It was the fur that broke me. No more than ½ inch long, bright white canine strands, perhaps 70 of them, stuffed over two years ago into the side-zipped portion of an old wallet that was recently re-discovered.
I took the two quarters and mindlessly unzipped their new residence. The sight of the forgotten fur feleased spring-loaded sadness from the pit of my being.
That Sunday was beautiful. Sunny and unusually warm for February. He arrived on time in his white van—maybe a little late? It didn’t really matter. I don’t remember exchanging greetings but I know he was kind. She was resting on her bed in the bay window, seemingly unaware of the next events though truly knowing what was going on. She was likely grateful for it.
He shaved a small portion of her hind leg so he could inject a drug that would soothe her. The next injection was the one that released her from her pain. It released her from her cancer-ridden body. It released her from her position in our pack. One month shy of 13 years old, Emi, my “soul-dog”, left this reality.
After he took her body away I swept her precious fur – the only physical evidence of her greatness left-- into my palm. Eventually it made it into my wallet. And when I changed wallets, it remained, too sacred to transfer, I suppose.
Now with the new realization of a broken marriage, finding her fur was the release valve to my sadness. Unlike their predecessors, these tears weren’t laden with anger, desperation, or fear. Instead they rolled with the purity of sorrow: ego-free and full of compassion.