t think he much cares. Some of his favorite past times include eating, sleeping, eating some more, and going on walks where he is allowed to pee on everything taller than the average blade of grass (seriously, that’s not an exaggeration…). He’s a bit of a goofball with the coolest looking underbite and most happy-go-lucky personality. I saw him when I was home for Easter and I certainly had no idea that would be the last time we’d be bed buddies.
It’s an odd thing, to hear about the death of a pet who was so much a part of the family while being almost 200 miles away. A part of me knows he’s gone, but another part hasn’t quite been able to connect the dots without being home and seeing him not be around. Then again, the part that knows not to expect any big slobbery Oscar kisses (for a little dog, he sure knew how to salivate…) in the future has been plenty vocal.
When you lose someone in your life, especially a pet, I think you’re bound to start asking yourself some questions. Did I do everything I could or should have? Did I miss something? Did I make the right choice? Why did I even open myself up to this kind of hurt?
Why did I allow my heart to be vulnerable to such profound love and loss?
And it is a choice isn’t it? We choose to open our arms, our homes, and our hearts to those four-legged creatures who bound into our lives, rapidly intertwining themselves into every passing hour of our days only to be untangled far too soon. Now Oscar was certainly well entwined. He was around for Schroth girls in high school, Schroth girls going off to college, and even Schroth girl getting married. He was around to know me walking and was a welcomed companion during those “dark days” after first returning home from rehab post injury.
You know, I think we choose to open our hearts because we can’t imagine living life any other way. The foreknowledge of grieving and loss simply isn’t enough to deter from the years and years of laughter, stories, joy, and companionship. Looking back, I can understand why that’s the case. Who else would have drooled on the pillow in bed next to me? Who else would have physically been right there in the middle of the night when my injury, my altered relationships, my life, all felt like too much to handle?
Maybe that’s why a few weeks back when Mom told me there was an orphan kitten at the farm that needed a home, I said I think I knew someone who could use a four legged friend in a city that sometimes feels a bit too big. Said kitten is no longer homeless but enjoying her 51st floor view of the Windy City after arriving in Chicago last Friday. Yea, feel free to make note of how I just happened to have someone to love and hug when I learned about Oscar a few short days later. Clearly God had me covered.
So here you go blog world, meet Ingrid. She’s 8-weeks old and 110% kitten, meaning everything and anything that moves is the greatest toy ever. She will certainly never replace Oscar, but I’m sure grateful for her kitten loving and ridiculous antics in those moments when his loss is especially acute. I would imagine you’ll be hearing more about her in the upcoming months…
I don’t know if I’ve come to any conclusions as is typical at the end of most of my posts.
I know what we think will happen and what does happen are often very different.
I know the next time I go home is going to be a bit challenging emotionally.
I know Oscar was and always will be loved, and that seems like enough.