She’s gone. I can’t believe it. It was sudden.
I suffer from depression and have since I was thirteen. A decade ago it was really bad, a weight like an enormous red-hot iron pressing down on me with relentless increasing pain. I wasn’t drowning, although it sometimes felt like that; mostly it was pain that made me feel like ending my life. Everything just hurt and all I could feel was black dense engulfing pain.
I was walking through a two-dimensional world of other people’s fortune and happiness (in my mind); meanwhile I was stuck in a 3D world with three vectors of reality: an x-axis of pain, a y-axis of torture, and a z-axis of despair.
I would come home from work and just think about how I could get the pain to stop. I researched how to commit suicide without leaving behind a mess. Considerate me.
I was desperate. Really desperate. I was alone and felt increasingly suicidal. However, I did have one ray of light and comfort: Gidget. Sweet little Gidget.
I met Gidget in 2005 when she was in the prime of her life. I had rented out the back apartment adjacent to her home.
Gidget was not good-looking by any stretch of the imagination. She was dirty blonde and the dirt was real. She was kinda fat and had rank breath, and rarely—and I mean rarely—attended to her personal hygiene. But, whenever I came home from work she was there, waiting for me, smiling, ecstatically happy and excited just to see me. She had a weird ability to know when I was about to get home from work. And when I hugged her, she lavished me with little kisses. This, despite the fact that whenever I was in a foul mood or had something better to do, I would ignore her, even when she literally begged for my attention. I treated her poorly. I was not especially nice or attentive.
Now she’s gone. And I will never see her again. Never. Pancreatic cancer. Less than two weeks. Gone. Gone.
Maybe in photos or in my dreams we can be together in green fields under blue summer skies, but in my waking life she is gone forever. That’s what death is, the death of a beloved. A damn vacuum, a hole in your life, a massive loss insurmountable except through the excruciatingly slow, dour grace of passing time, and even then it can never completely remove the sting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a kooky grumpy grandfather who smoked that funky pipe, a dear old aunt who always cooked your favorite dish on your birthday, or that stinky-breathed Yorkshire Terrier poodle who cuddled up with you to watch the NHL playoffs. It hurts to lose a loved one, each and all.
They say you ought to remember the good times and I suppose I do and I’m trying, but I’m also nettled by regret. How many things I would have liked to do with her and now I can’t.
Just one last hug, one last caress, one last roll in the backyard.
I can almost smell her horrible breath, but it’s just a trick of the imagination.
Every day she would wake up and magically automatically reset her mind with all the compassionate and equanimous ability of a Tibetan lama monk. She looked forward to the simple things in life. A hug, a gentle massage, some simple food, someone to love her, just a little tiny bit. She didn’t need much. She was the poster child for low maintenance and unconditional love. The things she could teach a yoga master about patience and understanding would fill the Library of Alexandria.
When I was having a bad day—which was not infrequent—and that meant ranting and raving about how horrible my life was, chucking books plates shoes whatever, throwing essentially a pity party for one, she would duck and cover, but never utter one peep of complaint, and always stay within eyesight. When I finally stopped my tempest, she’d get on the couch next to me and just lay her head on my lap and say nothing. She bared her soul and expected nothing in return. Oh she did hope for a gentle caress, but if she didn’t get it, she wouldn’t kick up a fuss. She’d find something else to occupy her simple easy mind. Usually, I would comb out her tousled hair with my fingers, rub her chubby little belly, kiss her on the forehead, snuggle with her in front of the TV, holding my breath usually. Even if I did bark out loud, “God! Your breath, Gidget!” She wouldn’t react, even sometimes she’d smile like it was a secret joke.
I suppose I should be honest. Gidget did have a strong jealous streak. She hated to see me spend any time with anyone else, male or female. I guess she wanted me all to herself, but I wasn’t really built that way, and I think deep down she knew, but she accepted whatever I could give. I wish I had more love to give because Gidget deserved it. She deserved it because that’s all she ever gave to the world. She never harmed anyone in her life; she only offered joy and tenderness and unconditional love with zero expectation of return.
Where can you find that in today’s world?
Gidget, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry I couldn’t see you off into the great beyond. Sorry I’m stuck here in my own fresh hell when I probably should’ve been with you. I will miss you. I will think of you often.
Rest in peace, Gidget. I miss you. I will miss you for the rest of my days.
Good night little princess.